Carver Grant Will Help Grinnellians Think Big (Data)
Grinnell College recently received a $200,000 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to build a comprehensive curriculum in data science over the next two years. Funds from the grant will allow faculty from multiple disciplines to develop new gateway and capstone courses in data science, while also enriching data science content in existing courses across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
“Working with the support of the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust to develop a 21st century curriculum is an honor,” says President Raynard S. Kington. “We are pleased and inspired to be one of the few colleges to receive this kind of support, which will invest in the potential and future of liberal arts education right here in Iowa.”
To address the changing needs in our data-rich society, this major curricular initiative cuts across departmental boundaries to address new technologies. “This initiative will provide opportunities for students to develop mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches to model building, multivariate data visualization, pattern recognition, and interpretation of data grounded in research questions from multiple disciplines,” says Shonda Kuiper, professor of mathematics and statistics.
Grinnellians are already taking note of this emerging trend. Recent years have witnessed unprecedented growth in the popularity of statistics and computer science, two disciplines that are integral to data analytics. Increasingly, this boost in enrollment has been propelled by students with a broad range of majors and academic interests beyond the sciences.
“The Carver Trust’s generous support will enable Grinnell to take transformative steps in bringing data science to the liberal arts,” says Michael E. Latham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “As our students explore the power, limits, and ethical challenges involved in applying data science to problems ranging from disease control to international finance to elementary education, they will develop vital analytical abilities that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. As a vibrant, interdisciplinary field, data science will become a key component of inquiry-led learning at Grinnell.”