Faculty at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI recently introduced a minor in Data Studies and are now developing a new undergraduate degree, Applied Data and Information Science, with the help of Visiting Professor Angela Murillo.
The Library and Information Science (LIS) and Human-Centered Computing departments are collaborating with Murillo, who developed the curriculum for a new program in information science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while she was a doctoral student there. She comes to the school with 15 years of experience in academia, government, and business.
“This new degree program allows our department to fill a critical gap in the school’s curriculum,” says Andrea Copeland, associate professor of library and information science and chair of the LIS department.
The School of Informatics and Computing expects to offer the new major in the 2018–19 academic year, with two specializations—one in applied data science and one in information science. The first course in the forthcoming major, Foundations of Data Studies, is now available for student enrollment. Murillo and other LIS faculty members are currently creating the additional courses for the undergraduate program.
Skills like data manipulation, curation, organization, and visualization will offer students a head start in the workforce and preparation for graduate studies. Demand for these highly transferable skills is increasing—especially in the handling of big data—as are the salaries in data science careers.
Murillo holds a Ph.D. in library and information science from UNC Chapel Hill and undergraduate degrees in geoscience, English, and Spanish. Her professional experience includes past positions as a working group member for DataONE—a National Science Foundation DataNet program—and as a research and development information scientist at Novozymes, an environmental sustainability biotech firm.
“We are all thrilled by the opportunity to develop this new program with Angela Murillo,” says Copeland. “Her academic and professional background bring perspectives of the ‘bigger picture’ to teaching and learning about data, relating data to its social and ethical implications, the curatorial processes, and the quantitative analyses involved in the data life cycle.”
We are all creators, producers, and consumers of data, says Murillo, and all students can benefit from understanding that interaction with the world. “Analysis is everywhere—especially in the media—and critical thinking is necessary,” she says. “Data fluency is foundational to making students more competitive, giving them skills and confidence in any context.”