Special to The Denisonian

Next fall, Denison will welcome a brand new department to campus: data analytics.

This new discipline, which is in part inspired by the work of Denison alumnus Larry Sherman, will focus on problem solving techniques unique for the 21st century. 

“Denison’s major in data analytics extends beyond mathematics and computer science classes,” says Jessen Havill in a press release to the University’s website.

Havill will be leading the new program next year. “To be truly meaningful, data analytics must also include expertise of the subject being studied, ethical knowledge to help understand the questions and ramifications of the research, and excellent communication skills, both to discuss the needs of a project when setting up the research, and to share the research in an effective manner. Data analytics is a burgeoning field, and one that we believe is ultimately best learned in a liberal arts environment where students learn to think across disciplines, connect disparate ideas, and communicate complex ideas.”

Data analytics seeks answers through big numbers.

Modeling, patternization and identifying trends through algorithms becomes crucial as the amount of data begins to grow. In the coming decades, the amount and differing types of data that will be collected will only grow exponentially. Data analytics majors will develop the skills necessary to parse through that giant heap of information for the few precious gems they contain.

Data analytics as a practice seeks to combat many large, disparate issues.

From global hunger to police brutality, this discipline has as wide a scope as the student wielding it. The inherent interdisciplinary nature of the program makes it a perfect fit for Denison’s mission.

The major will have four major components: a technical background in the mathematics and computer sciences, three classes of interdisciplinary work chosen by the individual student, four courses specifically dedicated to data analytics and finally a required summer internship to solidify their education with real world applications.

Data analytics is the second of two new majors available to students in the coming fall semester. The other, global commerce, was announced earlier this semester in order for studies to combine international studies with the growing field of global economics.