UC Berkeley and Tuskegee University announced a multiyear academic partnership, called the Berkeley-Tuskegee Data Science Initiative, on Wednesday.
According to Tiffany Lohwater, Computing, Data Science and Society, or CDSS, spokesperson, the partnership will develop data science curriculum and collaborative research opportunities for students and faculty from both institutions. Additionally, the initiative will leverage each institution’s strengths to promote interdisciplinary applications of data science.
“Tuskegee faculty have a long track record of effectively serving students who are historically underrepresented in STEM fields like data science,” said campus sociology professor and D-Lab Faculty Director David Harding in an email. “We at Berkeley have the opportunity to refine and further develop our programs to better reach all students at Berkeley.”
Keith Hargrove, Tuskegee University provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, said one of the goals of the partnership is to create a more diverse workforce in data science, which he described as an “emerging and high-need field.”
Lohwater said Tuskegee University and campus faculty are working together to update campus’s Data 6 course, an introductory data science class preparing students for another campus course, Data 8. Thirteen Tuskegee students, called Tuskegee Scholars, are taking Data 6 or Data 8 on campus this summer, she added.
Furthermore, Data 8 will be offered at Tuskegee in the fall and will be co-taught by both institutions, according to a CDSS press release. The course will also be synchronized with the campus Data 8 offering, the press release reads.
Lohwater spoke on new opportunities for collaboration, including plans to facilitate cooperative faculty research and expectations to launch an undergraduate research program the following summer.
“The bachelors degree program will expose and examine solutions that impact broader and more diverse communities through data analytics, and produce a cohort of marketable professionals with the skills and knowledge to work in business, government, and become entrepreneurs in this expanding field of data and information science,” Hargrove said in an email.
According to Lohwater, the partnership resulted from two years of planning, which began when Tuskegee University reached out to CDSS to discuss opportunities for students from Tuskegee to study data science on campus.
To celebrate the culmination of their efforts, campus Chancellor Carol Christ greeted the Tuskegee Scholars at a campus reception June 21, and Tuskegee University President Charlotte Morris noted Tuskegee’s legacy as a top historically Black college and university in the CDSS press release.
“We want to go beyond that legacy and take Tuskegee to the next level in terms of technology, in terms of what’s going on in the world today, so that our students will be marketable when they go across that stage at graduation,” Morris said in the press release.
Nadia Farjami contributed to this report.