NSF Awards Grant for Developing Undergraduate Curriculum in Data Science

September 23, 2019

Central Coast Data Science Partnership: Training a New Generation of
Data Scientists

Due to the societal and technological advances made possible by
data-driven science, there is a strong demand for professionals versed
in the tools and techniques needed for manipulating and understanding
data. This project will develop an undergraduate curriculum in data
science that spans and connects the three main public higher education
systems in California: the research-driven University of California
system, the practical and career-oriented California State University
system, and the two-year California Community Colleges. The
collaborative program will establish pathways for data science training
through coursework and real-world projects. This project will impact
students from diverse social, ethnic, cultural, and economic backgrounds
and will improve the feeder pipelines from two-year colleges to
four-year universities. This multi-campus approach to building a data
science training program will foster collaborations for training a
diverse workforce in data science. The resulting course materials and
project outcomes will be made available so that other institutions can
adopt best practices.

The partnership consists of four academic institutions on the West
Coast: University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), California
Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), Santa Barbara
City College (SBCC), and California State University, San Bernardino
(CSUSB). The alliance will expand training at UCSB and Cal Poly by
building on existing strengths through a sequence of new capstone
courses, as well as lay the groundwork for data science curriculum
development at SBCC and CSUSB, whose students will participate in a
summer internship program at UCSB. Over 100 undergraduate students will
be supported by stipends during the course of the project. The developed
courses will emphasizeÊprogramming and data inference within the context
of application domains that is critical to training in data science.
Students will be taught the underlying principles of data science,
including data-generating processes and the role of measurement, ethics
and privacy, information-processing tools for harnessing the power of
big data, and the oral and written communication skills necessary for
pursuing effective professional careers in the field. The program will
culminate in a year-long capstone course for seniors, who will
synthesize and apply previously learned data science tools and
techniques in a large-scale project in a chosen domain area.

UCSB's portion of the grant is approximately $900K over three years. This
grant will be instrumental in supporting a new data science undergraduate
major and developing core courses for data literacy.
 
Congratulations Professor Ambuj Singh & Professor Yekaterina Kharitonova!