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2019-2020: The Year of Data

Source: Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania

Each year, the Provost’s Office announces an academic theme for the entire University to engage in shared intellectual pursuit. The theme of this academic year is The Year of DATA. The Provost’s Office provides the following examples of areas for analyzing qualitative and/or quantitative data:

• a field scientist taking measurements and collecting samples
• a literature student working in text analysis
• a historian mapping data from historical records
• a data scientist using big data to micro-target consumers to drive sales
• a political scientist studying how Facebook data can influence elections
• a public policy analyst using census data to measure impact in a community
• a philosopher examining the ethics of privacy in data analytic

In support of the Provost’s theme, the incoming first-year class along with the rest of the campus community is invited to participate in the Penn Reading Project. This year, the text is Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction, which discusses the critical ways in which big data increasingly affects and regulates life outcomes, such as the ability to obtain educational loans. O’Neil also highlights our collective responsibility to manage big data through the development of the right set of skills to ensure its democratic capacity. PENN students, faculty and administrators met in small groups to discuss and engage with the concepts in O’Neill’s book during NSO.

Finally, students, staff, faculty, administrators, departments and/or centers are invited to submit their ideas for programming that will enhance the PENN community using the Provost’s theme by applying to The Year of DATA Grant.

Concept vector illustration of a programmist work process. It related horizontal banner.

For more information about Data:

By Staff Writer: Min Derry, Learning Fellow

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