While data science is typically viewed as a STEM field, first-year and undergraduate learning assistant Ethan Delves sees art within the numbers.
"It deals with our perceptions of the world, which inherently comes with an ethical angle and a practical angle," Delves said. "I kind of think of it almost like a vision company, or someone who's making glasses. There's an art to helping people see things properly and see things as accurately as they can."
After years of student interest, UNC has decided to open the School of Data Science and Society, which is projected to fully launch in fall 2022.
The new addition plans to unite current data science research and resources at UNC to give students an opportunity to pursue a degree in data science.
“Over the years, we’ve had lots of students asking for undergraduate and master's programs in data science,” Jay Aikat, computer science research associate professor, said. “And some of them have actually been putting courses together across computer science and STOR and other disciplines trying to make up their own sort of degrees as they’re going, so this is in really high demand from the students.”
Aikat, alongside Joe Canady, assistant dean of finance in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, spearheaded plans for the school starting two years ago, at the request of then-Provost Bob Blouin.
According to UNC, Aikat has served on almost every committee for establishing the school.
Current Provost Chris Clemens was also a part of the faculty planning committees, and is working to help launch the school.
He said that the University has strengths in data science throughout its curriculum, but is still lacking in some areas.