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Stanley C. Ahalt named inaugural dean of the School of Data Science and Society

Stanley C. Ahalt will serve as the inaugural dean of the new School of Data Science and Society this fall. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Stanley C. Ahalt will serve as the inaugural dean of the School of Data Science and Society, which is set to launch this fall, according to a campus-wide email on Thursday. 

Ahalt is currently the director of the Renaissance Computing Institute, which is a data science collaboration hub among UNC, North Carolina State University and Duke University.

During his time at RENCI, Ahalt integrated data science into UNC's College of Arts and Sciences curriculum and helped launch the Carolina Health Informatics Program in the School of Information and Library Science. 

In addition to his help launching the National Consortium for Data Science, which supports a 21st-century data-driven economy, Ahalt also helped secure $34.5 million in funding for data science grants for the University.

Prior to his time at UNC, Ahalt was executive director of the Ohio Supercomputer Center. He was also an Ohio State University electrical and computer engineering professor for over 20 years. 

"We believe that Stan's passion for using a team approach in applying data science to society's greatest challenges makes him the ideal choice to be the head of our new School of Data Science and Society as we prepare to launch it this fall," the email said. 

The school will focus on the foundations of data science and how it can be applied to help individuals in North Carolina and around the globe. According to the email, the school will incorporate UNC's culture of collaboration and interdisciplinary problem-solving techniques. 

"The new school will also prepare students for a changing workplace and help attract and keep competitive employers in our state," the email said.