New Data Analytics Minor – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

New Data Analytics Minor

Program provides deep understanding of quantitative data analysis  

Numbers tell stories, and with a new minor in data analytics, students will build skills to present those stories by drawing meaningful conclusions from data and putting those conclusions to work.

Offered starting this fall, the program is designed to provide students in any field with future-focused skills such as coding and the ability to collect and present data in a thoughtful manner while also critically interrogating its use.

“This program should appeal to students who know that there’s that deeper level of understanding data but who haven’t been sure how they can get there and how they can enhance their reading of data with action,” says Jonathan Forde, a co-chair of the minor and an associate professor of mathematics and computer science. 

The program will feature new courses, including “Mathematical Foundations for Data Analytics,” “Probability for Data Analytics” and “Data and Context,” in conjunction with a disciplinary statistics course in a program of the student’s choice. Some coding will be involved, though students won’t need prior coding knowledge. 

Students will work in collaboration with the Digital Learning Team, a group made up of information technology and library specialists, as they learn coding to enhance their ability to present data. 

In a world where numbers are used in most career situations, students need to be fluent in data, says Associate Professor of Sociology Kendralin Freeman, who serves as co-chair of the program and the chair of the Sociology Department.

“They need to think about data and communicate what it means,” Freeman says. “This program will provide them with the tools necessary to signal to employers that they understand how to analyze data.”

“We are thrilled to be offering this new minor, which builds on a range of programs at the Colleges that are designed to prepare students for meaningful lives,” says Provost and Dean of Faculty Sarah Kirk. “In order to make the kind of change we want to see in the world, our students must be prepared to read the language of numbers proficiently. That commitment to numerical literacy will only benefit them, no matter the career and life they pursue.”

“Those who graduate with a data analytics minor will have a highly marketable skill set that will help to distinguish them from other people pursuing the same majors,” Forde adds. “Once completed, students will leave the program with a better understanding of the use, application and understanding of how data affect the world.”

The photo above features Associate Professor of Sociology Kendralin Freeman teaching in Stern Hall.