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Siena Offers New Data Science Program

Siena Offers New Data Science Program

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It’s called data science, and it can help organizations solve problems they didn’t even know they had. Now Siena College will be offering a degree program in it.

Siena has received state approval for a data science major and minor. Current Siena students can enroll in the program now; potential students can enroll for the fall of 2018.

Data science is the process of gathering and analyzing data to help with productivity, predict future trends, and support decision making.

Jon Bannon, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics and coordinator of the new program, explained, “Almost any professional field you can think of can benefit from analyzing large sets of data.”

A few examples of how different career fields can use data science:
Businesses can predict sales trends, increase customers and manage human resources
Health care providers can track epidemics and how diseases spread
Political scientists can analyze polling and voting trends

Students searching for information about this major may also be using key phrases such as data analytics, business analytics, decision science and even “big data.”

Margaret Madden, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs, said, “Many different organizations need employees who can gather and analyze large quantities of data to help their organizations adapt and grow, and this major will prepare those employees for such career paths. The field of data science is going to grow exponentially.”

The program will be administered in the College’s School of Science, but students may take relevant courses in each of the College’s three schools: Science, Business and Liberal Arts. The major will require significant coursework in mathematics and computer science; students will then select a concentration such as marketing, health studies or political science where the data science skills can be applied.

Siena will be the only college in the Capital Region to offer a bachelor’s degree in data science, and one of only a handful in the Northeast to do so, said John Cummings, Ph.D., dean of the School of Science.

Siena recently hosted the panel discussion "Investing in America's Data Science and Analytics Talent - The Case for Action,” welcoming area business leaders to campus to hear data analytics experts discuss the tremendous need for employees with knowledge in this field.