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The Data Science Institute, in partnership with Truman Community College, was awarded a $1 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation, with four years of guaranteed support, to train the next generation of data science educators. The project will focus on improving access to data science education for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) and other underrepresented communities.

Specifically, the grant will fund the development of a 2 course introductory data science sequence that is designed to increase the number of community college students who intend to pursue a data science or data science-related career. This sequence is a foundational step to creating a data science associate’s degree. This is part of an on-going collaboration between the City Colleges of Chicago and the Data Science Institute.

Truman College co-leads Kate Connor and LaSandra Skinner will head the project, with support from DSI’s Co-PIs Jeanne Century and David Uminsky. With these funds, Connor and Skinner will develop and establish a model for HSI community college and research university collaboration that other schools can translate to their local settings. The model can then be used by community colleges and research universities to create a path to bring new fields, like data science, into higher education while considering curricular and institutional capacity issues.

We are excited about the new grant opportunity with the University of Chicago’s DSI and NSF. The support will allow us to document and scale our models for training future faculty and work to expand the data science curriculum available to our students.  The impact of this work will allow us to understand how industries, colleges, and faculty can all come together to train and develop a new workforce at every level required.”

Kate Connor, Faculty in the Department of Education and Human Development at Harry S Truman

UChicago’s DSI will share resources in service of Connor and Skinner’s work. Specifically, they will be able to take an existing University of Chicago introductory data science course for community college students and leverage the UChicago  Preceptorship program to develop capacity for high quality instruction.

Together, the core goal of the work funded by this grant is to create three scalable models pertaining to data science in community colleges. First, generating a model for introduction to data science courses that are part of a pathway to a data science degree. Second, creating a model for building data science instruction capacity at community colleges using an approach that includes Preceptors with teaching responsibilities at both a university and a community college. Finally, developing a model for community colleges and research institutions to partner in data science and other emerging STEM fields. Together, these models comprise an approach to building capacity in community colleges for data science instruction.

The Data Science Institute is excited to build STEM education capacity in underserved communities by applying a Preceptor approach and course development to create an innovative model for community college data science education.


Jeanne Century

Research Associate Professor and Director, Outlier Research & Evaluation

David Uminsky (he/him)

Executive Director, Data Science Institute; Senior Research Associate, Department of Computer Science