Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Large donation helps start new program

Augustana College is accepting $1.5 million from the John Deere Foundation to help start a new Data Analytics program, which plans to launch as early as 2018.
This past month, the John Deere Foundation granted Augustana College money to create an endowed chair in data analytics. This means that all the money will be used to hire a professional in the field of data analytics to teach and design a major for the college.
There will be a big demand for people in this field in the near future, according to Jon Clauss, a mathematics professor at Augustana. Students who can learn the skills to sort through and find patterns in big amounts of data will be useful to large corporations.
The McKinsey Big Data Report projects that “demand for deep analytical position in a big data world could exceed the supply being produced on current trends by 140,000 to 190,000 positions.”
There are not many liberal arts schools in the country that offer a data analytics program said Sam Schlouch, the Senior Communications Director at Augustana. A knowledge of data analytics ties into the liberal arts curriculum because it can be applied to almost any field of study. The public health, psychology, and pharmaceutical fields are just of few examples of fields that collect and use large amounts of data.
Clauss said John Deere thought Augustana would be a good fit to receive the money because “we have sent a lot of students over to John Deere for internships. Many Augie students have made their careers there and John Deere has been very impressed with our students. Our students are top notch.”
Schlouch agreed that John Deere and the college have a good relationship.
“[John Deere] sees the value in data analytics in their own business operations, and they liked the way we were going to go about building this program,” Schouch said.
Augustana will be ready to have a data analytics minor by the 2018 school year. The college plans to have the full major ready by 2020.
In the meantime, the college will be researching and looking for someone who is qualified to run a data analytics program. Whoever they hire will be in charge of deciding the curriculum for the major.
John Delaney, an Augustana accounting professor, is working with Clauss to start shaping the data analytics minor.
“There will some courses based on statistics, probably some business software tools like excel will be involved, and an introduction to data analytics course,” Delaney said.
There will also be courses that add in a liberal arts background like business communication that will help students present big data in a professional way.
While the college is looking forward to bringing in more students, Clauss believes that this program will better serve the students that are already at Augustana.

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Large donation helps start new program