The Center for Data Science Analytics (CDSA), Houghton College’s central hub for data collection and utilization, has named Matthew Skillman as its new director.
Data collection and analysis offer valuable insights into what consumers are seeking, allowing institutions to better steward their resources and respond to consumer needs. The Center works side by side with the college’s data science major – combining analytic skills and creativity to convert raw data into actionable information – and provides networking and internship opportunities through cooperation with alumni.
Skillman, a 2016 graduate of Houghton, is no stranger to the benefits and complexities of this field. He served as part of a student consulting group that partnered with alumni, and he plans to expand these real-world learning experiences via internship and practicum opportunities for current Houghton students.
Skillman also plans to connect the center with multiple areas of campus – including admission, advancement, institutional research, registrar, and more – to analyze data in order to inform strategic decisions. The long-term agenda includes offering the services of a student consultant group to campus departments and eventually to alumni in business, sports, banking, and more.
“The center is designed to get students plugged into data and help them use it in a way to greatly impact our region and our world,” remarks Skillman. “I hope to accomplish this by giving students the opportunity to explore datasets, to analyze complex problems, and to tell the story contained in the data.”
Students studying data science at Houghton have taken their knowledge and skills across the country, from conducting an economic impact study at the Golf Week Amateur National Championship in Hilton Head, SC to witnessing real-time data usage at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, CA.
Houghton was the first Christian college and among the first small liberal arts schools to launch a data science degree, drawing from several key disciplines, particularly computer science and mathematics. The Center for Data Science Analytics was launched during the 2015-2016 academic year under the leadership of 1987 alumna Carmen McKell, president of BaseMetrics Inc.