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Trinity College Launches Data Analytics Program

November 18, 2020

Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., has launched a new Data Analytics program

Sundeep Vira, currently Trinity’s assistant professor of business and director of strategic innovation, will serve as director of the new program. Meanwhile, Karl Schmitt, previously director of Data Science Programs at Valparaiso University, has joined Trinity as program coordinator and assistant professor of data analytics.

Funding for the Data Analytics program at Trinity has been made possible through a lead gift from the Vermeer Charitable Foundation and additional gifts from a range of Trinity constituents.

Said Trinity President Kurt Dykstra, “We are very grateful for the Vermeer Charitable Foundation and so many others who have seen fit to help Trinity launch this program. These program funders understand the role that data plays in today’s world. We endeavor to educate students to help them, and other organizations like them, better use data for the good of their organization and the good of the world.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data analytics is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. Trinity’s program will draw on the strength of the college’s liberal arts foundation and multidisciplinary approach, bringing together faculty from different departments and offering a holistic view of data analytics to students.

“The best data science and analytics doesn’t happen in silos,” said Schmitt, who will have program design responsibilities and teaching responsibilities in the areas of computer science and data analytics. “It happens in connection with other fields. I’m excited to be part of the collaborative teaching environment at Trinity.”

Said Vira, “Data analytics is essential for all services and industries and Trinity is excited to lead the way for students across disciplines to access and develop hard skills and strengthen their value for future employment.”

With the explosion of data in today’s society, data analytics now touches on virtually every aspect of life, according to Schmitt. “Data analytics can be useful for any field,” he said, pointing to applications as diverse as managing risk to improving sales leads to honing the algorithms used to suggest song playlists. And a place like Trinity brings a vital perspective to the field.

“There are some really relevant issues around ethics in data science and machine fairness and bias,” said Schmitt. “It is exciting when students can study these questions at a College where faith is an integral part of that. A place like Trinity brings a deeper perspective to the field.”