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University of Wisconsin Master of Science in Data Science Welcomes New Program Manager David Summers

Former Practicing Data Scientist Brings Firsthand Experience and Subject-Matter Expertise to New 36-Credit Master’s Program

September 17, 2015 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

MADISON, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The University of Wisconsin-Extension, Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (CEOEL) welcomes David Summers as manager for the new online Master of Science in Data Science—a 12-course, 36-credit graduate program developed and offered by six University of Wisconsin institutions—UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior, coordinated by UW-Extension. As the first online master’s degree in data science ever offered within the UW System, the UW Master of Science in Data Science is a convenient choice for busy professionals who want to earn an advanced degree and expand their career opportunities while balancing work, family, and other commitments. The first semester of courses began on September 2.

“The interdisciplinary strengths of our faculty and the program’s unique technology focus, combined with our innovative, online virtual environment, are great benefits for aspiring master’s students”

“I am pleased and excited to have been selected to lead the UW Data Science master’s program,” said Summers, who is himself an experienced data scientist. “As a data-driven professional with success in the field, I understand the challenges and immense opportunities that big data presents for today’s organizations. It is a privilege to lead a program that is so well designed to serve its students.”

As program manager, Summers will lead faculty and staff in establishing and monitoring systems, policies, and practices that support the UW Master of Science in Data Science program’s goal of preparing the next generation of data scientists for success in a world where global business is in “dire need” (CNBC.com) of skilled data professionals. “The interdisciplinary strengths of our faculty and the program’s unique technology focus, combined with our innovative, online virtual environment, are great benefits for aspiring master’s students,” said Summers. “They provide an education and experience that students are unlikely to find elsewhere.”

Summers brings to the UW Data Science program years of analytics industry experience with companies such as Johnson Controls in Milwaukee, Thermo Fisher Scientific in Madison, and an energy-efficiency consulting firm in Washington, DC. He earned his bachelor’s degree—a concentration in data analysis and research through the sociology department—from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in predictive analytics. Over the course of his professional and educational career, Summers has striven to stay on top of the latest data science technologies and techniques. His skill set includes R, Python, SQL, Tableau, SAS, and SPSS, among others.

George Kroeninger, assistant dean for program development and management at CEOEL, says Summers’s understanding of the skills employers look for in qualified data scientists will be an asset to the program, its faculty, and students.

“David’s experience makes him a true subject-matter expert,” said Kroeninger. “His deep understanding of the data science field is invaluable as we prepare to launch this fall and keep the program on the cutting edge.”

Designed with input from industry leaders, the UW Master of Science in Data Science offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum grounded in computer science, math and statistics, management, and communication. Students will learn how to clean, organize, analyze, and interpret large and complex data sets using the latest tools and analytical methods. Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 GPA. Aptitude tests such as the GMAT and GRE are not required.

In his new role, Summers will look to maintain the momentum the UW Master of Science in Data Science program has built in the months leading up to launch. To date, the program has received more than 2,000 student inquiries from 74 different countries—outpacing all previous multi-campus UW collaborative programs. David Schejbal, dean at CEOEL, says interest in the program is driven by high demand as employers look to address the deepening shortage of data scientists in virtually every sector, from business, government, and education to health care, science, law enforcement, and more.

“Like all degree programs we build with our campus partners, the UW Master of Science in Data Science is designed to meet state- and nationwide workforce needs,” said Schejbal. “There is a great need for skilled data professionals in nearly every field, and this is clearly reflected in the number of first-semester enrollments in our program, which are nearly 40 percent higher than projected.”

With fall courses under way, the program is now accepting applications for spring semester, which begins January 19, 2016. Prospective students seeking more information about the University of Wisconsin Master of Science in Data Science are encouraged to visit datasciencedegree.wisconsin.edu, call 1-877-895-32761-877-895-3276 FREE, or email [email protected].

About UW-Extension, Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (CEOEL)

A division of UW-Extension, CEOEL works in partnership with all 26 UW System campuses to offer online continuing education programs and lifelong learning opportunities—fulfilling the “Wisconsin Idea” of extending the university’s boundaries to every corner of the state.

The UW Master of Science in Data Science is one of several degree and certificate programs offered in collaboration with CEOEL and UW System campus partners, including the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology; bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs in Sustainable Management; a bachelor’s degree in Health and Wellness Management; a bachelor of professional studies in Organizational Leadership and Communication; bachelor of science in nursing (RN to BSN) programs for Wisconsin and out-of-state residents; and seven additional degree and certificate programs offered in the self-paced, competency-based UW Flexible Option format.

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