“Plans for this school are unique and the University has put great thought into how it will be true to UVA’s roots, by focusing on outstanding faculty as well as ensuring that the experience data science students have here will be unlike experiences they could have anywhere else,” Woodriff said, thanking both Ryan and President Emerita Teresa A. Sullivan for their support in envisioning and planning for the new school.
Phil Bourne, who directs the Data Science Institute and will serve as the new school’s acting dean, said the school will focus on interdisciplinary collaboration. Satellites and centers embedded in other schools around UVA will facilitate data science work in a variety of disciplines, including data acquisition, engineering, analytics, data visualization and dissemination, and ethics, policy and law.
The school will also, Bourne said, “weave social responsibility into all we do.”
“A school of data science must help drive this world appropriately to profound change,” he said.
In their remarks, Northam and Riggleman, as well as Sens. Warner and Kaine, said that developing talent in the emerging field is critically important to the future of the commonwealth.
Riggleman, an alumnus who said the event marked an emotional return to UVA for him, applauded “the vision and forward thinking of those that have spoken about data science” and noted that he had seen the field’s potential impact firsthand while serving in the Air Force.
“Can we use data to solve these important problems? Can we use data science to move forward?” Riggleman asked. “I think we can, and I have seen it work.”
A representative read a statement from Kaine, who said he was proud that Virginia would be home to one of the first schools of data science in the nation.
“Investments in education are vital to prepare students and workers for success in the modern economy,” Kaine said. “Our commonwealth succeeds by developing a skilled workforce, and I applaud your efforts to ensure that Virginia remains a magnet for talented individuals.”