Board of Trustees discusses creation of new data science degree at quarterly meeting

Photo and story by Ghaliah Almuyidi / Contributing Writer

The MTSU Board of Trustees discussed the creation of a new bachelor of science degree in data science in its quarterly meeting in the Miller Education Center on Bell Street Tuesday. There are already a few courses available for those looking for careers in data science, but there is definitely a demand for more, as the field becomes more and more important thanks to this new digital era.

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Near the start of the meeting, Board Chairman Stephen Smith shared a few activities that took place on campus since the beginning of the fall. He also addressed the annual faculty meeting that took place Aug. 23, 2018, as one of those main activities.

Smith went on to thank the 2018 MTSU Career Achievement Award winner, Judith Iriarte-Gross, a professor of chemistry at MTSU, for her achievements and advocacy for women and girls in the field of science.

The trustees then discussed MTSU’s plans to present a new degree for students interested in data science and analysis.

In May, the university launched the MTSU Data Science Institute, led by Charlie Apigian, an information systems and analytics professor in MTSU’s Jones College of Business. The institute works to create private and public collaborations around the emerging field of “big data” and to promote funded research. The new data degree would build upon many achievements and attributes of the institute.

Pam Wright, the chair of the Board’s Academic Affairs, Student Life and Athletics Committee, informed the trustees of MTSU’s intent to submit letters of notification for the new degree to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Feasibly reports on the new degree are currently ongoing.

Another outcome of the trustees meeting was the approval of expedited tenure for two recently hired faculty members, economics and finance professor Anne Anderson and social work professor Cathy McElderry.

“Once you get tenure, you are not going to give it up lightly, so it helps us to be competitive in the job market,” said Mark Byrnes, the university provost, during the meeting.

Jones College of Business Dean David Urban then presented the college’s current activities, plans and accomplishments before the trustees.

In his presentation, Urban showcased an advertisement that is expected to be published in the Nashville Business Journal next edition.

“This new advertisement is highlighting our new supply-chain management and professional-selling programs,” Urban said.

Urban also addressed the upcoming Leadership Summit, sponsored by the Jones College of Business, which will feature nationally-recognized speakers John O’Leary and Mel Robbins on Sept. 28, 2018.

To contact news Editor Caleb Revill, email

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