Mentoring to Support Designing and Launching of New Data Science Career Pathways at Community Colleges
This project aims to strengthen the capacity of faculty in community colleges to design and launch new data science programs. The project includes a partnership between Education Development Center's Oceans of Data Institute, and Bunker Hill, Sinclair, and Normandale Community Colleges. The partnership will support faculty from institutions with existing data science programs to mentor institutions that want to establish their own programs. The mentors will guide the mentees in assessing local industry needs and establishing curricula. The project addresses the need to build the capacity of the nation's skilled data workforce to fill the growing number jobs in data science and data analytics.
This project will train mentors to share their experiences in developing data programs with faculty from four mentee institutions. The mentors will guide mentees to lead institutional efforts to: 1) Conduct a self-assessment of their college's data program development assets; 2) Develop and implement a strategic plan to create a new data program; 3) Work with employers to prioritize work tasks required to achieve success in local industries; 4) Align courses and curriculum with local industry skill demand; 5) Establish broad, internal support for the new data program; and 6) Develop a new program proposal for their college's curriculum committee. The Oceans of Data Institute will maintain a professional learning community to support mentors and mentees throughout this process, and link them to best practices learned from the Advanced Technological Education MentorLinks and Mentor-Connects projects. Mentors will meet monthly to plan, to discuss challenges, and to share successes. Mentors and mentees will visit each other's institutions to engage college faculty and administrative staff in fact-finding and problem-solving conversations. Mentors and mentees will meet annually in advance of the ATE annual High Impact Technology Exchange Conference to engage in professional development, plan, and problem-solve. The project will deploy resources to support mentee institutions in their pursuit of developing data science programs. These resources will also be made widely available to the public. Outreach and dissemination efforts will target community colleges that would most benefit from this information. The project has the potential to enable community colleges to scale-up efforts and train the next generation of data workers in a sustained and timely manner.