Dr. Philip Bourne, founding Stephenson Dean of the School of
Data Science at the University of Virginia, established in 2019
with a gift of $120 million. Dr. Bourne’s career encompasses work
at Columbia University, the University of California at San Diego,
and the National Institutes of Health and includes motorcycle
jaunts throughout western Virginia and beyond. We spoke with him at
his office in Charlottesville about the following (abridged version
1. Why a separate school of data science?
2. What gives data science its coherence as a
professional field and an academic discipline? Does that include
tackling a set of “grand challenges” such as we see in, for
3. Your school is described as one “without walls,”
suggesting perhaps a virtual format for learning. How will
students, including working professionals you identify as persons
you seek to serve, learn in the school?
4. Is there any reason to expect student enrollment and
degree completion in data science to be any different in terms of
representation of persons of color? Will students be taught by a
diverse data science faculty? If so, why?
5. What do you see as the other key attributes,
experiences, and expertise of someone who can lead successfully an
academic leadership position in data science?
INNOVATORS is a
podcast production of Harris Search Associates.
*The views and opinions shared by the guests
on INNOVATORS do not necessarily reflect
the views of the interviewee's institution or organization.*