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The Innovators podcast, a product of Harris Search Associates, features interesting conversations with global thought leaders in the areas of higher education and research, engineering, technology, and the health sciences and provides our listeners an opportunity to benefit from lessons learned from the national leaders changing the landscape of innovation and discovery. Visit the Harris Search Associates website here.

Jan 17, 2023

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 of) questions:
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 example, engineering?
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.*