SDS Mission and Vision

The School of Data Science: Vision, Mission, and Values

Vision

To be a leader in ethically grounded, interdisciplinary data science and artificial intelligence research and education that serves our diverse local and global community. 

Mission

We commit to excellence in education, research, community engagement, and inclusion to shape and lead the future of data science education and practice. We will teach our students to be responsible and ethical data science practitioners, leaders, researchers, and innovators in an increasingly data-driven and global society.

Guiding Commitments

As one of the first Schools of Data Science, we will be a thought-leader in the field. We believe transparency and equity are critical to developing trust in data science and artificial intelligence in all communities. To frame our actions, we commit to:

Academic Excellence

Providing an exceptional academic experience for all students of data science that enhances their lives and careers while simultaneously improving their communities.

Interdisciplinary Research, Discovery, and Innovation

Using data and data science in interdisciplinary ways to generate new knowledge, understanding, and advancement in relationship with our communities and industry partners.

Community Engagement

Forging non-profit, government, and industry partnerships that strengthen and prepare our students to be engaged and impactful citizens in the communities in which they live and work.

Integrity and Respect

Adhering to the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards, ensuring a collegial culture that embraces civil discourse. Treating all members of the School and the community with respect, fairness, and dignity.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Ensuring a consistent culture where students, faculty, and staff of different races, ethnicities, backgrounds, identities, and abilities experience belonging and inclusion that manifests in equitable outcomes.

Access and Socio-economic Mobility

Providing access to a robust data science education for students from all backgrounds, as well as being an engine of change to improve the economic, social, and wellbeing of our region and state.

Sustainable Environment

Stewarding our scarce global resources by ethically, responsibly, and justly protecting the natural environment through resilient and sustainable practices.

Four Pillars

  1. EDUCATION (Data Literacy, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence)

Definition: Empowering individuals through data literacy and data science pedagogy and research to constructively engage with their communities.

Goal: Transform lives through data science and artificial intelligence education

Actions for 2026:

  • Undergraduate
    • Complete development and grow BS degree
      • Learn and improve studio courses
      • Develop and teach third and fourth studios that include development of capstone course that has integrated community projects;
    • Launch and mature the Sports Analytics Certificate
    • Create elective undergraduate courses
  • Graduate
    • Manage enrollment in MS to balance resources and demand
    • Establish Ph.D. in Data Science
  • Minors
    • Develop data literacy courses and minor (BHEF)
    • Explore partnerships with departments for interdisciplinary minors with data analytics and artificial intelligence at the core
  • Student engagement
    • Encourage the BS students to create their own student organization
    • Reinvigorate Sports Analytics Club
    • Facilitate applied learning opportunities
    • Develop a plan for student engaged scholarship with community and industry partners
  • End Transition phase of SDS
    • Stabilize SDS processes
    • Ensure appropriate faculty engagement and structure such that SDS is on a sustainable path

Metrics: # BS, DSBA, HIA students: future # students in minor, 

  1. RESEARCH

Definition: Ethically grounded, systematic investigation to create knowledge that serves the interests of the local and global community.

Goal: Create opportunities through applied interdisciplinary research that utilizes data science and artificial intelligence methods that are grounded in the needs and values of our broad community.

Actions for 2026:

  • Expand collaboration, grant proposals, and funded awards with interdisciplinary SDS teams
  • Identify physical and virtual spaces to collaborate with campus, community, and industry partners
  • Build research, education, and infrastructure partnership with Institute for Social Capital
  • Continue to build a culture of belonging with SDS faculty, especially across departments and colleges
  • Facilitate industry input and collaboration through joint research projects and seminars

Metrics: $ research proposed, $ awarded, # funding sources, # publications, and scholarly output (e.g., conference proceedings, research media coverage) 

  1. COMMUNITY

Definition: Both the physical environment and the cultural alignment of those within the local and global data science community 

Goal: Engage the Charlotte and campus communities by creating accessible pathways for research and practice.

Actions for 2026:

  • Develop a culture of community service within SDS
    • Move community data stewardship program beyond the pilot stage
    • Develop engagement plan for NPOS and local NGOs (e.g., Girls Who Code)
  • Continue to evolve and grow community-focused conferences (Analytics Frontiers and Women in Data Science)
  • Recruit, retain, and graduate community-engaged data science students from underserved communities in the greater Charlotte region. 
  • Address enrollment gaps and foster educational success in data science for underserved North Carolinians.
  • Expand internship programs and opportunities to our undergraduate students.

Metrics: # community research projects, # students engaged with community partners 

  1. INCLUSION

Definition: Commitment to a set of practices that fosters appropriate representation of our community‚Äôs gender, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity. 

Goal: Foster diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure a sense of belonging within SDS.

Actions for 2026:

  • Expand scholarships and endowment with a focus on supporting underrepresented students and those with need
  • Continue to build a national reputation for the appropriate and just use of data and data science
  • Develop a plan to reach and recruit a diverse set of regional high school students.
  • Build out articulation agreements with community colleges across North Carolina.
  • Encourage and build partnerships with public-facing university assets including athletics.

Metrics: $ scholarships for URM/female students, # community colleges transferring students to SDS