64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

64th ISI World Statistics Congress - Ottawa, Canada

IPS 228 - Building Bridges: data fellowships + data skills = international data literacy

Category: IPS
Monday 17 July 2 p.m. - 3:40 p.m. (Canada/Eastern) (Expired) Room 103

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This session will explore innovative approaches to show how we can inspire and support students who have the capability to enter statistical professions and data careers. Through three short presentations we will introduce a successful data fellowship work placement model that has been developed at the University of Manchester in the UK, discuss the impact on students of engaging with online Data Skills learning resources delivered through the UK Data Service, and describe how we are working collaboratively with colleagues in Latin America through the EmpoderaData project to support both social science and STEM undergraduates to develop their data literacy. The session will showcase the three separate but inter-related initiatives and draw on qualitative feedback from data fellows and online learners to evidence the impact of the programmes. We hope to stimulate discussion about how others can learn from our experiences, and create opportunities to collaborate with us and build an international data literacy community. 

Professor Jackie Carter (Professor of Statistical Literacy, University of Manchester, UK) is author of the book 'Work placements, internships and applied social research" (2021) published by Sage. She has received numerous teaching awards for her data fellowship programme, case studies of which feature in the book. She authored the paper Developing a future pipeline of applied social researchers through experiential learning: the case study of a data fellows programme. Statistical Journal of the IAOS, vol 37, no. 3, pp. 935-950, 2021 and is presenting at the international conference "Bridges Between Disciplines: Gender in STEM and Social Sciences" in Sept 2022. Her current research entails gathering narratives from former data fellows who are now in data professions and she will bring this insight to the conference session. 

Dr Vanessa Higgins (Director of Training, UK Data Service, University of Manchester) has a passion for data skills training, having spent twenty years working in this field. In her current role she leads a national programme of data skills training for social science researchers. She has published numerous journal articles in the topic of data literacy, she has led on cross-European social science data skills training projects, and she was co-investigator on the EmpoderaData project which explored data skills training in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Vanessa holds a PhD in Social Statistics and she has used a wide variety of data and statistical methods in her research. She previously worked at the Office for National Statistics as a social survey researcher.

Dr Rafael Alberto Mendez Romero is the Academic Director and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia. He is a Researcher in Technology, Engineering, Science and Mathematics (TICMA) in the School of Engineering, Science and Technology

All three presenters are co-authors on EmpoderaData: Sharing a successful work placement data skills training model within Latin America, to develop capacity to deliver the SDGs. Statistical Journal of the IAOS, vol 37, no 3, pp 1009-1021, 2021

This session will explore innovative approaches to show how we can inspire and support undergraduate students from different subject backgrounds who have the capability to enter statistical professions and data careers. We present two innovative data literacy initiatives in the UK and introduce a project that is working across Latin America to extend the reach of the ‘lessons learned’ on developing data literacy through these two activities. We focus on building bridges between disciplines, STEM and Social Sciences, to develop data literacy skills training, and experiential learning, that can lead to careers in data professions. Whilst the focus of the paper is on education and training, the context of the findings is grounded in data careers and describes how universities can and are developing courses and skills, in different subject areas, to develop a talent pipeline for these careers. 

In UK higher education an ambitious £19.5m initiative – called Q-Step – designed to create a step-change in developing quantitative research skills in the social sciences ran from 2013-2021. The Data Fellows programme developed by one UK university (University of Manchester) that participated in the Q-Step programme has enabled 330 social science undergraduates – Data Fellows – to complete paid work placements, undertaking data-driven research projects in industry. We describe the model and the analytical, research and professional skills frameworks developed to evaluate the outcomes (Carter, 2021). The Data Fellows programme was designed to be inclusive; 70% have been female, and 25% from historically under-represented groups. All Data Fellows have studied pre-requisite data analysis courses. The fellowships enable them to put their classroom learning into practice in the workplace. 

Drawing on Data Fellows' own reflections, we present case studies about how the fellowship assisted them to find employment in data careers. We evidence how experiential learning through Data Fellowships can provide a catalyst to enter and flourish in data careers. Moreover, we show how by addressing inclusivity through the programme design we can create a more diverse talent pipeline. Attention will be given to the skills taught at university as well as the skills requested by data careers professionals to attract data literate graduates into their organisations, across multiple sectors and job roles.  

The UKDS (UK Data Service) provides a suite of online Data Skills training which is open to all and free to access. We further present emerging findings from a qualitative research project that explores how students are participating in these online data skills training to enhance their data literacy, and exploring the impact that these resources have on their learning.  

This session will critically discuss the outcomes of the Data Fellows and Data Skills programmes and show how, through the EmpoderaData project, the authors are bringing the findings to an international audience. Through working collaboratively with colleagues in Latin America we are building bridges between Social Science training for data literacy, online training for Data Skills and engaging STEM undergraduates to develop their data literacy in applied social contexts.

Organiser: Prof. Jackie Carter 

Chair: Prof. Natalie Shlomo 

Speaker: Prof. Jackie Carter 

Speaker: Dr Vanessa Higgins 

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