High demand for data science skills generates rewarding career opportunities, but those opportunities have not historically gone to underrepresented populations. Innovative professors at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are forging opportunities for students to engage with data analytics in meaningful and creative ways, ensuring students develop career-ready analytics skills. To supercharge their efforts, SAS developed the HBCU Fellows Program and recently named the four members of the inaugural cohort.
The HBCU Fellows Program supports educators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities by helping integrate analytical tools into academic programs and increase access to data and analytics education. Fellows are chosen based on interest in data analytics, feasibility of proposed plan and projected impact to teaching. The inaugural cohort is using SAS to explore compelling real-world applications in financial services and investing, human resources, marketing, and sports analytics.
“The HBCU Fellows are opening doors to exciting careers in data and analytics for their students,” said Liz Moran, Director, SAS Academic Programs and Certification. “They are also helping make their institutions destinations for a new, more diverse generation of data scientists and analytics experts that can use data to grow businesses, power research and improve society.”
Those selected for the program receive customized curriculum planning and technical guidance, opportunities to network with technical experts, and more. Fellows will participate in quarterly training and professional development events aimed at advancing their analytics and data science skills and identifying resources for teaching data analytics in their disciplines. The first cohort of HBCU Fellows are:
- Minnette A. Bumpus, PhD, Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at Bowie State University.
- Gregory W. Ramsey, PhD, Associate Professor in the Information Science and Systems Department at the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management at Morgan State University.
- Pamela Queen, PhD, Professor in the Accounting and Finance Department at the Graves School of Business and Management at Morgan State University.
- Joni Jackson, PhD, Associate Professor of Marketing in the College of Business at Chicago State University.
Striving to close a growing skills gap
According to CompTIA’s State of the Tech Workforce report, Black people account for 12% of the US workforce but occupy only 8% of tech jobs. That gap is projected to widen. Technology jobs are expected to grow 14% by 2032, but Black tech talent in those roles is expected to grow only 8%.
By integrating data skills into coursework and projects, HBCU Fellows will prepare students with real-world experience to seize those growing opportunities.
At Morgan State University, some of that experience will be in the rapidly growing area of sports analytics. Students will get to work with the university’s Center for Data Analytics and Sports Gaming Research to study and support research on socio-behavioral attitudes about esports, sports wagering, gambling addiction and other trends to inform public policy and regulations.
“The SAS HBCU Fellows Program will enable me to serve as an ambassador to my colleagues by customizing curriculum and student assignments that will better prepare Morgan students to utilize data analytics in various business disciplines, including sports and fintech,” said Queen.
Increasing representation in the analytics workforce
For decades, SAS has supported education at all levels to shrink the data skills gap and prepare more students for college, work and success in the analytics economy. From its partnerships with minority-serving institutions to diversity hiring initiatives and employee inclusion groups, SAS is committed to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within the company and in the industry.
Last year, SAS hosted the first HBCU Invitational in concert with the SAS Championship golf tournament. It joined many other outreach and recruiting programs, including SAS HBCU STEM & Business Connects, HBCU Career Development Marketplace and HBCU Academic Excellence Program.