As UNC Charlotte’s focus on STEM intensifies, the Interim Executive Director of UNC Charlotte’s Data Science Initiative has ambitious plans for Data Science programs in their many different forms on campus. These include concentrations, minors, bachelors and masters programs and a new school solely focused on Data Science. The man behind this initiative is Dr. Doug Hague, a man with a deep background and understanding of the field.

Data Science is a discipline that deals with analyzing and interpreting data. Data Science itself is a relatively new field in comparison to others on campus and it implements aspects of business, mathematics, computing and information science in its approach to analysis. Realizing the importance of this field, a partnership of four academic colleges at UNC Charlotte (College of Health and Human Services, Belk College of Business, College of Computing and Informatics, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) and various industries was created. 

Doug Hague himself is a PhD, patent holder, consultant, and analyst, boasting over 20 years of experience in the field of data science. Working in industries such as telecommunications, aerospace, and finance, Hague has a wide breadth of knowledge concerning the operations and versatility of data science as a field. 

Dr. Hague stated that the path he’s on now is incredibly different from what he studied for. “Data science wasn't a term yet for my graduate degree or most of my career. It is a recent term. I was influenced by a desire to solve problems with logic, math and data. Today, these are the base skill sets in data science.” He continues by saying, “My curiosity and desire to continuously learn has lead me to reach for many opportunities and learn even more. My career was not a planned path, but more a planned growth.”

Although Dr. Hague has been at UNC Charlotte for only a year, he has served in many capacities and facets of the program. A few of note are his roles in teaching classes, partnering with industry leaders and working with faculty and staff within the initiative. 

In a move to expand the initiative, Hague plans to send out surveys, seek industry partnerships, and highlight the diversity of projects and topics in the field to freshmen and transfer students. The fields that data science covers are diverse. While areas such as technology, business and healthcare are at the forefront, using data to address societal issues is an emerging area of focus. With this program and data science itself being relatively young, students have an influential role in the direction of the initiative and the data science program. 

If all goes to plan, Dr. Hague says the data science bachelors program could be available to students within the next few years alongside the establishment of the School of Data Science itself.

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