Our work crosses disciplines, departments, schools and colleges to leverage UVA’s combined capabilities in data science, and to create meaningful partnerships with government and community partners.
These are the values that define us and our work. With them, we hope to build a roadmap to the future through data science.
As the field of data science takes shape, now is the time to establish a foundation for responsible data science.
Responsible data science—and the concurrent development of responsible data scientists—won’t be achieved by simply teaching courses in data ethics. Instead, from research development to data gathering, engineering to analysis, publication to privacy protection, responsible data science guides our entire philosophy of education and research.
Our commitment to responsible data science is woven into our daily work habits.
We cultivate critical self-reflection in ourselves and our work and openness toward the perspectives of others. The interdisciplinary nature of our program grounds students in an understanding of diverse perspectives, drawing from such disciplines as the humanities, philosophy, anthropology and beyond. Creating a culture of ethical and responsible data science allows us to respond rapidly to a shifting socio-technological landscape.
We’re all affected by today’s data-centric world. As we collaborate with data scientists, policymakers, industry leaders, community organizers and the general public, we declare our commitment to the pursuit of responsible, ethical data science research and education.
By its very nature, data science is collaborative. As an interdisciplinary field—combining such wide-ranging areas of knowledge as engineering, art, mathematics, medicine, digital humanities, and politics—data science unites technical, subject-area, and creative problem-solving skills to manage and analyze massive datasets.
We are committed to working closely with all disciplines, from engineering to the humanities, STEM and non-STEM alike. Envisioned as a “school without walls,” we endeavor to make UVA’s proposed School of Data Science to be an open ecosystem that fosters interdisciplinary research, teaching and partnerships across the University; with the private sector; and with other academic, government and community organizations.
We are committed to a culture of responsible openness. This will be our default mode of operation, maximizing inclusion, accessibility and diversity at all levels. At the same time, we recognize that a School must have a sustainable business model, providing the appropriate measures of security and protection of intellectual property.
Pragmatically, being open means operating in a transparent manner. As far as it is practical and responsible, we will make the products of the School freely and readily available without restriction, giving attribution to the producers and adhering to School policies and procedures. Our Open Data Lab is one such effort already under way to promote transparency.
We want to continue to help UVA lead a movement that drives the growth and dissemination of knowledge across geographic, temporal and commercial boundaries.
Be diverse and inclusive
Data science is a team sport, and the strongest teams possess people with a diverse set of experiences, backgrounds, opinions and ideas.
As we plan the proposed School of Data Science, we will strive to achieve this kind of diversity at all times. The School is envisioned as a place that welcomes and nurtures everyone equally, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, culture, language or disability.
We will make a concerted effort to build pipelines and create opportunities for members of underrepresented groups to become students, faculty, staff and researchers. We will combat the implicit biases that undermine people by adopting inclusive admissions and hiring procedures. We will also apply our skills as data scientists to recognize and address bias in data, analytics and all work products we study and use, providing outcomes that benefit all stakeholders and reflect the true diversity of our community.