NJ Pathway Project Highlight: NJ Big Data Alliance-Data Science Articulation Project

Through the NJ Pathways to Career Opportunities initiative, New Jersey’s Community Colleges have partnered with the NJ Big Data Alliance (NJBDA). NJBDA was established in 2013 by Rutgers University, along with 8 higher education partners, to catalyze collaboration among New Jersey academia, industry and government in building advanced computing and data analytics capabilities and expertise. Today, the NJBDA is a consortium of 36 higher education institutions (now including community colleges) and NJ Edge, as well as industry and government members, that builds and leverages collaborations to increase competitiveness, generate a highly skilled workforce, drive innovation and catalyze data-driven economic growth for New Jersey.

NJBDA and the Community Colleges are collaborating on a Data Science Curriculum Alignment and Articulation Agreement Pathways Project. The goal of this Pathways project is for four-year colleges and universities and community colleges to come together and evaluate courses of community college data science or equivalent programs so that graduates with Associate degrees may transfer into the Baccalaureate degree programs with credits other than as elective courses. This can lead to more community college graduate transfers into four-year colleges and universities and lower costs for those graduates to complete the Baccalaureate programs overall.

The project consists of a graduate research project conducted by Rutgers University graduate fellows with the following objectives:

  • Collect Data from NJ Transfer on 2-year and 4-year institutions with Data Science Programs or equivalent on course prerequisites and learning objectives.
  • Identify core pillars of foundational understanding in Data Science that prepare transfer students to meet the learning expectations of 4-year colleges. For example: math, statistics, computing, and other prerequisites.
  • Find patterns and common threads to help merge the gap of credits being accepted and potentially obtain program-to-program articulations.

Through this research project, potential program-to-program articulation in data science could be obtained with the discovery of community colleges providing the appropriate prerequisites to seamlessly transfer to four-year institutions data science programs.

In addition to the research project for data science articulation alignment, NJBDA amended its bylaws to provide membership to 2-year institutions that operate programs that include courses and/or conducts research in the area of big data and/or advanced computing.

The New Jersey Business and Industry Association recently highlighted this project on their business television show Minding Your Business. Seton Hall professor and President of NJBDA, Matt Hale and Kelly Fitzpatrick, Mathematics professor at the County College of Morris, spoke about the project’s success. Watch the episode here.