In the 2019-2020 Academic Year, we launched a strategic planning process in the area we have called “DataX.” This term is deliberately inclusive. It emphasizes our conviction that the ongoing revolution in our ability to access and analyze data has transformative potential for all activities of the university. It can lead to innovative research, which often transcends academic units; new modalities of scholarship; a new flowering of creative endeavors; timely critique of the social, political, and ethical implications of data; groundbreaking initiatives in undergraduate and graduate education; and novel pathways for community engagement.
In their capacity as Special Advisors for Strategic Initiatives in Data Science to the Vice Chancellor for Research, Professors Jacob G. Foster and Mark L. Green have produced an initial plan for the DataX Initiative. This plan is the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders on campus and leaders at peer institutions. For details of this plan, we direct you to UCLA’s DataX Strategy: Past, Present, and Future (PDF) presentation describing the overall framework, as well as the recording of several Town Hall meetings held by Professors Foster and Green in May 2020 where the presentation is accompanied by further details followed by question and answer sessions with faculty (available on the Research & Creative Activities website).
We warmly invite your engagement in the next phase of the strategic planning process through the preparation of white papers. These documents may be produced by Schools, Divisions, Departments, Organized Research Units, Interdepartmental Programs, Institutes, Centers, and other relevant campus organizations. These white papers should provide a brief, high-level description of the ways that your unit can engage in the DataX Initiative — in both research and education. For example, the document could describe possible synergies between the strategic plans of the unit (e.g., hiring, new course development, new research directions) and the DataX Initiative, and how the initiative might catalyze and support these endeavors. Although the white papers will come from individual units, be sure to include opportunities you see for interdisciplinary collaboration. You do not need to discuss costs or explicitly request funding for particular activities. This part of the document should be no more than three pages in length. These white papers will be included in Professors Foster and Green’s final report.
We also invite the inclusion of an appendix providing further details. We are particularly interested in hearing about educational opportunities in DataX that your unit currently offers or plans to offer in the near future. These might include: undergraduate and graduate courses; research opportunities for students; tutorials and short courses; workshops and working groups; graduate degree programs (e.g., professional Master’s degrees); and other training opportunities for students (e.g., internships, technical consulting opportunities). It would be helpful to have short summaries of current projects in your unit (research, scholarship, or creative activities) that are relevant to the DataX Initiative. If these projects have a web presence, please include a link.
We recognize and appreciate that these white papers will take considerable effort to prepare and that the end of the academic year is upon us. We ask that you submit the white papers by July 10, 2020. Please send them to UCLA.DataX.WhitePapers@conet.ucla.edu.
Thank you very much for your engagement with this important effort.
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities