MSU’s Data Science Pedagogy Graduate Certificate Program Produces First Cohort of Classroom-Ready Teachers

The 2023 graduates of Mississippi State’s Graduate Certificate for Data Science Pedagogy program include Jones College employees, front row, left to right, Bharath Kandula, Kelly Robinson, Julie Atwood and Carson Atwood; back row, left to right, Clint McMullan, Eric Shows, Jon Ryan Fennell and Ty Walters. Not pictured: Greg Griffith. (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The inaugural class of students who have earned the Graduate Certificate for Data Science Pedagogy from Mississippi State’s data science program are being celebrated.

Introduced in the fall term of 2023, the certificate program is designed to equip K-14 instructors with the necessary skills to teach data science in classrooms, addressing the increasing demand for experts in this field in light of the ongoing digital transformation of various industries. The first group of graduates consists of nine faculty and staff members from Jones College in Ellisville.

“The program has equipped these JC faculty members to seamlessly incorporate data science concepts into their course curricula, irrespective of the subject being taught,” said Jonathan Fennell, chief of staff at JC and a program graduate himself. “Completion of this program empowers JC staff to adopt a data science mindset and optimize real-world business solutions to address challenges faced by our institution.”

Fennell highlighted the role played by MSU’s renowned faculty in enlightening students about the importance of data science and critical thinking concepts. 

Mimmo Parisi, the director and professor of data science, expressed satisfaction with the success of the program and exceeded expectations while also emphasizing the need for expansion throughout the state.

“Data science is not limited to a particular sector—it is relevant to all businesses. Everything we do revolves around data science,” said Parisi. “We need to cater to the needs of not just highly skilled individuals at the undergraduate level, but also those at the beginner and intermediate levels in the K-12 and community college systems.”

Parisi stated that MSU’s data science program is the first in the Southeastern Conference to go beyond data analytics. The university now offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in data science, along with undergraduate and graduate minors, in addition to the certificate program.

“We are approaching data science holistically in order to support the digital transformation of the economy and meet the demands of future job opportunities,” Parisi explained.

Find out more about the Data Science Pedagogy Certificate program at www.online.msstate.edu/datascience. For additional information on data science at MSU, please visit www.datascience.msstate.edu/.

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