Published: April 13, 2022

The ASSETT (Arts & Sciences Support of Education Through Technology) Innovation Incubator is thrilled to announce that a team of Arts and Sciences faculty has won a $150,000 Humanities Connections Implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This project, titled “Humanities Core Competencies as Data Acumen: Integrating Humanities and Data Science,” aims to develop a curricular initiative at the University of Colorado Boulder that enhances both the humanities and data science by developing courses that are equally rooted in each discipline. The awarded team members are Project Director Jane Garrity (English), and Co-PIs Robin Burke (CMCI Lead),  David Glimp (English), Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara (CRDDS),  Vilja Hulden (History), Thea Lindquist (CRDDS), Henry Lovejoy (History),  Brett Melbourne (Evolutionary Biology), Nathan Pieplow (Program for Writing & Rhetoric),  Rachael Deagman Simonetta (English), and Eric Vance (Applied Math). In addition to the Innovation Incubator Inclusive Data Science team, this project will be supported by faculty from the College of Media, Communications & Information (CMCI) and the Center for Research Data & Digital Scholarship (CRDDS).

During the three-year period of the NEH award, team members will design eight courses, each of which will promote experiential learning and foster engagement with humanistic questions in the context of quantitative inquiry. Two additional key components of the project will be: a two-year course design and development workshop facilitated by CU Boulder’s Center for Teaching and Learning; and an ambitious plan for disseminating key findings in order to cultivate local and national conversations about the most effective ways of teaching data science and the humanities. The project aims to provide a model of cutting-edge pedagogical collaboration and an example of how the humanities can help equip twenty-first century learners with the intellectual resources they will need responsibly to inhabit a world being remade by data. 

Prior to winning the NEH, the ASSETT Inclusive Data Science team members Garrity, Glimp, Hulden, Melbourne, Pieplow, and Vance launched a new introductory course, Interdisciplinary Data Science for All (AHUM 1825), that was team taught for the first time by Professors Glimp and Vance in Fall 2021. In this class students learned to analyze not just numbers, but to communicate the findings of data analysis effectively by highlighting human contexts and consequences. The course provides STEM majors with qualitative reasoning skills that are traditionally taught in the humanities, provides future humanities majors with an on-ramp to further study of data science, and provides all students with critical, statistical and computational skills they can apply in future courses and in the workforce. The Inclusive Data Science ASSETT team has also co-written an article, “Integrating the Humanities into Data Science Education: Reimagining the Introductory Data Science Course” that is forthcoming in the Statistics Education Research Journal. In addition, in 2021 the team won a three-year $300,000 National Science Foundation grant for their proposal, “Integrating Content and Skills from the Humanities into Data Science Education.” The animating insight of this and the NEH project is that essential data science competencies complement—and benefit from being integrated with—core humanities competencies.