This is a guest blog by Edward Aboufadel, Associate Vice President, GVSU

Over the past few years, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has launched several educational programs in big data, of interest to adults seeking new knowledge or career reinvention, as well as traditional students.  GVSU understands the importance of educating students in applied data analytics and in being a part of the Big Data community in West Michigan.  We are a sponsor of the 2019 Big Data Ignite conference.

GVSU programs are led by faculty with a variety of big data experiences, such as gaming the lottery, genomics and cancer, economic time series, and designing an app to detect potholes.  Their experiences inform the courses found in the following programs.

GVSU offers two big data master’s programs.  The Data Science and Analytics program provides the fundamental analytics background necessary to work with big and complex data sets in any discipline. It also allows a statistics or computing student to gain additional cross-disciplinary background, or for a student of any discipline to develop skills to solve data-intensive problems.  The Health Informatics and Bioinformatics program utilizes computer science technology to manage and analyze information in the life and health sciences.

There are also two undergraduate minors that are available to GVSU students and to others in the community.  The Data Science minor provides students with deeper knowledge of data analysis, through statistics and computer science courses.  The Digital Studies minor teaches students the skills necessary to use digital skills and tools foundational to their careers, including data literacy, visualization, multimedia production, visual rhetoric, and design.  Students in the minor learn to critically assess digital culture, including the interrogation of social media, digital identity and representation, and exploring the ethical implications of digital access.

These programs arose from GVSU’s decade-long Big Data Initiative, which was established by Provost Maria Cimitile.  GVSU has invited several speakers to campus over the years and has hosted training workshops on data analytics software.  More information about the Big Data Initiative can be found at