Historically Black Howard University in Washington, D.C., has announced the creation of the Center for Applied Data Science and Analytics. The center, funded by a $5 million grant from Mastercard, will advance Howard’s leadership as a major hub of data science for social impact research and training for the next generation of data scientists with expertise in incorporating analysis of racial bias in financial services.
The center will offer a master’s degree in applied data science and a thought leadership series on racial equity and inclusive growth. Black communities face unique challenges and algorithmic bias in financial services and specifically with credit decisions. The new center will conduct research examining how data science can contribute to minimizing racial bias in credit approval processes.
Howard University professor of biochemistry and molecular biology William Southerland will serve as interim director of the center. “Data science occurs when data is converted into useful and actionable knowledge,” said Professor Southerland. “This process works best for societal advancement when data is approached without preconceptions and knowledge is interpreted without bias. That is why diversity in the data science profession is so critically important, and it’s also why this Mastercard-Howard collaboration is destined to be very impactful.”
“Data science touches everything, and it’s going to continue to be increasingly impactful in everything that we do,” added Howard University provost and chief academic officer Anthony K. Wutoh. “We’re grateful for the partnership with Mastercard in enabling us to use data science to answer some of the broader societal questions we believe Howard can significantly impact, including those around health care and economic disparities”