Education - Page 9 - Career path, from page 3

Education
- Page 9
Career path, from page 3
numbers report a moment in time or over a span of time. With the right training and perspective, managers can learn how to read, interpret and understand the data.

That’s the premise behind a new data literacy program, launching this fall at Anne Arundel Community College. “It’s typical for a team to come to a meeting with beautiful Excel charts, graphs and tables, but what’s missing are the skills to interpret the story behind the data,” says Gretchen Mester, Ph.D., professor and chair, department of economics.

Designed for people in managerial positions, the certificate program helps students apply findings to improve decision-making. “Students become literate in reading understanding and using data,” says Mester.

“They learn how to ask the right questions to illustrate the story,” she says. “Why did this happen? How did it get this way? What went into the number?” Students learn to discern relevant variables and consider factors affecting an upward or downward trend. For example, when considering college enrollment numbers, one might interpret data with an eye toward understanding economic factors affecting enrollment.

“Any industry can use data literacy skills,” she says. “While we know how to gather data and generate graphs, we need to know how to read and interpret to create more value.” The 18-credit certificate program includes business statistics and a capstone course, which invites students to apply data literacy skills to a real-world example in their workplace or industry.

“The goal of this program is to help students become more useful in their current positions and create opportunitiesfor advancement.” •