UALR's Information Quality Program Solves Data Dilemmas

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Dec. 20, 2010 12:00 am  

More data is available right this second than ever before in history. That will hold true tomorrow, next month, next year and so on. Determining how much of that information is useful, where to find it and how to organize it can prove vexing even for the largest organizations.

But decisions based on bad data can be very costly.

A relatively new degree course at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock aims to solve that problem. It is one of the only programs of its kind in the world, and some of its graduates have already used their know-how to save millions of dollars for their organizations.

(Click here to read about a company started through UALR's information quality business incubator.)

The information quality graduate program, part of the information science department, was started four years ago with the support of Acxiom Corp., Dean Mary Good of UALR's Donaghey College of Engineering & Information Technology and Richard Wang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Professor John Talburt is the coordinator of the UALR information quality program.

"We worked on the degree proposal in 2005, and then in 2006 we got full approval and launched the program with 24 students in the first cohort of the master's program," Talburt said.

Since then the program has been expanded to include a graduate certificate as well as an information quality track in the new integrated computing Ph.D. program, Talburt said. "We just graduated the first two Ph.D.s in information quality last May, and they are both working for the Arkansas Education Department," he said.

Since the program began, enrollment has grown quickly, with 82 who have either graduated or are currently enrolled, including students in other states and around the world who take classes online.

MIT has offered a professional certificate in information quality, and Wang provided some of the materials MIT had used in its information quality program, which the UALR staff used to create its curriculum.


Acxiom Involvement



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