In 2021, Pepperdine University received a $10 million grant from the WM Keck Foundation to strengthen Seaver College’s data science and artificial intelligence research and teaching. Following this acquisition, the Keck Institute for Information Science was established on campus to provide students and faculty with opportunities to learn and communicate about the fastest-growing fields of study.
“[The Keck Data Science Institute] It allows us to be more connected to the world we live in and to be more ready to create positive change,” said Institute Director, Professor Fabien Scalzo. “What we want is for the next generation to be able to contribute to the good of society.”
As a result of the Keck grant, Seaver College launched a minor in data science that emphasizes ethics and introduces students to the discipline. In 2022, the institute received its first students.
“AI is changing our world. Every time you pick up your phone or go online, everything you do is recorded in some way,” explains Scalzo. “What we want to do here is a human-centered approach that puts ethics at the forefront. [eventually]If we don’t create these values, we risk neglecting them.” Through this approach, Scalzo and his Keck Information Science Institute team plan to strengthen collaboration between faculty from different disciplines, thereby creating new opportunities for Seaver College students.
The Institute also supports teacher research. Scalzo believes that data science will deepen into every academic discipline as it examines various data trends and considers the amount of real data. More than 35 faculty from different Seaver College programs have already signed up to work with the institute and its programs.
The Keck Institute for Information Science adds to Seaver College’s vibrant academic culture by hosting the Human Centered Artificial Intelligence Conference, which brings together diverse perspectives on the topic from Caltech, USC, UCLA, and MBZUAI. This new addition to the university will help keep Pepperdine at the forefront of this growing industry.
To learn more about the Keck Data Science Institute, visit new web page.