Director’s Chair: June 2021

A headshot of an old white man with white hair on the sides of his head wearing glasses, a black suit jacket, and a blue and white checkered shirt on the Director's Chair announcement.

WELL, HERE WE are, on the cusp of getting back to “normal.” Except that the post-pandemic normal is nothing like the good old pre-pandemic normal that we used to know and love. Doing business has changed. How we work has changed. And between in-class, hybrid, and remote, going to school is now like eating lunch at a cafeteria: a little of this, a sample of that, a dollop of the other. We are officially in a shaking out period, one that will no doubt last for quite a while. That’s the new normal.

This is on my mind because at ACDS we spend a lot of our time working with educators, in both secondary and higher ed, as well as with our state’s students, who are the prime audience for our message about becoming prepared for 21st century tech careers. One of our most important initiatives, which continued to gain momentum even during the pandemic, is working with our educational partners to establish a unified data science curriculum in all Arkansas two- and four-year colleges. This is a program called DART, which stands for Data Analytics that is Robust and Trusted. It’s a five-year grant funded by the National Science Foundation, with some matching funds from the state.

The goal is to make sure that all Arkansas students, no matter where they live, can have a data science education available to them. And if they want it served up to them cafeteria style, we’ll be happy to oblige. The meal is the thing, not the method by which they receive it.

–Bill Yoder,

Executive Director