Allegheny College Introduces New Major in Integrative Informatics

Allegheny College has introduced a new major in integrative informatics beginning in the 2018–19 academic year. The major is designed to help students understand the impact of information, data and technology on society and learn to develop new uses for data analysis.

The integrative informatics major combines coursework in computer science, art, the humanities, and the social and natural sciences. This approach enables students to examine existing and new problems from broad perspectives and apply new technologies in a wide range of disciplines. The integrative informatics major also provides a foundation in the fundamentals of data analytics, computer programming and software innovation.

“Allegheny’s new major in integrative informatics prepares students to develop the technical expertise to analyze ever-growing streams of data and to be able to translate that information into action to address pressing challenges,” said Ron Cole, provost and dean of the college. “Technology is always changing and evolving to meet new needs and anticipate future developments. Our integrative informatics major takes an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems across business, science, the arts and the humanities.”

In the new major, students have opportunities to apply their problem-solving abilities in focus areas that include environment & sustainability, governance & politics, health & society, marketing & enterprise and media & visual production. Students can take courses in electronic art, digital culture, multimedia journalism, quantitative sustainability, physical geology, medical ethics, epidemiology, biostatistics, economics of entrepreneurship, politics and the media, and other fields. Students consult with an adviser to design their coursework in relation to their interests, questions and overall program goals.

Like all majors at Allegheny, the integrative informatics major requires students to complete a Senior Comprehensive Project, an original piece of scholarly work mentored by an Allegheny faculty member. All Allegheny students also declare a minor or a second major from an academic division outside of their major. This curriculum is designed to help students develop big-picture thinking and problem-solving skills.

“We find that today’s students are interested in learning how to make connections between the development of technologies and the important problems facing our society, for example, developing improvements in healthcare, solutions for climate change or strategies for economic development,” Janyl Jumadinova, assistant professor of computer science, said. “The integrative informatics major addresses the growing need for leaders who can drive innovation between technology and the good of society — to positively impact organizations and communities.”

“This program represents a cutting-edge approach,” explained Julie Wilson, associate professor of communication arts. “We believe that our information-driven society needs not only computer scientists but also artists, social theorists and environmentalists — people who can think integratively about the impacts and uses of data.  This major will thus prepare students for exciting and important careers in a diverse range of fields, from health to entertainment to politics and more.”

Visit the integrative informatics website to learn more.