Journal of the Midwest Association for Information Systems (JMWAIS)


Some US colleges and universities have developed undergraduate and graduate data analytics programs in the past five years, but not all universities appear to have sufficient resources and incentives to venture into this multidisciplinary academic area. The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of schools that have developed data analytics programs. The study utilizes the motivation-ability-opportunity (MAO) theoretical framework to identify factors that increase the likelihood that a university will develop a data analytics program. An analysis of 391 regional master’s universities in the US finds that schools with data analytics programs are more likely to be in larger cities and have larger student enrollments, better educational quality rankings, and an existing statistics and/or actuarial science program. These findings support the idea that data analytics programs are more likely to be created when universities have opportunities to access a larger number of businesses and governmental organizations, and sufficient resources to support program development, while also having abilities associated with innovation and faculty resources. Preliminary results also indicate that there are two motivations – need to increase student enrollment and need to maintain an up-to-date curriculum.




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