MALVERN, Pa. -- Penn State Great Valley is expanding its reach in the data analytics world by joining the Qlik Academic Program -- a partnership that includes a software donation of the state-of-the-art data analytics platform Qlik Sense. The total value of services Qlik is providing is $287,240, including about $4,000 of software and training per student.
“We certainly appreciate Qlik’s generosity, which will provide long-term benefits to our campus and, in particular, our students,” said James Nemes, chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Great Valley. “In addition to exposure to Qlik’s software, our students will have the opportunity to engage with an industry leader in data analytics and visualization tools.”
Penn State Great Valley’s relationship with Qlik began about a year ago. After an initial informational meeting, Qlik began connecting with faculty and students to learn more about their work. Given the interdisciplinary nature of Penn State Great Valley programs, Qlik Sense provided an opportunity for students.
“We have participants in the program from pretty much every discipline,” said Jennifer Danckaert, senior manager, academic program at Qlik. “Nearly every business deals with large amounts of data and, as graduates enter the workplace, having the skills to read, write and communicate with data in context will be key.”
Students at any Penn State campus can apply to the Qlik Academic Program. Once approved, they have full year access to the Qlik Sense software, which uses Qlik’s Associative Engine to allow users to explore information freely by recalculating analytics and highlighting data relationships.
Free training, including videos and activities, are also included in students’ access to the Qlik Academic Program.
Since data visualization is a key aspect of many programs at Penn State Great Valley, the engineering department is planning to implement Qlik Sense into the Data Visualization course offered in the spring 2021 semester. The department also hopes to add Qlik Sense to the online version of the course.
“In our data analytics program, we teach students how to visualize data,” said Raghu Sangwan, associate professor of software engineering. “Everybody is interested in getting insights and this tool pulls in and guides you through creating a visual dashboard that quickly allows you to explore your data. Penn State students are grateful for the opportunity to have access to data visualization tools from an industry leader in analytics and business intelligence platforms.”
Qlik Sense and access to the Qlik Academic Program doesn’t benefit only students; Penn State Great Valley professors are using the software in two research projects in the campus’ Big Data Lab, which uses data science and artificial intelligence to analyze data, identify trends, and develop predictive models to solve real-world problems. One project focuses on the impact social distancing policies have had in different states during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to medical data, the project also uses data from social media to analyze users’ sentiments and emotions around social distancing.
The Big Data Lab is also using Qlik Sense to predict the results of the 2020 presidential election based on users’ sentiments, emotions, and conversations on social media. The Qlik Sense dashboard provides in-depth data on national and state levels.
Penn State Great Valley’s partnership with Qlik provides more than the full software license and training. The Qlik Academic Program also offers students an opportunity to earn Qlik Sense qualifications which demonstrate fundamental knowledge and applied skills in business analysis and data architecture. Students also have access to the Qlik Data Literacy Program and can earn a Data Literacy Certification.
“Our mission is to create a data literate world one student at a time, and that’s how we’re doing it,” Danckaert said. “I know from the students I’ve spoken with, [the qualification] gives them a leg up on their résumés. It gives them the opportunity to stand out from their peers, their competitors, for positions, whether applying for internships or jobs.”
Qlik also hosts webinars in the fall and spring semesters, including “Sustainability, AI, and the Greater Good” on Oct. 23. Click here for more information and to register.
This gift will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.