Partner Spotlight: University of the Pacific

University of the Pacific is a nationally ranked university with a goal that educates and prepares the leaders of tomorrow through intensive academic study, experiential learning, and service to the community. Pacific’s history in San Francisco began in 1896 with the founding of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, a nationally recognized provider of dental education in San Francisco. University of the Pacific now offers innovative programs in analytics, audiology, food studies and music therapy from the San Francisco campus in the heart ofthe SoMa district. Read more in our spotlight with Rick Hutley, Program Director and Clinical Professor of Analytics.

rick-hutleyHow did you make your way to Pacific and the Master of Science in Analytics program?
My education and career has been based in information technology, especially after working for 28 years at British Telecommunications. While I was there, we were named one of the top 10 Intranet companies by CIO Magazine. At that time, Cisco Systems was also one of the top companies in the world at using the internet to run their business. Cisco asked me to set up their Internet Business Solutions group, where we would provide executive- and senior-level consulting to customers and build a bridge between business speak and technical speak.
Over my 16 years with Cisco, where I retired as the Vice President of Innovation, the Internet shifted to automating processes and transactions. Now we’ve connected people socially and created people-oriented activities, and are moving forward with the Internet of Things. With how the Internet of Things is inextricably linked to data and analytics, Pacific reached out to me to create this program.

What is the Internet of Things?
We all know that our laptops, cell phones, etc. are connected to the Internet but 99% of the things in your life are not your laptop or your phone – they’re the items on your desk, in your home, the pen you’re holding, the book you’re reading. That’s what IoT is all about: giving all of those other things the capability to provide us with data and information, where everything in your life is connected to you and to each other.

sf-campusHow can this help traditional business as well as people in their everyday lives?
For businesses, we can tap into real time data and perform detailed, sophisticated analytics like machine learning and predictive analysis, where we can teach computers how to recognize patterns and make decisions to help with everything from sales to engineering to maintenance.
Many companies don’t really know how to deal with this data and the ethical issues it may pose. But I believe that people predominantly want to use it for good. For example, cities can use it to get insight into things like where people are sleeping on the streets at night, and use those patterns to determine safer, more effective solutions. We can install technologies like smart streetlights that provide a wifi network and turn on automatically rather than staying on for 24 hours saving money and providing increased public services. We can implement sensors that detect anomalies such as crowds gathering or a concentration of crimes and use that data for smart policing. So it’s important for data analysts to work with companies or government agencies to determine solutions that meet real needs in the most effective manner.
In addition to our graduate program, we offer a workshop series for executives and leaders on the management issues surrounding big data and analytics. We cover critical business issues such as how to build, motivate, and retain an analytic team. Data is a critical business asset and is so important that it has to be managed properly. Through our MS in Analytics and our Executive/Leadership workshops, we are able to develop both a company’s business leaders and their analytics team to take advantage of the emerging data era.

Why was San Francisco the best campus for the analytics program?
Pacific is a regional university that spans across three campuses – Stockton, Sacramento, and San Francisco – and we brought this program first to San Francisco, where the data needs were explosive given the longstanding reputation as the hub of technology and innovation. As the world shifts from the technology era into the data and analytics era, we are working to build an educated workforce locally so San Francisco will remain a place for analytic innovation.
Because Pacific is regional, we can draw upon the expertise of faculty across all three of our campuses to create a truly interprofessional learning experience. Using analytics just as one example, we can bring in colleagues from the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento when studying ethics and law. When we build computer systems, we work heavily with the computer science programs at the main campus in Stockton. And in San Francisco, the health science programs here, especially the Dugoni School of Dentistry, have huge amounts of data on their patients, and we can use that data to make it easier to serve patients effectively. Pacific has the distinct advantage of experience in creating relevant undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs and tailoring them to serve market needs. In fact, the highly successful Master of Analytics program—which will graduate its first cohort of students in December—will launch at our Sacramento campus in January.