American Family Insurance announced the creation of the David R. Anderson chair to direct the American Family Insurance Data Science Institute at the University of Wisconsin, according to UW News.
UW Professor Brian Yandell, current director of the DSI, will fill the position.
Yandell said the creation of this position helped honor the contributions made by Anderson to American Family Insurance, such as the partnership he created between the company and UW.
According to UW News, Anderson graduated from UW with a bachelor of science degree in finance/marketing and an MBA.
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According to the DSI website, the institute started in July 2019 and focuses on conducting cutting-edge research in data science and promoting collaboration among researchers across campus and beyond.
American Family Insurance announced its investment in data science initiatives at UW in April last year. Ten million dollars were invested to support research efforts in the field over the next 10 years, and another ten million was endowed to start DSI, UW News said.
Yandell said part of the funds were used to establish the Data Science Hub located in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. There are also Data Science Facilitators available at the hub whom researchers can consult with.
“The philosophy is that we help people learn how to fish. We don’t go and collect the fish without people, they learn how to use the fishing tools themselves,” Yandell said.
UW News said university-industry collaboration benefits both sides — students gain access to world-class faculty and companies can higher talented students.
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According to UW News, UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank said American Family Insurance has always taken initiatives to help promote collaboration with the university.
“Our relationship with American Family Insurance is a real model for successful university-industry collaboration. Every time there’s been an opportunity to work together, American Family has been ready to jump in, from offering new career experiences for students and working with us on programs like SuccessWorks and UniverCity, to launching the Data Science Institute,” Blank said.