Curtin Uni professor named inaugural chair of UNESCO data science branch


Professor David Gibson.
Professor David Gibson.

PROFESSOR David Gibson, a director of learning futures at Curtin University, has been named the inaugural chair for data science in higher education, teaching and learning at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The appointment at the peace and education-centred organisation is the second among Curtin staff, and Prof Gibson will join Erik Champion from the school of media, culture and the arts who sits as professorial chair in cultural heritage and visualisation for the organisation.

Prof Gibson said he was honoured to accept the UNESCO position.

“I look forward to the challenge of improving the access and effectiveness of education for lifelong learning, globally,” he said.

“With Curtin’s support, we hope to unearth new knowledge and ideas in data science that help to transform higher education learning and teaching.”

Curtin is the only Western Australian university to partner with edX, the non-profit online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT and instrumental in laying the foundations for the position.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry congratulated Prof Gibson on his appointment, adding it reinforced the University’s profile and position on the global stage.

“The prestigious appointment further supports Curtin’s research-intensive culture and capacity to share scientific advances with the world,” Professor Terry said.

“It also links in with our data science focus and capabilities; to solve real world problems in education to benefit future students.”

What is UNESCO?

In 1945, UNESCO was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace.

The organisation says peace must be established based on humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.

UNESCO is known as the intellectual agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism.