#IAMHU: W. Randolph Ford, Professor of Analytics

With two patents under his belt and a variety of expertise in everything from data analysis to language processing, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology welcomed Dr. W. Randolph Ford as Professor of Analytics in May 2015.

Dr. Ford comes to Pennsylvania’s capital after working as the Director and Professor for the Data Analytics Program at University of Maryland University College. Prior to that, Dr. Ford worked as the Chair of the Computer Science Department at Hood College and as President of their faculty.

He also has a wide range of experience outside of academia. Dr. Ford held C-level positions at six different companies and has two patents – one on the Natural Language Processor and another for Multi-Stage Pattern Reduction for Natural Language Processing.

Dr. Ford earned his Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence, along with a master’s and bachelor’s, from Johns Hopkins University.

“Rand is a rarity, an entrepreneurial academic, who greatly strengthens the University’s analytics programs,” said Dr. Eric Darr, President of Harrisburg University. “He brings world-class technical experience, teaching experience as well as networks and business opportunities that can greatly expand the University’s offerings.”

Dr. Ford said it was nearly impossible for him not to notice the great things that Harrisburg University was doing. He paid attention to what was happening with the university under the leadership of President Darr and realized he wanted to become a part of what Harrisburg University had to offer.

“I found a place where my energy could fit in and be put to use,” Dr. Ford said.

Dr. Ford sees analytics as an “explosive field” that has more than 150,000 jobs throughout the nation that are left vacant because of a shortage of applicants. About 80 percent of analytics is unstructured data analysis, Dr. Ford said, and most programs don’t touch on that aspect.

Dr. Ford hopes that through his expertise and collaboration with other faculty at Harrisburg University that the analytics program can be a leading program five years from now.

“I think Harrisburg University is wide open to that idea because it’s a school that wants to be standing where the future is coming,” Dr. Ford said.

While Dr. Ford is excited to dive into teaching, he’s also impressed with the faculty he’ll have the chance to work with at Harrisburg University.  He even went out of his way to attend the most recent commencement just so he could be surrounded by people filled with motivation, he said.

“I think Harrisburg University is attracting engaged, hard working faculty who want to achieve great things,” Dr. Ford said. “I’m excited to say I’m one of them.”