The Harper Lecture series is offered to the University community across the country and around the world by the University of Chicago Alumni Association. Named for the University's first President, William Rainey Harper, the series carries on his vision of broadly accessible and innovative education.
When does having more data equate to having more information? And do the undoubted benefits outweigh the risks? As the world of data changes, the concept of data collection is beginning to lose its meaning. Government agencies and private businesses accumulate volumes of personal information about us at a steadily increasing pace: where we go, what purchases we make, whom we associate with, what we read, how we spend our evenings and weekends, what we do on our vacations. Data from virtually every significant transaction in our lives are stored digitally, ripe for exploitation ... or ready to be put to good use. As we seek more effective solutions to pressing public challenges, we should ask just how the data are being used and just how much should we care. Dean Colm O'Muircheartaigh will explore the public policy implications of the revolution in big data.
Colm A. O'Muircheartaigh is dean of and a professor in the Harris School and a senior fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago. His research encompasses survey sample design, measurement errors in surveys, cognitive aspects of question wording, and latent variable models for nonresponse. He is principal investigator on the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Internet Panel Recruitment Survey and co-principal investigator on NSF's Data Research and Development Center and the National Institute on Aging's National Social Life Health and Aging Project. He is also responsible for the development of methodological innovations in sample design for NORC's face-to-face surveys in the United States.
$20 general admission; $10 recent graduate (College alumni of the past ten years and graduate alumni of the past five years).
Colm O'Muircheartaigh (Speaker)
Dean and Professor, Harris School
Colm A. O'Muircheartaigh is dean and a professor in the Harris School and senior fellow in the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). O'Muircheartaigh's research encompasses survey sample design, measurement errors in surveys, cognitive aspects of question wording, and latent variable models for nonresponse. He is principal investigator on the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Internet Panel Recruitment Survey, and co-principal investigator on NSF's Data Research and Development Center and the National Institute on Aging's National Social Life Health and Aging Project (NSHAP). He is also responsible for the development of methodological innovations in sample design for NORC's face-to-face surveys in the U.S.
He joined the Harris School from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he was the first director of the Methodology Institute, the center for research and training in social science methodology, and a faculty member of the Department of Statistics since 1971. He has also taught at a number of other institutions, having served as a visiting professor at the Universities of Padova, Perugia, Firenze, and Bologna, and, since 1975, has taught at the Summer Institute of the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.
Formerly president of the International Association of Survey Statisticians and a council member of the International Statistical Institute, O'Muircheartaigh is actively involved in these and a number of other professional bodies. He is a member of the U.S. Census Bureau Federal Advisory Committee of Professional Associations (chair of the statistics subcommittee), a member of the Advisory Boards of the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), and a member of the National Academies Panel on Residence Rules for the 2010 Census. He is a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, a fellow of the American Statistical Association, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. He has served as a consultant to a wide range of public and commercial organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands. Through his work with the United Nations (FAO, UNDP, UNESCO), OECD, the Commission of the European Communities, the International Association for Educational Assessment (IEA), and others, O'Muircheartaigh has also worked in China, Myan Mar, Kenya, Lesotho, and Peru.