Michael Rappa is the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics and a member of the faculty in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. As head of the Institute, he leads the nation’s first Master of Science in Analytics as its principal architect. Before joining NC State as Distinguished University Professor in 1998, for nine years he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Appointed the inaugural Goodnight Director in 2015, his current position is endowed and named in honor of the University’s distinguished alumnus and prominent American business leader Dr. James Goodnight.
Dr. Rappa has over 25 years of experience working across academic disciplines at the nexus between management and computing. An accomplished researcher and instructor, his passion is to bring an entrepreneurial and forward-thinking mindset to innovation in higher learning. His current role is to prepare a new generation of data savvy professionals for leadership in a digital world. Since launching the Institute in 2006, the Master of Science in Analytics has quickly become one of the largest and most selective degree programs on campus, and his students among the most sought-after and highly compensated graduates of the university. Today master’s degrees in analytics are a common fixture in graduate schools across the country, as other universities seek to emulate the Institute’s success.
A study published in 2006 in the British journal R&D Management identified Rappa as a leading scholar in the field of technology management, ranking him in the 99th percentile among 9,000 authors in terms of research productivity in top journals over a period of 50 years. His work has garnered honorable mentions on three occasions as outstanding contributions to the field, and his early influential writing on Internet business models continues to be widely read and frequently cited.
Earlier in his career Rappa was perhaps best known as creator of Managing the Digital Enterprise, an award-winning Web site devoted to the study of management in the digital world. Begun in 1999, originally for a course he taught, the site was adopted by hundreds of instructors and reached millions of learners around the world—a precursor to massive open online courses (or MOOCs) a decade later. An early and vocal advocate for open courseware, he formed the Open Courseware Lab to promote openly accessible educational resources on the Web. It was there Rappa and his students created OpenSeminar, an innovative open source platform for hosting collaborative courseware. In 2010, Rappa presided as General Co-chair at the 19th International World Wide Web Conference, the premiere annual gathering of the Web research community. He co-chaired TechAmerica Foundation’s Big Data Commission in 2013, and was elected to the Board of Directors of the Digital Analytics Association in 2014.
Rappa has been recognized several times for his contributions to teaching, research and service to the community. He is a recipient of the Award for Graduate Teaching Excellence, the Outstanding Extension Service Award, and the Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology. He is also winner of the MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning; a four-time recipient of IBM Faculty Research Awards; and was twice named a finalist for the Epton Prize by the editors of R&D Management.
Rappa graduated with honors from Union College and soon thereafter began his teaching career at the University of Minnesota, where he earned a doctorate in 1987. He subsequently moved from Minneapolis to Cambridge after accepting an invitation to join the faculty in the Sloan School at MIT.
In the News
10/22/2014 – Keynote Address at the Analytics Conference (video)
04/22/2014 – Director Elected to Association Board
11/15/2013 – Director speaks at MIT Big Data Conference
10/29/2013 – Director speaks at SUNY Big Data Conference (video)
08/26/2013 – InformationWeek’s Big Data Profile: Michael Rappa
07/17/2013 – Director Delivers Keynote Lecture MIT Gathering (video)
05/03/2013 – Director Speaks at White House Event
04/24/2013 – Director Testifies at Congressional Hearing (video)
04/11/2013 – Data Science: The Numbers of Our Lives
02/06/2013 – Director Speaks at NIH Symposium (video)
10/24/2012 – Q&A: What’s needed to get a big data job?
10/08/2012 – Big Data Commission Releases Final Report (video)
06/07/2012 – Director named to Big Data Commission
06/04/2012 – Could Data Scientist Be Your Next Job?
03/28/2012 – Science of Security Lablet Established
03/10/2012 – What is a Data Scientist? Forbes Interview
11/16/2011 – Educating Analytics Practioners, INFORMS (video)
10/17/2011 – Director serves on analytics expert panel
10/07/2011 – Surviving and thriving in the new data reality (video)
09/15/2011 – Science of Better Podcast, INFORMS (video)