2017 SPS Symposium for Online Programs

Join us October 5, 6, and 7

This annual event is the primary opportunity for students and alumni across SPS online graduate programs to visit campus for a weekend of events.  The timing of the event corresponds with Northwestern Reunion Weekend and serves as an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to meet, attend academic sessions with exciting speakers, and experience campus and the City of Chicago.


Welcome Reception & Keynote

Thursday, October 5, 2017
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. - Chicago Campus, Wieboldt Hall, 5th Floor (339 East Chicago Ave.)

The welcome to the event will be given by Thomas F. Gibbons, the Dean of SPS. The keynote speaker for the 2017 SPS Symposium is Ken Fuchs, CEO, STATS. He will be introduced by Soo La Kim, Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs at SPS. The event is a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

Keynote Speaker Bio: Ken Fuchs joined STATS in 2015 from Yahoo! Inc. where he served in various product and media leadership roles including oversight of Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Entertainment and strategic product partnerships. He brought an extensive background in sports technology and digital media to STATS and has particularly deep domain experience in fantasy sports and analytics. Prior to Yahoo Ken held senior digital leadership positions at News Corp. and Time Inc. Ken holds a Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University.

2017 Symposium Conference

Friday, October 6, 2017
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Chicago Campus, Wieboldt Hall, 5th Floor (339 East Chicago Ave.)

Program sessions will include presentations on industry trends and topics by faculty, alumni, and staff from Predictive Analytics, Information Systems, Information Design & Strategy, Health Informatics, Sports Administration, Public Policy & Administration, and the Northwestern University Library. A continental breakfast begins at 8 a.m., with program sessions beginning at 9 a.m. Below is a sampling of current panel topics and titles, with relevant speakers:

From Machine Learning to Artificial Intelligence - Tom Miller, Predictive Analytics Faculty Director
The way we talk about modeling and analytics has changed over the years. We went from statistics to data mining, and from data mining to machine learning. Neural networks, once faulted as "black box models," are now touted as "deep learning." Meanwhile, the popular press is awash in talk about the promise and threat of artificial intelligence. Why do we keep changing the way we talk about data-adaptive models? How is today's artificial intelligence different from the artificial intelligence of the 1980s or 1990s? And how do recent developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence affect to work of data scientists?

The Community Organizing Model of Organizational Leadership: A Value- and Power-based Model - MPPA Alumna Rachel Ramirez
The field of community organizing has an over 100-year history of winning concrete improvements in the lives of everyday people through applied constituent power in democratic political systems, yet the leadership practices of organizers are not adequately described in the academic fields of public policy and organizational studies. This presentation will explore the first known model of organizational leadership based on community organizing practices, which is useful to leaders more broadly who want to improve the diversity, creativity and public efficacy of their organizations. Special guests will include experienced community organizers who contributed their knowledge in the creation of the community organizing model of leadership.

Dynamic Pricing - MSPA Alumnus David Duncombe, Global Pricing & Trade investment Director for Kimberly Clark
Working on pricing a new analytics product or service? Starting a new analytics consulting business and wondering what to charge for your services? Assisting your company or clients in setting prices? David will cover leveraging analytics to align pricing strategy to business objectives, size the market place, determine your price/value relationship compared to competitors, and develop pricing scenarios to help guide your product/service launch.

Moving Beyond Self-Service Reporting to Data Democratization - Panel led by Marianne Seiler, MSPA Faculty Member
Hear what firms have done to move beyond self-service BI/analytics to data democratization.  Learn how companies are designing and delivering data democratization to their employees, partners and/or customers. Listen to their journeys to data democratization and key lessons obtained.

165 Years in 30 Minutes: A History of Northwestern University - Janet Olson, Assistant University Archivist
This session provides a succinct account of the founding of Northwestern University, its development, and present status as one of the premier research institutions in the United States.

Consumer Informatics and Patient Experience - Imran Khan, Health Informatics Faculty
Khan explores how in today's digital era, information plays a significant role in consumer decision making. With HITECH and the Affordable Care Act, technology and data have transformed the way we deliver patient care today.  Patient Experience is a critical step towards achieving the healthcare triple aim.  This session focuses on the rise of consumerism in healthcare and the critical role of technology and information in providing great experience to our patients and caregivers.

High Octane Research - Panel with NU Librarians Tracy Coyne and Qiana Johnson, and Krissy Wilson, SPS Learning Designer
This session helps you discover and utilize the best tools in Northwestern’s library system to conduct high-level research.

Homecoming Breakfast and Football Game

Saturday, October 7, 2017
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. - Evanston Campus, SPS Mansion (405 Church St.)

The final day of the SPS Symposium will take place on the Evanston campus, during the spirited festivities of Reunion Weekend (“Homecoming”).  Students and guests are invited to attend a breakfast with fellow SPS students, faculty, alumni and staff in Evanston. Following breakfast, attendees have the option to cheer on the Wildcats at the Northwestern vs. Penn State Homecoming Football Game. 

If you submit an RSVP and indicate a willingness to attend the game, you will be contacted about how to purchase tickets (60 reserved, limit 2 per student, $57 each, “sideline” seats on west side of Ryan Field located near the 20-25 yard line).

RSVP for Event

You can choose to attend any or the events.

RSVP here

If you have any questions, please email spsstudentservices@northwestern.edu for assistance.

Transportation & Locations

Map Links
Northwestern Interactive Maps
Chicago Campus Printable Map
Evanston Campus Printable Map
Ryan Field Parking Information
Ryan Field Stadium Printable Map

Chicago Thursday evening parking:
$7.50 Validated Rate is available between 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in either the Huron Superior (222 E. Huron Street) or Erie Ontario (321 E. Erie Street) Parking Lots. Tickets must be validated in Wieboldt Hall.

Chicago Friday day-time parking:
$42 for 4 to 24 hours, or $15 for the Early Bird Special (in between 5 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., out by 7:30 p.m.) in the Erie Ontario lot (321 E. Erie Street). Other streeterville parking lots are available for public parking, many with early bird rates.

Evanston Saturday game day parking:
Free football game day parking is available in all main campus parking lots, excluding Ryan Field lots.

Public Transit
The city of Chicago offers a number of public transportation options to the Northwestern campuses.  Click here to review public transportation routes to the Chicago and Evanston campuses

Northwestern University offers the following shuttles, free of charge for all students once they present their WildCARD: