Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Shikhar Acharya, UNT Dallas

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Faculty Spotlight: Shikhar Acharya, UNT Dallas


For students, Dr. Shikhar Acharya is the kind of educator who inspires – according to a past student on RateMyProfessor.com. "The professor teaches the class very well and will pause if someone has questions or gets lost. This allows for students to learn together ... He made a hard subject easy." As a researcher, he has been involved with numerous articles, papers, and citations. Dr. Acharya's primary responsibility is to teach quantitative and analytics courses to business students and conduct research. He is also focused on improving the analytics curriculum by designing new courses and updating existing ones. Dr. Acharya has just completed his first year at UNT Dallas School of Business. Regarding the future, there's a lot more that he plans to accomplish and investigate.




What is your favorite aspect of your job?

I enjoy teaching and every aspect that comes with it such as going to the classroom (online and in-person), interacting with students, explaining new concepts, answering their questions, listening to their perspectives, etcetera. This is why I chose to work in academia.


What led you to your particular field of study/expertise?

Analytics is about applying various visualization, statistical, and machine learning techniques to find valuable insights from data and use it to make better decisions. The beauty of analytics is that it can be applied to any field. I have applied the same algorithm to detect weak electromagnetic signals emitted from malicious devices, analyze traffic flow curves, and predict the number of customers in a fast-food restaurant. Being able to work on interesting problems in many fields attracted me to analytics. 


You have written a lot about predictive analytics, applied machine learning, and data science, as well as those works used as citations in other papers. Your research has helped elevate UNT as a Tier 1 research university. Can you explain what your recent grant on the ‘A Comparative Socioeconomic Analysis of Surrounding Area of UNT Dallas Community’ project will achieve?

This research will study the variation in socioeconomic factors in the communities surrounding UNT Dallas. It will provide a granular understanding of the 13 zip codes surrounding the university area, helping UNT Dallas and The Center for Socioeconomic Mobility Through Education (CSME) formulate specifically targeted policies and programs for improving mobility through education. 


Also, what do you see next as the most exciting areas regarding the School of Business (in your field of business analytics) for the present and future?

Analytics is a growing field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 31% growth in this area through 2030. We also need business graduates who are data literate regardless of their majors. So, I see a growing student interest in analytics major and maybe other majors pursuing a minor in this field.   


What is your proudest work moment?

Towards the end of the semester, a few students either visit my office in person or email me saying that they enjoyed my course and learned a lot. I consider these as my greatest achievements, and that makes everything I do worth it. 


What is your proudest non-work moment?

All the achievements of my daughter that made her happy.


What is a fact about you that may surprise your colleagues?

I used to be an amateur astrologist during my undergraduate days.



Book?: Everybody Lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is the most interesting big data-related book I’ve read. It uses big data to expose the dark hidden truth about ourselves as an individual and the society as a whole.

Movie?: Pulp Fiction. Watching it for the first time was an enthralling movie experience.

TV Show?: Seinfeld. I still play a random episode once in a while.