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Justifications: Expansion Position in Computer Science

It boils down to answering these questions (where the text following supports one or more question):

  1. Is it possible to adequately support the GenEd program (G2 and G5Q) in a program of 2 FTE?
  2. Is it possible to maintain recent growth in the major (accomplished with 3 FTE) in a program of 2 FTE?
  3. Is it possible to adequately support colleagues who use computation in their disciplines, and their students?
  4. Is it

At current staffing levels, we are unable to consistently fulfill the mission of the General Education requirements, especially for non-math, non-science majors. The course CSci 157 - Introduction to Programming and Modeling, is offered every semester. This course is our entry into the Computer Science major and minor, and while it is taught at a level appropriate for students of any discipline (as successful students who went on to major in economics, art, music, philosophy, and theatre can attest), it can be daunting for those whose math and science background is weak. Such students might better be served by CSci 101 - Introduction to Computer Science. When this course is offered, it is generally full, and the last time we were able to offer 2 sections, both were full or nearly so. However we cannot offer one section of the course even annually without outside help.

Maintaining our entry-level course is costly in another way. In common with lab science courses, CSci 157 has a full lecture component and a 3-hour lab section that counts as 2 FTE against the instructor. With a 3-2 teaching load, that leaves us with 6 courses between us each academic year in a major that requires 9 courses in the discipline.

It is important to understand that even with Linda Lankewicz' return to teaching full-time for 3 years before her retirement, we only had a full 3 FTE for two non-consecutive semesters due to sabbaticals. Professor Dale was not replaced during her full year sabbatical by the administration, though they did see fit to offer a non-CS contingent faculty member 2 sections one semester to help cover our CSci 101 course.

This also limits how we can support other programs, particularly the sciences but also the arts. I have had personal communication with Chris van de Ven and Russell Fielding about the utility of our courses to students in environmental science. One such course is the newly created CSci 286 - Geolocation and Mapping. The other would be a version of our CSci 101 course taught with data science (of the sort used by Landscape Analysis and other environmental sciences) in mind. However this course cannot be taught often enough to be helpful to all such students.

CSci 284 is an elective in the business minor. CSci 276 - Multimedia Programming and Design is one prerequisite for Art 273 and one year was a component of a novel, multi-disciplinary course project between Art 251 and Music 214. It also satifies learning objective G2. CSci 356 - Artificial Intelligence is an elective in Neuroscience.

Here's an interesting point: students are less comfortable with basic computer commands and editing functionality (across all platforms) than in prior years (to the point we started taking it for granted), likely due to increased use of mobile computing devices (with “gestures”) and less use of desktop/laptop computers. THIS HAS IMPLICATIONS (but what?)

cs_expansion.txt · Last modified: 2016/05/11 17:54 by scarl