Dean's Update - January 2012
MSIT RANKED AMONG BEST ONLINE PROGRAMS BY US NEWS
US News has long ranked universities along a number of dimensions. However, they
have primarily restricted themselves to brick-and-mortar institutions and programs.
However, it recently changed this and it evaluated a series of online programs, including
undergraduate programs, and graduate programs in business, computer information technology,
education, and nursing. Since this is the first year US News has done this, they
decided not to rank programs overall, but instead to publish scoring tables on each
of four criteria, namely
- Admissions selectivity,
- Faculty credentials and training,
- Student engagement, in the sense of how well faculty engage students, and accreditation,
- Student services and technology.
University administrators are often somewhat dismissive of these rankings as they
disagree with the criteria that US News uses to rank institutions and programs. For
example, admissions selectivity is to a large extent measured by reliance on external
tests, such as GRE, and CSE decided a few years ago to discontinue using the GRE because
we determined that it did not provide us any additional information about applicants.
However, while dismissing rankings in general, university administrators, with a delicate
sense of hypocrisy, typically celebrate a high US News ranking by their institutions
or one of their programs. I am no exception, and I am therefore pleased to announce
that US News ranked our MSIT program as the best in the country on student engagement
and accreditation. The MSIT program also came 17th on student services and technology.
I wanted to congratulate the Department of Information Technology and its faculty,
and in particular Dr Andy Wang, the chair of the department, on this recognition.
CSE STUDENTS COMPLETE IBM MASTER THE MAINFRAME CONTEST
of last year, around 40 students competed in the IBM Master the Mainframe Contest.
The competition was established by IBM about 7 years ago in recognition of the growing
importance of mainframes and the resultant need for a new generation of mainframe
experts. The competition is divided into three parts, with part I being a general
introduction to mainframes, in which students get fairly detailed instructions on
what to do, with part II requiring students to will perform some more extensive systems
programming (advanced commands, system setup and advanced system navigation) and application
developing and part III requiring students to complete tasks taken from real-life
situations encountered by experienced systems programmers. 15 of the 40students completed
part I, and one, Yvan Guiatheu, completed part II. Congratulations to all students
and to Dr Andy Wang, who was the faculty sponsor for this competition team.
As we started our spring semester, we keep growing our enrollments in CSE, both in
absolute and relative terms. We are starting the semester with a total of 1,303 certificate
and degree students, or 23.6% of the total enrollment at SPSU. This is up from 1,133
students in the spring of 2010, when our enrollment was 21.2% of total enrollment
at SPSU. CSE now also boosts the largest graduate program with the MS in Information
Technology and the largest undergraduate program with the BS in Computer Science.
While the growth itself is positive and bodes well for our strategic goal of Increasing
the number of CSE graduates who are well prepared for work and life to better serve
the community, it has also led to some serious logistical problems with course sections
being full. However, CSE faculty have shown a remarkable flexibility in allowing
higher caps on their class sizes and the CSE department chairs have done an outstanding
jobs in creating student-centered schedules and in finding adjuncts where required.
I, and more importantly I am sure, our students greatly appreciate the effort that
all in the CSE are making to help our students get in the classes they need to get
closer to their graduation.
GLOBAL GAME JAM
Continuing a tradition started a couple of years ago, SPSU will again be participating
in the global game jam, which will be held on January 27-39. You may recall that
last year we hosted the first Georgia wide global game jam at SPSU. This year, we
made a few changes. First, the host will be SCAD. Second, SCAD will host two game
jams in Georgia, one in Atlanta and one in Savannah. The fact that the global game
jam will be hosted by another institution is a testament to the ability of our gaming
faculty, Dr Jon Preston and Dr Chastine, to build connections with other gaming programs
in the state. The event, which promises to be another great educational and fun event
for our gaming students, will be sponsored by Eyes Wide Game and Coca-Cola at the
platinum level, by Kaneva and Tripwire interactive at the gold level, and by Hi-Rez
Studios and Songster (Mowgli Games). Although SPSU is not hosting the jam, I know
that both Jon and Jeff have put a lot of effort into making the jam a reality and
our thanks are due to them.
DEAN’S AND MERIT LISTS POSTED
Every semester, the dean’s office generates a Dean’s List and a Merit List. The
Dean’s List contains the names of the undergraduate students who completed 12 credit
hours or more and earned a semester GPA of 3.5 or above, while the Merit List contains
the names of the undergraduate students who completed 9 hours or more and earned a
semester GPA of 3.5 or more. While we post the lists outside the Dean’s Office, I
realized that we should do more to celebrate the success of these students. We therefore
now also post the lists on our web site athttp://spsu.edu/schoolcse/csecurrentstudents/deanlist.htm
SPSU ESTABLISHES SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
recall that the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved SPSU
to offer programs in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering in August
of 2009. These programs were intended to broaden the range of engineering programs
available at SPSU and added to the engineering programs that SPSU has already been
approved for, namely construction, mechanotrics, software, and systems engineering.
SPSU has now built on this and recently established a separate School of Engineering,
with Tom Currin as its inaugural dean. The new School will house all SPSU’s engineering
programs, with the exception of software engineering, which will remain in CSE. The
establishment of the School of Engineering is an obvious next step in the maturation
of engineering programs at SPSU and Dean Currin and his faculty deserve our congratulations
for this important milestone.