School of Computing and Software Engineering

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Fall 2012 Progress Report

In 2010, CSE revised its strategic plan.  The revised plan has five goals, namely
  1. Increase the number of CSE graduates who are well prepared for work and life to better serve the community;
  2. Increase the awareness of computing and its highly dynamic nature among the other disciplines;
  3. Increase the visibility of CSE in the community;
  4. Recognizing the highly dynamic nature of computing, secure additional resources to help CSE achieve its mission;
  5. Encourage faculty and student research into all aspects of computing and its applications.

There is more detailed information on the progress towards each goal on the goal specific pages, but it might be useful to provide a high level overview of progress towards the realization of these goals.

In general, progress with respect to goals 3, 4 and 5 has been reasonable.  CSE faculty continue to be active in various professional organizations, including ABET CAC, ASEE and the Georgia Game Development Association.  CSE faculty is also continuing their involvement in various outreach activities, including the Science Olympiad, and the Games for Learning Project.

CSE is also seeing a steady growth in the resources available to help it achieve its mission.  The growth in resources is due to successful grant applications, donations of equipment and software, increased tuition income, a slice of which finds its way into the CSE budget, increased sponsorship for our various events, including the Game Jam, our graduation receptions, and other social events, and increased alumni donations.  At the same time, our increased enrollments (see below) requires us to further increase the funds available to us, and we will therefore improve our fund raising efforts, especially among alumni.

CSE faculty also continue to be among the most active in SPSU when it comes to research and peer-reviewed publications.  In the previous academic year, CSE faculty published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, many of them with students.

There has also been some progress with respect to goal 2.  CSE faculty continue to establish good working relationship with faculty from other schools at SPSU, and in the process help raise awareness of the unique contributions computing can make to the other disciplines.

Progress towards goal 1 has been mixed.  On the positive side, CSE continues to see significant increases in enrollment.  For fall 2012, we will have around 1,500 degree seeking students up 20% from our fall 2011 enrollment, which itself was a 20% increase over fall 2010.  Moreover, we are seeing significant increases across all our programs.  We also continue to ensure the quality of our programs, and we are convinced that the graduate we produce have the knowledge and skills that they need to be successful.

However, there are areas in which we are doing less well.  First, while we have seen significant increases in enrollment, the number of graduates we produce has not increased.  Given that the goal is to increase graduates, not students, this is worrisome.

It may of course be the case that the lag can be explained completely by the fact that students do not become graduates overnight.  Even when students come in as transfer students, they take at least a couple of years to complete their program of study.  Moreover, we are seeing some encouraging sign at the graduate level: 75% of our incoming MSCS and MSIT students eventually obtain a degree from SPSU, and our retention in the MSSWE program is improving as well, and we can therefore expect a significant growth in the number of graduates from that program.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the news at the undergraduate level is not so encouraging.  Even in our most successful program, the BSIT, only 50% of our incoming students leave this institution with a degree.  While it is impossible to say how many of the students who leave SPSU obtain a degree from elsewhere, there clearly are issues here that we need to address.

One of the ways in which we do this is through a more careful monitoring of our course success rates, which we started last fall.  We will also implement more intrusive advising policies which will allow us to intervene with students whose academic progress is not satisfactory earlier on.

A second issue that is worrisome is the diversity of our student population.  While our ethnic make-up of our student population is getting closer to reflecting the ethnic make-up of the population in our catchment area, our gender diversity is highly problematic.  Overall, just over 14% of our undergraduate students are female (with female enrollment in some of our programs being below 10%) and while just over 32% of our graduate students are female.  Clearly, we need to address this gender imbalance and we are working on a more strategic approach.