Computer Science (CSC)

The Computer Science Department offers BA and BS degrees in Computer Science and a minor in Computer Science.

Educational Goal

The goals of the Computer Science undergraduate programs are to provide coursework and other opportunities that will produce broadly educated majors and minors who are capable of adapting to new intellectual challenges and emerging technologies and who are proficient at algorithmic problem solving and critical analysis. In the context of the liberal arts tradition, we seek to enrich and broaden the education of all students by offering introductory courses that expose students to the technology that underlies computer systems and algorithmic problem solving and that encourage them to grapple with some of the ethical issues raised by information technology.

Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BS in Computer Science.

By the time of graduation our students will be able to:

  1. Effectively apply computer programming languages, programming paradigms and design patterns, operating systems, networks, software development tools, and computer organization concepts to the design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of computer-based systems.
  2. Analyze problem requirements, design software that satisfies the requirements, and implement that software.
  3. Design algorithms using a variety of language and computing paradigms.
  4. Design and implement data structures appropriate for individual problem solutions.
  5. Analyze algorithms in terms of correctness as well as time and space complexity.
  6. Anticipate complexities and challenges in the development of large software systems.
  7. Effectively communicate computing related concepts, both verbally and in writing.
  8. Evaluate and discuss the legal, social, and ethical aspects of significant events that arise in the computing industry.
  9. Collaborate effectively in small teams.

Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BA in Computer Science

By the time of graduation, our students will be able to:

  1. Effectively design and implement computer based systems in a domain complementary to computer science.
  2. Apply computing skills, computer programming languages, design patterns, operating systems, networks, and software development tools for problem solving.
  3. Analyze problem requirements, design software that satisfies the requirements, and implement that software.
  4. Design and implement data structures appropriate for individual problem solutions.
  5. Evaluate and discuss the legal, social, and ethical aspects of significant events that arise in the computing industry.
  6. Collaborate effectively in small teams.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Currently, learning outcomes are assessed individually in each class, through appropriate measures stated in the course syllabi. The department is currently reviewing courses in the major, and will complete 200-level courses this year. The departmental curriculum commitment is responsible for this review, which includes course assessment criteria.

All courses include a student survey near the end of the course. This is currently accomplished via a paper survey including fixed questions that allow the student to rank specific areas as well as open-ended questions. The department will implement an online survey this semester.

Assessment is also conducted via exit interviews with graduating seniors (including majors and minors) and by exit surveys for these same students. The results of both are compiled and submitted to the chair. These are in turn presented to the faculty. In addition to graduating seniors, surveys are distributed to graduates on their fifth year following graduating. As part of our curriculum evaluation, we will be updating process and making more use of online surveys. Questions in the interview and on the survey cover: teaching, the overall curriculum, advising, out-of-class activities, and overall experience in the department and the university. Students are also asked about ideas for improvement and change. Using both the face-to-face interview and the anonymous survey, students are given the opportunity to discuss their experience and to provide candid comments.

In a less formal way, the department hosts a seminar series for students and faculty that brings back a number of graduates each year who are working in the field. This provides an opportunity for a first-hand look at how our students have performed post graduation.