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SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM <[log in to unmask]>
"Bruce A. Maxwell" <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 21 Mar 2016 21:43:51 -0400
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"Bruce A. Maxwell" <[log in to unmask]>
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Hi all--

Grant's survey request reminded me to pass this along to the larger group.

I mentioned in the BOF meeting that as part of our external reviewers visit at Colby last fall I contacted a number of small liberal arts institutions to collect comparative information on enrollments, majors, staffing, and course loads.  The purpose of this survey was to get a sense for how our institution compared relative to our peers in terms of all of these issues.

1) Are our enrollments, and recent increases in both majors and CS1 enrollments, unique?  

2) How does our number of faculty compare to other institutions?

3) How does our teaching load compare?

It was important that this not be an anonymous survey, so each participant school agreed that the information could be shared with other institutions that also participated in the survey.  The survey currently includes 12 institutions that range in size from 1650 to 3000 students.  We found the survey to be extremely helpful in our external review process.

I'm willing to continue expanding the survey with anyone who wishes to participate.  To participate, send me your answers to the questions at the bottom of this email, along with a statement that you are willing to share your information with the other participating programs.  I also ask that the results not be shared beyond the group of participating schools.

One important aspect of the survey is assessing faculty load in a way that is comparative across institutions.  Several of us had some extensive discussions about how to make the loads comparable, and I think we largely succeeded.  In the end, we based faculty teaching load primarily on the number of scheduled minutes per week, averaged over a year.  I will follow up on this issue if there are any questions that arise.

The questions are below, if you wish to participate.

Note, as part of the preparation for our external reviewers visit, I also scanned the published CS major requirements at each institution that participated in the other survey and generated a comparative list of requirements, following up with each school to make sure I read their requirements correctly.  Since that is all public information, I've put the results of that effort at <>.  This table focuses more specifically on the commonly required courses than Grant's survey, because the purpose was to demonstrate that our CS curriculum was in line with comparable programs. 



Bruce A. Maxwell, Professor and Chair
Department of Computer Science
Colby College

Department Statistics: to be shared only with other programs participating in the survey

1) How many tenure track faculty lines does your department have in the 2015-16 academic year?  If you are searching for additional lines to start in 2016-17, please include that information.  

2) How many courses does each faculty member teach per year?  Please include whether you are in a quarter/trimester/semester system and how many minutes per week a typical course meets.  An attached scheduled lab will, in general, count as 1/2 for the same scheduled number of minutes/week. As a reference, a course that meets for 150min/week of lecture plus an additional 150min of lab (from the faculty member's point of view) would count as 1.5 courses under a semester system.

3) How many students did your program teach in your introductory CS course in the 2014-15 academic year?

4) How many students will your program teach in your introductory CS course in the 2015-16 academic year?  Please note if the number of sections changed between the two years.

5) How many students graduated with a major (or equivalent) in CS in 2015 from your institution?  Please note if you are including interdisciplinary CS majors in this total.

6) How many students are declared majors (or equivalent) in your class of 2016? Please note if you are including interdisciplinary CS majors in this total.

7) How many students are declared majors (or equivalent) in your class of 2017? Please note if you are including interdisciplinary CS majors in this total.


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