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Douglas Baldwin <[log in to unmask]>
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Douglas Baldwin <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 8 Jun 2016 09:50:21 -0400
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Very interesting, and very thorough. Paints an interesting picture of
computing as a liberal arts program -- although one of the most interesting
things may be that there really doesn't seem to be a single picture,
there's quite a range of programs represented. Thanks for doing this!

Reading over the summary got me thinking about lots of possible follow-ups.
It would be very helpful in planning this committee's next steps to hear
thoughts about which of these seem important to others, which you think we
should work on, any inspirations you got about follow-up, etc.

- How do these numbers compare to "non-liberal arts" computing programs
(however those might be defined)? Are there identifiable features that set
the liberal arts programs apart? Does anyone know if there are already data
on some of these questions for other subsets of computer science, or for
the discipline as a whole? (e.g., the Taulbee survey covers some of it for
doctoral departments, I could imagine -- but don't personally know of --
some Dept. of Education database somewhere that might cover some of it for
whatever DEd defines "computer science" to be, etc.)

- As I mentioned a couple of months ago, this committee has a finite
lifetime, and I'm particularly interested in what it will leave as its
legacy. Are there themes in the comments and challenges at the end of the
survey that are ongoing tasks/recommendations for the computing education
community generally, or for some long-term successor to this committee? Are
there problems that we can propose/test solutions to? (What? Leave things
better than we found them? That would be a radical step for a committee to
take.... :-)

- Reading some of the questions and responses reminded me of a tradition in
the LACS group of a "show and tell" session in its annual meeting. This is
a session in which each person gives a ca 15 minute summary of developments
in their department, often touching on things like enrollments and number
of graduates, teaching loads, faculty hiring, changes in program
requirements, etc. This is a very popular session, in part because it gives
people a chance to see how their situation compares to others, and in part
because it happens every year and so provides some way to see how things
are changing with time. I got that first sense (how my program compares to
others) very strongly with this survey, and found myself wondering about
the second -- would people like to see something like this survey as a
recurring thing? If so, what do you think a recurring survey should look

Thanks again, Grant, for running this, and everyone who filled it out.
Looking forward to more comments.


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