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SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:14:43 -0400
Douglas Baldwin <[log in to unmask]>
Douglas Baldwin <[log in to unmask]>
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To: Amanda Holland-Minkley <[log in to unmask]>
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On Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 1:37 PM, Amanda Holland-Minkley <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Doug et al -
> I think your plan for another special session is great. I've gone into the
> Google Doc and added a couple of things/made some comments.

I saw some of that as it was happening. Looks good. Thanks!

 Looking at the report overall, should there be a section between "Core
> Questions" and "Conclusions" that is "Proposal"? Right now, there's a
> bullet list of the types of things a group might do, but if we would like
> action taken on this by SIGCSE/ACM, would it be appropriate for us to
> propose a structure and charge for the group? In part, I'm thinking that
> for the special session, much of what is in the report now was discussed at
> SIGCSE 2017. Discussing more of the details of how we think a permanent
> group could work, including possibly a priority list for first activities,
> could build on that nicely.

These are good ideas. Given the direction we seem to be going, "Proposal"
is likely to either be the core of the as-yet empty "Conclusions" section
(which could be retitled), or a new section before it, as you suggest. One
small caution: we aren't charged to be, and I don't think are seen as, a
committee exploring future action for SIGCSE or ACM. So if we propose
creation of a new committee, it is probably more our job, or the job of a
subset of us, to make that happen rather than SIGCSE's or ACM's job. Those
organizations might help if asked, but I suspect they would want to be
approached by a group of people who are already saying "we want to create a
permanent liberal arts computing organization" rather than being expected
to create the group themselves.

In any case, making the recommended new group the focus of the special
session is a nice idea, both because, as you say, it shows tangible
progress since the 2017 session, and because it's likely to be central to
our report anyhow.

 I also don't know how long we want the report to be...

I think it can pretty much be as long (or short) as we want it to be. I'd
like to see it published in some "real" forum (e.g., Inroads), which sets
some constraints on length, but not onerous ones.

or how much supporting data we feel like we need to supply to make our
> case. But the two places I thought we could elaborate if we wanted to were:
> * Under "What Is The Liberal Arts" perhaps giving a couple of sample
> definitions in a second paragraph to demonstrate how this has been written
> about elsewhere (citable in the bibliography)

Citing some other people's definition of "liberal arts" to support ours
would be very good. I don't have such sources right at my fingertips, but
I'll bet they are findable. Looking for them would be a very good thing to

* Under Characteristics of Liberal Arts Computing Programs there are two
> types of illustrative data that I could imagine finding useful: either a
> snapshot describing a couple of programs in more detail to show their
> differences, or at attempt to look at the subscribers of this mailing list
> and use that as a base to get a bit more data on the types of programs our
> current committee membership is coming from

The CS2013 report has two "exemplar" curricula from liberal arts schools
(Grinnell and Williams), which would be one thing worth pointing to. The
TOCE special issue on computing in liberal arts colleges also has a "case
studies" article that compares 5 different programs (disclaimer: I'm one of
the authors on that article). I'm sure there are other papers with
descriptions of programs too.

 Is getting more data on committee members' programs the next survey? I
think there's some discussion in this list's archives from earlier this
summer of what such a survey might look at if anyone is interested in
picking it up (that discussion could be guidance for things to look at with
less-than-survey rigor too). If there is a survey, or something
survey-like, I'd like a question or two in it to address the issue of
whether groups from outside the liberal arts are looking for liberal arts
voices in whatever they do -- this is the one aspect of "does liberal arts
computing need a voice?" that I don't feel we have a good answer to yet.

If any of the above would be helpful, I'm happy to take a stab at it, but I
> didn't want to start going off on a tangent if it's not going to be helpful.

Finding literature sources as discussed here, and working them into the
Google doc, would certainly be helpful. As would pursuing getting more data
from the committee members.

 For the session proposal, I've got some College deadlines that would make
> it challenging for me to take on writing the whole thing in the next two
> weeks but I'd be happy to be assigned a section or to take a rough draft
> and do a revising pass.

I find special session proposals pretty easy to write, so I don't mind
taking the lead there. But running drafts by you (and anyone else who'd
like to), and maybe getting small amounts of prose or editing that way,
would be great.

Thanks for all the ideas, both here in email and in the Google doc.