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From:
"Lillian (Boots) Cassel" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Lillian (Boots) Cassel
Date:
Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:35:33 -0400
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I agree with your assessment, Cathy.
Focus on outcomes is a good way to get to the essence of the liberal arts
environment.  The well-roundedness of our graduates is certainly a key
element.  I don't think small is necessary for that, but a commitment of a
good relationship between the faculty and the students and a dedication to
producing a well-rounded, well developed person is important.

Boots

L N Cassel, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Computing Sciences
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova  PA  19085-1699
http://csc.villanova.edu/~cassel

610 519 7341

On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 2:10 PM, Cathy Bareiss <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I agree that we should not limit it to “small”.  I also think that where
> the program/department lies is also not a good indicator.  There are some
> strong liberal arts CS programs (including mine) that reside in a school of
> engineering.  University structural decisions are made for many different
> reasons.
>
>
>
> Our definition needs to focus on the goals/outcomes of the programs not
> the structures of the institutions.
>
>
>
> One thing that comes to my mind that has yet to be discussed is that
> *typically* liberal art majors are small enough to allow students to
> pursue additional interests (other majors/minors).  I might suggest that
> the end of the definition (or an area that explains it) says something to
> that fact.  This type of degree does not focus solely on what makes a
> person a “great” professional computer scientist but allows the students to
> be more well-rounded and pursue additional areas of interest.
>
>
>
> I am not great at “word-smithing”.  So instead of suggesting precise
> wording, I will keep my comments to general areas that I think might/should
> be addressed.  I will let others better skilled in that area figure out how
> to express the ideas in a concise/clear/etc. language.
>
>
>
> Cathy Bareiss
>
>
>
>
>
> *From:* SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM [mailto:[log in to unmask]] *On
> Behalf Of *Lillian (Boots) Cassel
> *Sent:* Monday, March 14, 2016 11:58 AM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: First Steps for SIGCSE Liberal Arts Committee
>
>
>
> Many thanks to Doug and everyone involved in starting this discussion.
>
>
>
> With respect to some of the questions that form the core of this message,
> I hope we can be as inclusive as possible.  I am in the Department of
> Computing Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at
> Villanova.  We are not a small college, and some of the questions seemed
> appropriate for small colleges.  That is a good question theme, but will
> not be for all of us.
>
>
>
> When we have visits by parents and possible students, I like to explain
> why I think it is a good thing that we are in the College of Liberal Arts
> and Sciences, rather than the College of Engineering.  We have a strong,
> accredited computer science program that brings all the benefits of a
> liberal arts education combined with a technical degree.
>
>
>
> I am very interested in understanding better the ways that computer
> science contributes to and benefits from the liberal arts context.
>
>
>
> We have a couple of interesting interdisciplinary activities.  One
> involves a collaboration between a machine translation course and an
> advanced, required, course in French Writing and Stylistics.  The two
> courses run independently, but meet in adjacent rooms at the same time and
> do joint projects.  What other examples are there of interesting joint
> activities?
>
>
>
> Boots
>
>
> L N Cassel, Ph.D.
>
> Professor and Chair
> Department of Computing Sciences
> Villanova University
> 800 Lancaster Avenue
> Villanova  PA  19085-1699
> http://csc.villanova.edu/~cassel
>
> 610 519 7341
>
>
>
> On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Douglas Baldwin <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> Greetings, and welcome (if you haven't already been welcomed) to the
> SIGCSE committee on computing education in liberal arts colleges. Thanks to
> everyone who came to our gathering at SIGCSE. I was pleasantly surprised at
> how big that was (35 - 40 people), and at the enthusiasm the folks there
> showed for the committee's job. Alyce Brady took some good notes on the
> conversation, which are the basis for this message.
>
> Much of the conversation was about what the committee might do, and
> another theme that kept popping up was the question of just what we will
> mean by the phrase "liberal arts." These are basically the first two things
> we need to work on in any case, so the first thing I want to do is set the
> following agenda for the next couple of months. Please consider yourselves
> charged to use this mailing list to discuss your ideas about the following
> 2 items:
>
> 1. What we mean by "liberal arts." There is temporary definition in the
> committee's goals and focus statement (
> http://sigcse.org/sigcse/programs/committees/liberal), roughly "liberal
> arts college" as a place that emphasizes liberal education -- in the words
> of the goals and focus, "a post-secondary institution that emphasizes
> education for the breadth of graduates' career, civic, and personal lives,
> in contrast to institutions that focus on more narrow preparation (e.g.,
> for a specific profession)." But this is only one of many definitions
> bouncing around. Another I've seen boils down to a college that emphasizes
> disciplines in the arts, humanities, and sciences over disciplines in more
> professional areas, and another amounts to colleges that fit an
> institutional profile of being small, undergraduate, and (usually) private.
> We absolutely do *not* have to use the definition from the goals and focus
> statement. There's a lot of overlap between definitions and their
> implications, but there are also enough differences that if we don't adopt
> some statement of what we will mean by the term, we're likely to find
> ourselves talking past each other as we get down to the real work.
>
> 2. We also need to identify a set of issues that we will concentrate on.
> Again, the goals and focus statement mentions two, but a lot of others came
> up in conversation at SIGCSE. If we have a manageable set of these in place
> by, say, mid-June (not at all accidentally, a date that most of us in the
> US can equate to "about when my semester/quarter ends," whichever kind of
> calendar you use, and that I hope any non-US participants can equate to
> some similar calendar milestone) we can use the summer to start gathering
> whatever data we need to shape answers. The questions from the goals and
> focus statement are
>
> - Is there a need for an organization that can be the "voice" of liberal
> arts colleges in larger discussions of computing education? If so, how
> might such an organization be set up, and what can this committee do to
> "pass the torch" to it?
>
> - Is there a need for a network that allows computing faculty at liberal
> arts colleges to share struggles, ideas, questions, etc. with each other?
>
> Some things that were mentioned at SIGCSE, include
>
> - Should there be a larger set of "exemplar" courses and curricula for
> liberal arts, as with ACM/IEEE CS2013, but perhaps only partially tied to
> it? Maybe not as formal as the CS2013 exemplars, simply a table of what
> courses/subjects different schools include. Even identifying the titles
> used for programs and courses would be helpful.
>
> - Should there be a survey of issues facing liberal arts computing that
> departments can use in discussions with administrations? In particular,
> what are liberal arts computing programs seeing with enrollments today?
>
> - In connection with such a survey, do we even know who the "liberal arts
> computing" people are? Should we try to systematically identify them?
>
> - Should there be a liberal arts analog of ABET to "accredit" liberal arts
> computing programs (this was explicitly identified as an out-of-the-box,
> thinking-at-the-limits, question by the person who posed it)
>
> - How do we communicate the advantages of teaching computing in the
> liberal arts to others? For instance, to graduate students who might be
> potential faculty? To potential students for our own programs?
>
> - Are there things that could be done to help liberal arts schools trying
> to start computing programs?
>
> And finally, moving on from immediate actions, a few other notes from the
> SIGCSE gathering: Most important, this is supposed to be a very inclusive
> committee. Regardless of what definition of "liberal arts" we end up with,
> anyone who is interested in that kind of computing education is welcome to
> participate. As of SIGCSE, we had about 80 people subscribed to the mailing
> list, and more have joined since -- my guess is that we're at 90 or 95 now.
> We should try to get all of us wearing "ask me about liberal arts
> computing" ribbons at the next SIGCSE. Speaking of next SIGCSE, it would be
> nice for us to have some preliminary report that can be delivered at a
> special session or similar. This would be based on discussions this spring
> and data gathered over the summer. A final version can include feedback
> from SIGCSE 2017 and might appear as a report in Inroads or similar later
> in the year.
>
> Thanks again for joining the committee. Let the conversation begin!
>
>
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