Hello, SIGCSE liberal arts committee. I hope you've been having good
summers, in whatever form they've taken.
Following Grant Braught's survey earlier this summer, he and I have been
having some conversations, as have Henry, Alyce, Andrea, and I. Some ideas
about things this committee could or should do around SIGCSE 2017 have come
out of those conversations, and I want to see what you all think of them.
First, Grant's survey produced an interesting glimpse of the state of
computing programs in liberal arts institutions, but had limited responses
to questions that tried to identify strengths, challenges, issues, etc. of
those programs. A larger survey (e.g., aimed at the whole SIGCSE
membership) focusing on those questions and deliberately seeking input on
how people outside the liberal arts community see liberal arts CS programs
as well as on how those inside the community see them, might be a good
follow-up. There was also a thought that face-to-face ways of getting views
on these things could be a good supplement to a survey. So SIGCSE item 1
- A special session that is partly a report on what we've done so far
(e.g., Grant's survey), and partly a guided discussion of the questions
suggested above. I expect most of the time in this session could be spent
on the latter.
There's also a sense that some specific issues of interest to liberal arts
CS are emerging, e.g., faculty hiring. These could eventually be things
that we focus on, either as a whole or through subcommittees. A way to
start talking about these focused issues might be to organize one or more
BoFs on specific topics of interest to liberal arts CS programs. Or, should
subcommittees form before SIGCSE, BoFs could be a way for those
subcommittees to get together face-to-face while talking to people outside
of themselves. Either way, item 2 might be...
- BoF(s) on topics of specific interest to liberal arts CS education.
And finally, there was a very nice suggestion (thanks, Henry) that SIGCSE
would be a good time for fairly small groups of us to get together over
dinner. Again, the groups might be organized around sub-area interests;
there could also be lunch groups as well as dinner groups. Since this is an
easy thing to do and can be organized through the mailing list as SIGCSE
gets closer, item 3 will probably be...
- Facilitate groups from the committee with shared interests within liberal
arts CS education to get together for dinner or lunch.
The first round of deadlines (in particular, for special session proposals)
is about 2 1/2 weeks away, so if you have any comments on these ideas this
is a good time to share them. If anyone is interested in helping organize
any of the above (or something else), please let us know that, too. (I'm
happy to take the lead on a special session proposal, but would welcome
people who want to help run the session and be listed as co-leaders on the
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