This is an exciting initiative.  Thanks to the organizers!

Beyond encouraging students to pursue a well-rounded education, liberal 
arts colleges also have an opportunity to demonstrate how CS itself can 
be taught in a more "well-rounded" way.  I am continually surprised to 
see universities that still just teach coding in their CS 1 courses.  I 
think these first impressions matter, and tend to shape how students 
view the discipline and their roles in it.  Many of us on this list have 
found ways to introduce broader concepts and exciting connections to 
other disciplines into our early courses.  Perhaps these kinds of 
"exemplar" courses could be especially highlighted by this group.

Jessen T. Havill, Ph.D.
Benjamin Barney Chair of Mathematics
Professor of Computer Science
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Denison University
Granville, OH 43023

On Mar 14, 2016, at 2:54 PM, Walker, Ellen L. <[log in to unmask] 
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:

> I think the relatively small size of the major vs. availability of 
> space for electives, minors and maybe even a second major is important 
> to include in the definition.
> Not only is this a defining characteristic, but also a reason why a 
> group like this is particularly useful in light of ever-expanding 
> lists of curricular requirements.
>> On Mar 14, 2016, at 2:35 PM, Lillian (Boots) Cassel <[log in to unmask] 
>> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>> 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
>> <>
>> 610 519 7341
>> On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 2:10 PM, Cathy Bareiss <[log in to unmask] 
>> <mailto:[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
>>     [mailto:[log in to unmask]
>>     <mailto:[log in to unmask]>] *On Behalf Of
>>     *Lillian (Boots) Cassel
>>     *Sent:* Monday, March 14, 2016 11:58 AM
>>     *To:* [log in to unmask]
>>     <mailto:[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
>> <>
>>     610 519 7341 <tel:610%20519%207341>
>>     On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Douglas Baldwin
>>     <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[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
>>         (,
>>         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!
>>         ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>         To unsubscribe from the SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM list, click the
>>         following link:
>>         <>
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>     To unsubscribe from the SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM list, click the
>>     following link:
>>     <>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> To unsubscribe from the SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM list, click the following 
>> link:
>> <> 
> Ellen Walker
> Associate Dean
> Professor of Computer Science
> Hiram College
> PO Box 67
> Hiram, OH 44234
> Ph: 330-569-5250
> [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe from the SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM list, click the following 
> link:
> <> 


To unsubscribe from the SIGCSE-LIBARTS-COMM list:
write to: mailto:[log in to unmask]
or click the following link: