At my school (Centre College), non-lab courses from all disciplines are 3 credits (3 lecture hours).  CS 1 and Data Structures are 4 credits (3 lecture hours + 2 lab hours and the rest of our courses are 3 credits (3 lecture hours).  As we're reviewing our own program and trying to realign it with the current ACM recommendations, we're debating combining content from different courses to form a couple more 4 credit courses so we can get a couple more things covered while not requiring additional courses.  Do you need/want to get a sense of credits & contact hours in the survey with an eye towards being able to compare programs on more even terms?  That would possibly give everybody a better comparison, but it would also make for a slightly more complicated survey.

Dave Toth
Centre College

On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 6:39 PM, Joel Adams <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
We have a similar situation, Valerie.  

An alternative to submitting the survey multiple times might be to provide a ‘matrix’ with a column for each major or minor option and the attributes of interest in the row dimension.  That way, a given college could submit the survey once and avoid re-entering the common info. 

I’m not sure about the implications of either approach for tabulating the survey’s results...

There are also CS departments that offer non-CS-but-computing-related degrees (IS, IT, etc.) for which the ACM has curriculum recommendations.  Maybe people want to limit this to CS programs?


On Mar 18, 2016, at 6:06 PM, Valerie Barr <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Grant (and others),

I don't know about other departments but we offer two versions of our major.  One is the regular CS major, and the other is an interdepartmental major in which students can combine CS with any other discipline at the college.  The course counts are different for those two programs.  So in that kind of situation, would you want people to submit the survey twice, once for each program?  I imagine this same question will be faced by those at institutions that offer both a BA and a BS degree.  Would it make sense (I suspect so) for them to fill out the survey once for each program?


On 3/18/16 8:39 AM, Braught, Grant wrote:
Hi Everyone,

The discussion earlier this week regarding the size of our majors and students having space in their courses of study to explore, connect, combine other areas and interests caught my attention.  It got me to wondering just how similar or different programs are amongst this group who has self-identified as teaching Computing in the Liberal Arts?  So being on spring break and thus feeling flush with time, I put together a small list of questions that I would like to turn into a survey for the group.  In discussing this with Doug, he suggested that I send it to the group for some feedback, comments, additions, etc before asking everyone to complete the survey.  I thought that was a great idea. So, this e-mail is requesting feedback on the survey questions, not responses to the survey.

At the end of this message are the questions that I had put together. My intent was to keep it short and focus narrowly on the question of similarities and differences in the structures (note, not sizes in terms of faculty or students) of our programs.  My hope is that this may begin to clarify what we mean collectively as Computing in the Liberal Arts and help to focus our discussions.  If you have any suggestions, comments, corrections or additions that you would like to see please send them to me directly.  I will plan to incorporate the feedback into a google form and send out the link within a few weeks.  All responses will be anonymous and viewable by everyone. Any information pulled from an analysis of the responses will be shared with the group.

That said, if there is a strong sense amongst the group that a broader survey would be preferable, I am happy to contribute to such an effort in addition to or in place of this.  So please comment on this aspect as well if you like.


Grant Braught
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Dickinson College
Carlisle, PA 17013
[log in to unmask]


Structure of Computing Majors in the Liberal Arts Survey Questions:

What is the title of your program(s)/department(s) (e.g. Computer Science)?

What course of study options does your program/department offer for students?

What degree do your majors receive upon graduation?
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Other :

How many computing courses are required for the Major? Exclude courses offered by other programs/departments, e.g. Mathematic etc.
fewer than 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, more than 14

How many courses are required for the Minor?
fewer than 5, 6, 7, 8, more than 8

How many Mathematics courses are required for the Major?
none, but we offer Discrete Mathematics ourselves.
1, 2, 3, 4, more than 4

Which Mathematics courses are required for the Major?
Calculus I
Calculus II
Discrete Mathematics (also include equivalent courses offered by your own department/program)
Linear Algebra
Differential Equations

How many courses outside of computing or mathematics are required for the Major (e.g. Physics, Technical Writing)? Exclude general education requirements.
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, more than 4

Approximately what fraction of all courses taken by an undergraduate computing major are required for the Major? Include all required courses, e.g. Mathematics.
less than 30%, 35%, 40%, 45%, 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, more than 75%

What are the 2 greatest strengths of your program(s) as a Liberal Arts discipline?

What are the 2 greatest challenges of your program(s) as a Liberal Arts discipline?

Please add any additional thoughts or comments.

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Joel C. Adams, PhD
Chair, Dept of Computer Science
Calvin College

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