As another of the co-organizers of the SIGCSE 2017 BoF session on 
communicating about liberal arts CS and a member of LACS, I 
wholeheartedly concur. Well said.


Amanda Holland-Minkley wrote:
> I agree with Angela that we have good evidence that there is demand
> within the liberal arts computing community for a networking/support
> group focused on the unique challenges and solutions of the group. We
> have a good list of the contributions the group might make as
> summarized in Doug's slides and elaborated on in the report he put
> together after SIGCSE.
> I've been mulling over the bit of this we're clearly struggling with
> more - making the case for why liberal arts computing needs a voice. I
> like the idea of structuring this as who the audience is. As a start,
> I wonder if we could break this down into having a voice to the
> general public and having a voice as a distinct component of the CS
> education community.
> * General Public: A voice to employers, students, parents - both
> directly and through the media (there are so many articles on
> companies hiring liberal arts majors and companies wanting more STEM
> majors but I've never seen one on liberal-arts STEM majors…); I think
> a lot of us do this work individually at our own institutions but it
> would be nice to pool resources.
> * Academic Community: A voice to ACM, SIGCSE, funding agencies, policy
> makers - groups involved in supporting or guiding CS education in some way
> Looking at it this way, the voice to the general public is probably
> informative, mostly focusing on unique goals/objectives/successes of
> liberal arts CS, whereas the voice to the CS education community is
> probably representative or advocacy, focusing more evenly on the
> challenges and needs as well.
> My sense is that the LACS group and sometimes other individuals have
> been playing the role of voice to the second community (I think this
> was maybe even mentioned in the document establishing this committee).
> The first is perhaps a stretch goal if the group really takes off and
> has the leadership to do it, but my sense from the various sessions at
> SIGCSE in the spring is that there's interest in trying to organize
> this type of more coordinated communication.
> - Amanda
> Dr. Amanda M. Holland-Minkley
> Associate Professor, Computing and Information Studies
> Washington & Jefferson College
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] *On Behalf Of *Angela
> Berardinelli
> *Sent:* Thursday, July 20, 2017 6:00 PM
> *To:* [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: SIGCSE Liberal Arts Committee at LACS
> Hi, all,
> I guess I'll jump in here, mostly with a question.
> I think we already have a strong case for the need for a permanent
> organization, and that case will likely be made stronger by the
> second, larger survey that has been suggested. In my opinion, this
> organization would ideally serve two purposes: networking within the
> liberal arts computing community, and providing leadership that could
> be our "voice" to others (others = non-liberal-arts computing +
> non-computing liberal arts + other others). Perhaps thinking about our
> intended audience will help us clarify our "voice." I think it's
> natural that it would sometimes be directed at the broader SIGCSE and
> ACM communities. It would also be useful for the new organization to
> put together cohesive information/data about liberal arts computing
> that could be presented to college/university administrators at our
> institutions to put what we do and what we need in context when issues
> or opportunities arise.
> So... in response to Doug's question: Why do we need a voice? Because
> we have unique qualities that sometimes need to be communicated to
> parties outside the community. Identifying those parties could go a
> long way toward helping us think about what the "voice" should be
> saying and why. Where/ to whom would it make sense to communicate our
> unique successes, challenges, needs, goals, etc?
> Angela
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Angela Berardinelli, PhD
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Assistant Professor of Mathematics
> Department of Mathematics and Information Technology
> Mercyhurst University
> ----------------------------------------------------
> E-mail: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> Direct Line: 814-824-2421 <tel:814-824-2421>
> Website: 
> <>
> Office: Old Main Tower 403
> Mail: 501 East 38th Street
> Erie, PA 16546
> ----------------------------------------------------
> On Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 11:13 AM Douglas Baldwin <[log in to unmask]
> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
> The liberal arts computer science consortium (LACS) had its summer
> meeting last week, and asked me to give a report on our
> committee's progress. The format was short report followed by
> discussion. For those interested, I've attached my slides from the
> "short report" part; you can also get them from Google drive at
> The discussion suggested that LACS is very supportive of this
> committee spinning off a larger permanent group of liberal arts
> computing educators, which group would probably have many LACS
> members in it.
> Also, two things occurred to me as I was making these slides:
> first, apart from the two slides inviting discussion (or maybe
> even with something like them), they might suggest a structure for
> our eventual report. Second, the place where I think we need the
> most additional data or support for that report is the question of
> whether liberal arts computing needs an institutional "voice" --
> we probably think it does, but I haven't seen much discussion of
> that question, and particularly of why it does. Maybe something to
> talk about now...