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Dean's Update - August 2012


ACCREDITATION NEWS

As some of you know, a number of our undergraduate programs were evaluated by ABET last fall.  We have received word from ABET that our BS in Computer Game Design and Development, our BS in Computer Science, and our BS in Information Technology have been accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org).  We are still waiting for news from ABET about one of our other undergraduate programs, which falls under the jurisdiction of a different accreditation commission within ABET.

This is of course tremendous news, and confirms what I expect many of us knew already, namely that we have high quality undergraduate programs and that we have good processes in place to ensure that they maintain their quality.  It is also a tremendous recognition of the hard work that CSE faculty and staff have done in preparing for the visit, the actual visit itself, and, of course, the implementation of our continuous improvement processes.  All deserve our congratulations.


COMMENCEMENT

On August 4, SPSU held its Summer Commencement ceremonies.  The commencement speaker was Tad Leithead, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Cumberland Community Improvement District.  Some 170 students graduated, of which 41 received a degree from CSE.  Commencement took place while the Olympics were still fresh on everyone's mind and Mr Leithead was able to use his experience as an Olympic level eventer to inspire our graduates.  


START OF THE SEMESTER

Less than two 2 weeks after commencement, SPSU started its new academic year.  SPSU is again boasting record enrollments with just over 6,200 students, the first time that we have broken the 6,000 student barrier.  Of those, 1,577 are majoring in CSE with another 300+ students from other majors taking our courses.  This is obviously a record for CSE as well.  We now enroll on in every 4 students at SPSU.

The start of the semester is also a good time to reflect on how well we are performing when it comes to our strategic plan. There is a brief reflection on this at http://www.spsu.edu/schoolcse/strategicplan/2012Report.htm.  While we are making good progress on some of our goals, there are two areas in which we need to improve, namely (a) ensuring that the students we enroll actually graduate, and (b) ensuring that our student population becomes more gender-diverse.  Any comments on the strategic plan itself, our progress, and/or any suggestions on how we might improve are of course more than welcome.


WELCOME (BACK) COOKOUT

In order to recognize our new and returning students, CSE is again organizing a cookout.  Originally, the event had been planned for August 30 but we decided to postpone the event for a week because of the potential dangers posed by tropical storm Isaac, and we are planning the event for September 6.  I am writing this update a few hours before the event was supposed to have started and the campus in the middle of a serious rain shower.  So, at least one of the decisions we have made this academic year was correct.

Social events such as these are important as they help us engage with our students and our students with us.  This is especially important as students who are more engaged with their institution have been shown to be more likely to succeed academically.  While events such as these are obviously fun, they are also important for our first strategic goal, namely to increase the number of CSE graduates who are well prepared for work and life to better serve the community.  

We received sponsorship for the event from Abacus Solutions LLC (http://www.abacusllc.com/) and the Southern Engineer’s Bookstore (http://www.sebookstore.com/) and I wanted to publicly thank them for their support.


GAME JAM

Continuing on the theme of student engagement, the day after the CSE cookout, i.e., September 7, CSE will also host the Georgia Fall 2012 Game Jam.  We are expecting some 150 participants from across Georgia and beyond, including students from SPSU, SCAD and, via Skype, students from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.  Although a lot of work for our gaming faculty, Jon Preston and Jeff Chastine, some of our support staff and students, Game Jams are enjoyable events that provide our students with a tremendous opportunity to use their game development skills and to work with students with different skill sets than their own.  There are details about this and previous game jams at http://cse.spsu.edu/jpreston/gamejam/.

The event is sponsored by Arke Systems (http://www.arkesystems.com/), and needless to say, we are very thankful for their support.


QIAN RECEIVES ANOTHER NSF GRANT

Another piece of good news is that Dr Kai Qian has been awarded yet another grant from the National Science Foundation.  Dr Qian's new grant is entitled "Capacity Building in Mobile Security Through Curriculum and Faculty Development", and is a joint award with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Tuskegee University.  The total grant is for just under $210K, of which SPSU will receive $80K

Details can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1241651.

Please join me in congratulating Dr Qian.


SPSU TO HOST CCSC:SE

On November 2 and 3, SPSU will host the annual conference of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges for the Southeast region.  The conference will bring together 150 to 200 faculty and students in computing, as well as administrators of academic computing facilities to discuss issues to do with computing education.  In addition to presentations by faculty and students, the event also hosts a student programming competition and a competition for student research.  There are details are at http://www.ccscse.org/conference.php?year=26th, and we will obviously give more details as we get closer to the actual event.

Dr Becky Rutherfoord is the local organizer.  Throughout the event, there will be vendor exhibits and we are inviting you to contact us if you are interested in being an exhibitor or if you would like to support the event in some other way.  Dr Rutherfoord can be reached on brutherf@spsu.edu.