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Dean's Update - September 2012

MORE ACCREDITATION NEWS

Last month I reported that our BS in Computer Game Design and Development, our BS in Computer Science, and our BS in Information Technology had been accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org).  Shortly, after I sent out the Dean’s Update, we received the good news that our BS in Software Engineering received its accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org).  All of this is excellent news.  As far as we can tell, the Computer Game Design and Development program is the first one such program to be accredited by ABET, while the software engineering program is only 21 of such programs accredited in the country, while the only other institutions that has accredited programs in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Software Engineering is the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Again, I want to express my deep appreciation for the work that CSE faculty and staff have done on this project.  It demonstrates their deep commitment to making sure that our programs of the highest possible quality.


GAME JAM

On September 7, CSE hosted the Georgia Fall 2012 Game Jam.  Some 150 students participated from across Georgia and beyond, including students from SPSU, SCAD and, via Skype, students from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania. The event was sponsored by Arke Systems (http://www.arkesystems.com/).

There are videos of the games that were produced at http://cse.spsu.edu/jpreston/gamejam/ and an overview video of the whole event athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BbpOKp_ZWA&feature=youtu.be


BOYS SCOUTS COMPUTING MERIT BADGE

Every year, Southern Polytechnic State University hosts a merit badge day for the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  One of the available badges is the Computer Merit Badge.  This year the event will take place on September 29, and Jonathan Meek, one of our graduate students in Computer Science, will again be taking the lead, as he has done over the last four years. Jonathan, who also has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from SPSU, became involved partly because he himself was a boy scout when he was younger, and grew into a leadership position.  

Jonathan’s service is one of the many ways in which our students make a contribution to their communities, and I wanted to express my appreciation to Jonathan for helping to spread the word about computing in general and computing at SPSU in particular.


COLLEGE RANKINGS

As you may be aware, the US News and World Report publishes an annual report in which it ranks different types of universities and colleges.  You may also be aware that at least one of the large schools in Atlanta was caught misreporting some of its institutional data, presumably to get a higher ranking by US News and World Report.

As I reported in the Dean’s Update of January 2012 (/schoolcse/csenews/201201.htm), universities usually dismiss such rankings as irrelevant, unless, of course, a school or program gets ranked high.  However, as the President points out in her note of September 17 (/officeofpresident/notesfrompresident/20120917note.htm), while SPSU does not strive to be ranked by US News and World Report, the data that are used to calculate the rankings provide useful information about what we are doing well at SPSU and where we should improve.

There are two areas in which SPSU scores badly.  The first is graduation rate, in which we are among the lowest of all regional universities in the South (the group that US News and World Report classifies us in).  The way in which graduation rate is normally calculated as the percentage of first-time, full-time freshmen who graduates within four (or six) years from the same institution is not as appropriate to SPSU as it is for other institutions.  For example, we have a good number of students who come in with credits from other institutions, and therefore do not qualify as first-time freshmen.  We also have a good number of students who work full-time to support themselves and their families.  I think that I speak for many at SPSU when I say that we are proud to serve such students.  However, having said all this, no matter how you look at it, too many of our students do not (eventually) earn a degree.  We have a number of initiatives to tackle this issue.  Many of them were implemented only recently and it is too early to say how effective they are.  Nevertheless, it is an issue that should remain an important focus for all of us at SPSU.

The second area in which SPSU is ranked very low is average alumni giving rate.  According to the figures from US News and World Report, only 2% of our alumni have made a contribution.  Given the fact that our state appropriations continue to decline, and we cannot make up for this through continued tuition increases, we need to find alternative sources of funding, and we have not tapped into our pool of alumni as effectively as most other institutions.

So, I want to finish this Dean’s Update with an appeal to all of those who are alumni to make a financial contribution to SPSU, or to continue making contributions.  You can find information on how to make a gift to SPSU at /giving/.  If you decide to make a contribution, I would appreciate it if you could designate your gift to the School of Computing and Software Engineering (SCSE).  

Also, if you do not feel that we deserve a donation, I would appreciate it if you could let me know why.  This is not (just) about increasing alumni contributions; this is also about better understanding what we should have done when you were a student, and what we should do now that you are an SPSU alum.

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