The University Undergraduate Curriculum Commission met on Nov. 3 to discuss the three proposed Computer Science Plus X programs that integrate computational biology, chemistry and psychology into the computer science major as emphases as well as some other minor changes to courses.
The committee reviewed some precise language in these program proposals, in particular a clause that states students who major in these programs would not be able to minor in a computer science or X field.
Attendees also mentioned that departments of the respective X fields are encouraged to publicize the degrees within the department. For instance, the chemistry department may list the computer science major with a chemistry emphasis on their website.
The CS + X programs also include both a philosophy and also a history emphasis, but those program details must undergo review and approval by the Academic Planning Council before reaching the UUCC.
A member of the UUCC mentioned that “for history and philosophy, the CS + X will be a really good option for students because (those programs) have been affected by declining enrollment, so this will give students another option. It’s exciting to see the work together, between computer science and those two programs.”
Another member added the perspective of the history department. “We have students who don’t necessarily want to be cultural or intellectual historians, they want to do something more like social history and so having a computer background with analytical skills in addition to their qualitative analytical skills will be a really good addition.”
At first glance, cultural, intellectual and social history may not seem different. However, the three fields focus on specific types of historical research and interest.
A cultural historian studies the beliefs and ideas of the past, written in documents and conveyed through art and artifacts. An intellectual historian studies philosophy and thought of the past, focusing on the arguments and premises of these ideas. A social historian studies the structure of everyday life, society and the vast experiences of the ordinary person of the past.
The UUCC also discussed whether the CS + X programs would discourage enrollment from some programs, but the committee concluded that it would encourage enrollment.
Also, members of the UUCC stressed how marketing, publicity and spreading the word about the CS + X program are essential components to its success; for the programs to benefit students, the students must know the programs exist.
Upon concluding the CS + X discussions, the UUCC moved onto addressing some course changes in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages minor and license that is offered by the School of Education.
Before concluding the meeting, the UUCC opened the meeting to announcements and encouraged their members to join the APC meeting to hear feedback on the CS + X history and philosophy emphases.