Utah State University’s Department of Computer Science returns to the College of Science July 1. University Executive Vice President and Provost Frank Galey said the department’s move, from the College of Engineering back to Science, follows a period of discussions during which students, faculty, administrators and state business and government leaders provided input about the long-term needs of the state and the university.
“This move will emphasize the synergies already established though years of work of professors reaching out between different programs across campus,” Galey said. “It will take advantage of opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations already in place along with those we see as part of our long-term vision for providing for the state’s needs.”
The Computer Science Department was originally housed in the College of Science before moving to the College of Engineering in spring 2012.
Maura Hagan, dean of the College of Science, said the new organizational structure will strengthen both the Computer Science Department and other programs within the College of Science by building upon existing collaborations in the areas of teaching and research. It will also address the state’s workforce challenges as the College of Science continues to work with business and industry sectors to meet their changing needs.
“Our vision for the future is multi-faceted, but a critical component is assuring that our students are trained to meet industry needs that are ever-changing and ever-more important to the state’s economy,” Hagan said.
Hagan called particular attention to partnerships between USU’s computer science department and the math and statistics department involving data science and data analytics. These collaborations are already key strengths at USU with pockets of expertise in both departments, and there are also established relationships with researchers in the Department of Management Information Systems in the Huntsman School of Business.
“We are hopeful this new organizational structure will cultivate enhanced research partnerships that will translate to broader and deeper student experiences at both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” Hagan said.
She also emphasized that the move will better serve USU computer science students statewide, since the College of Science already has a strong service teaching foundation of providing general education classes. This broad-scope teaching mission will now add foundational computer science classes to other foundational classes offered in biology, chemistry, physics and math.
The move maintains the computer science department’s ABET accreditation and does not affect the curriculum of any computer science program or academic opportunities, including the computer science minor. Hagen said some transition details are still in progress, but she encouraged students to meet with their academic advisors for guidance.