Closing down computer science at the Minnesota State University

January 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm 8 comments

Max Hailperin passed on this story to the SIGCSE-Members list.  He added that: “About 40 students will graduate from the program in May. But that will leave about 40 who haven’t. They hope to get those students through within two years. But even if they do, the students may be forced to take upper-level computer science classes from faculty who may not have taught them before.” Interesting that Aviation was going to be cancelled, too, but the local business community worked to save that program. But not CS.

It’s been a bit blue in Minnesota State University’s computer science department.

But it’s not hard to understand why.

“Everyone in the department has either been fired, retired or has resigned,” said Dean Kelley, one of those faculty members. “Two took retirement — one effective last year, one this year — one who was on a leave of absence and has resigned. As for the remaining three, the word they used was ‘retrenched.’”

Computer science as a functioning program at MSU will cease to exist at the end of this semester. So will astronomy (although they’ll still have a minor and will still offer low-level astronomy courses). And the word “journalism” will disappear entirely from the mass communications program as it transforms itself into a program of mass media.

Other programs have been retired as well. All of it, of course, was done in hopes of mitigating the damage that will be dealt to higher education across the state when the $6 billion budget shortfall is dealt with. For MSU, that means trimming roughly $10 million.

via Changes at MSU tough for some, while others are able to adjust » Latest news » The Free Press, Mankato, MN.

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The decline effect and the scientific method : The New Yorker The Art of Science Learning

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bijan Parsia  |  January 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    It’d be nice if some CS heavy giant corps (e.g., Apple or Google or…) pitched in. $10 mil isn’t all that much.

    I shudder to think what’s going on in California.

    I guess no one wants real universities anymore?

    Reply
    • 2. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  January 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      That’s probably why they are cutting CS—they figure some corporate donor will rush to the rescue. Or the state will relent and say “we can’t cut that”. I suspect, though, that it will backfire on them, and they’ll be left without some of the more desirable programs.

      Reply
  • 3. Mark Miller  |  January 31, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I wasn’t surprised by the announcement of changing the role of the journalism school. C.U. Boulder has been talking about doing the same thing. What I read locally is that the business model that the journalism school taught is no longer relevant. That’s why that came up. Some people lamented the prospect of the school of journalism going away, saying, “I guess we can forget about professional news gathering in the future,” I’d say that’s deteriorated already. I can barely stomach my local newspaper anymore. I guess some haven’t noticed.

    I reflected on the fact that Woodward and Bernstein didn’t have journalism degrees. Neither did Edward R. Murrow (who if I recall correctly only had a bachelors degree in communication). We shouldn’t regard the disappearance or changing role of a school as the death of a profession, or a field of study.

    Reply
  • [...] the last two years.  But CRA only reports on schools involved in computing research.  With CS departments closing due to low enrollments, there’s reason to believe that the story isn’t the same everywhere.  A recent survey [...]

    Reply
  • 5. Max Hailperin  |  February 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    The part that you say I added was actually more of Robb Murray’s article in the Free Press.

    Reply
  • [...] At schools that have closed down CS, journalism has been closed down too.  Colorado is now talking about closing down journalism, and to create a School of Information.  Is that the first step towards closing down CS, too, in keeping with the trend?  Isn’t it ironic, that CS innovations have led to the closing of Journalism, but that’s somehow joined with taking down CS, too? The University of Colorado should eliminate its standalone journalism degree and create both a new school of information and an institute to study the “global digital future,” according to documents released Tuesday by the Boulder campus. [...]

    Reply
  • 7. rahul  |  July 5, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Hi,
    I am surprised by the announcement of changing the role of the
    school.

    Reply
  • [...] Our Dean at the Georgia Tech College of Computing has sent this to all of the faculty, urging us to sign the petition. I don’t know anything about the politics of CISE and ECE at Florida, but this is a significant development in the history of computing education and the trend toward shutting down CS departments. [...]

    Reply

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