Launching PCAS, the first two COMPFOR classes, and hiring our first lecturer

December 4, 2022 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

I last gave an update on the Program in Computing for the Arts and Sciences (PCAS) here in February (see blog post). Since then, it’s become real. I was hired as of July 1 as the Director of PCAS. My Computing Education Task Force co-chair, Gus Evrard, is the Associate Director. We even have a website: https://lsa.umich.edu/computingfor

I am building and teaching our first two courses now. I love our course code: COMPFOR. It stands for “COMPuting FOR…” The two courses are:

  • COMPFOR 111 Computing’s Impact on Justice: From Text to the Web
  • COMPFOR 121 Computing for Creative Expression

I have never worked harder than this semester– building these two courses, teaching both courses at the same time, learning how to be a program director (e.g., explicit classes and workshops on academic leadership, on evaluating faculty, and on how University of Michigan budgets work), and creating the program. I am having enormous fun.

I plan to write more about the two courses here and our innovations in teaching them. Here’s a brief summary. We are using teaspoon languages to introduce concepts, Snap for programming assignments, and Runestone ebooks for helping students to transfer their knowledge from blocks to traditional textual languages (Python, Processing, and SQL). I gave a talk for the CS for Michigan Conference a few weeks ago, and for the attendees, I created a page connecting to some of what we’re building and a narrative account of a couple of the units: https://guzdial.engin.umich.edu/cs4mi-pcas/.

We have been given permission to hire our first lecturer: https://careers.umich.edu/job_detail/226551/leo-lecturer-i-compfor-111-and-compfor-121. Right now, it’s a one year position for 2023-2024, but if enrollments grow, we have been encouraged to request three year positions starting in Fall 2024. Please do forward this job announcement to anyone you think might be interested. It’s also available in other places like CRA: https://cra.org/job/university-of-michigan-lecturer/.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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