This workshop will bring together undergraduate computer science faculty from colleges throughout the United States with leading researchers in three areas of computer science to consider how undergraduate computer science curricula might be improved in the light of the certain research results.
Some critics of current curricula argue that the contact between current advanced research in computer science and undergraduate curricula needs to be improved, that important recent research takes too long to make its way into the education of undergraduates. They often go on to say that the situation is particularly difficult at small colleges, where faculty face particularly large teaching loads, broad teaching responsibilities (often outside their own specialization) and ongoing reductions in support for their own research. The increasing pace of advanced technology and research in computer science, and the ease of confounding new technology with current research, exacerbates the situation.
Undergraduate faculty need to stay current with cutting-edge developments in their fields, and to include those developments in their teaching. As emerging global competition begins to provide cheaper ways of accomplishing standard production programming jobs, U.S. programmers will need to rely more and more on their capacity to innovate and stay at the very edge of developments in the field. Their education as undergraduates needs to prepare them for this ongoing professional development and continuing education. The right sort of attention to recent research results may be an essential component in providing students with the education they need to successfully meet the long term demands of careers as software developers or to begin graduate study.
Our objective at Evergreen has been to figure out ways to "broker" research that holds promise by (1) establishing working relationships between undergraduate faculty at Evergreen and researchers at the Oregon Graduate Institute (a nearby research institution), (2) developing materials in three target areas that could be integrated into an existing curricula without adding additional courses, (3) articulating teaching modes particularly suitable for conveying research results, (4) establishing contacts with regional educational institutions, employers of our graduates, and the graduates themselves to enhance, disseminate, evaluate and sustain our efforts, and (5) developing a model for non-Ph.D. granting institutions to initiate programs of excellence in advanced computer science. The 1997 workshop is one attempt to study these areas with other undergraduate institutions, jointly develop curricular ideas, and to share our results.
Four Interest Areas:
Participants in the workshop will explore the current state of undergraduate computer science curricula and ways in which they might be better informed by both recent research and the actual professional demands of software development. The workshop will focus on four interest areas, and participating faculty will select one of the four in which to specialize:
This area will consider recent research, exchange current innovations developed amoung ourselves, and develop strategies for integrating these practices into our graduates' understanding of software. We have selected the following sub areas:
This track is co-sponsored by the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS). The research areas to be covered include:
DIMACS, the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, cosponsors the workshop and organizes the computational geometry track. DIMACS is an NSF Science and Technology Center and a consortium of Rutgers and Princeton Universities, AT&T Labs, Bell Labs, and Bellcore. DIMACS' research programs are organized by some of its 150 member scientists as well as world leaders from other organizations, and are centered around "special focus" topics, important research topics poised for rapid development and with great potential for outreach to other fields of science, the mathematical sciences, or problems of industry or government. Current and pending special foci at DIMACS are massive data sets, network security and applications, mathematical support for molecular biology, discrete probability, and DNA Computing. The center runs over 20 workshops a year and hosts many visitors and postdocs. DIMACS' educational programs include a Leadership Program for K-12 teachers, a Young Scholars Program for high school students, and an intensive summer undergraduate research program open to students from all over the country. The DIMACS Research and Educational Institute (DREI) is an integrated summer program involving high school teachers, undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and established researchers, concentrating on a topic of current research interest. The summer 1997 topic will be cryptography and security. For further information about the center or its programs, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the center's home page at WWW:http://dimacs.rutgers.edu.
The Philosophy of the Workshop.
We believe that integrating research results into the curriculum will have a number of benefits. (1) It will invigorate faculty not at research institutions. (2) It will attract students to the field, prepare them for a career of change, and encourage some for graduate school. (3) It will broaden computer science as currently conceived and taught at the undergraduate level (perhaps opening the computing culture to underrepresented groups). Moreover, exposing students to research is a necessary part of educating and training them in the process of software development.
We further believe that the teaching of research to undergraduates can be as effectively accomplished by expert teachers as by the researchers themselves. To succeed in developing materials that successfully integrate research results, however, faculty at non- research institutions must develop ties to a research institution. Once curricular enhancements are established, materials can be disseminated and sustained by links among undergraduate teachers at the regional level.
We invite faculty who teach undergraduate computer science with experience in one of the areas of software engineering, functional progamming languages and artificial intelligence) to apply to attend this workshop. Pending support from NSF, we expect that the cost of the workshop will be $125 per person, and will include most meals, and that travel grants up to $350 (depending on geographical region) will be available.
Preference will be given in cases where two or three faculty from a single institution apply (or where the computer science teaching at an institution is conducted by one person).