Computer and Information Sciences Programs
Computer Information Systems A.S., B.S.
Computer Science A.S., B.S.
It is an exciting time to pursue the study of computers! It is difficult today to conceive of fields of human endeavor that have not been profoundly impacted by the growing use of computers throughout society. The computer's ability to store and process information has brought about amazing change in our daily lives and this will certainly continue in the coming years. The discipline of computing sciences itself has come of age. Beginning five decades ago as a specialization within mathematics or electrical engineering, computing has grown in scope and depth, having matured as a fully independent discipline in academics, with multiple fields of study and countless areas of emphases. Today, most projections reveal a future need for more computer oriented professionals than today's colleges and universities are supplying on a nationwide basis.
Here at IWU several programs of study in the computing sciences are offered to meet the career interests and God-given natural inclinations of different students. These are offered as two majors, Computer Science (CSC) and Computer Information Systems (CIS). Information systems are more on the applied side of the discipline, and a professional career in this field evokes an image of one whose work entails working with and around computers, but not necessarily centered in the business of computing. Computer science, by contrast, is more theoretical and lends itself to preparing for a career working directly in the computer industry. All computer majors consist of a common computing core, major specific requirements, an elective requirement within the topic of computing, and a senior year sequence. All of these majors prepare students to be problem solvers, helping to create and maintain software systems for the betterment of society.
Since Computer Information Systems (CIS) majors purpose to work in an industry or area of commerce that is not computer specific, CIS majors take a sequence of courses in an area of specialization. Students may elect to complete one of the approved course sequences in the disciplines of Business, Communications, Computer Graphics, or Internet Development, or to develop a personalized emphasis track in another discipline. Computer Science (CSC) majors complete a more demanding supporting course sequence in math and physics, and pursue computing theory to a greater depth. Several emphasis tracks are offered in the science, such as Languages, Computation, Networking and Systems, or Software Engineering. A cross-disciplinary track is also possible for Computer Science students with a second major in selected disciplines.
Upper division courses specific to each major are available as electives to students majoring in other computing fields, along with other courses offered purely on an elective basis. All the majors develop an understanding of systematic problem-solving techniques and the systems approach to the design of solutions. Intentional focus is placed upon education, the training of the mind, rather than mere repetition of previously applied techniques. To that end, all computing majors are exposed to a variety of high level computer programming languages, such as C++, Java, Python or Ada. All required courses require a grade of "C" or better, and all prerequisite courses must be passed with a grade of "C" or better to qualify for following courses. No student may take two majors or a major and a minor within the Computer and Information Sciences Department.
The senior year experience course sequence gives students firsthand experience in creating an entire system from start to finish, and also points the way forward for further scientific inquiry and self-guided learning. IWU computing alumni have consistently rated the this experience as extremely beneficial in finalizing their preparation for a professional career.
Programming for class assignments is done on a variety computer equipment as well as through software freely available for installation on personally-owned machines. All of the computer classrooms and laboratories are served by both the wired campus computer network, and wireless network service. Additionally, each dormitory room has full connectivity to the campus network.
Recognizing that so much learning takes place outside of the classroom, faculty strive to develop personal relationships with the students and create scenarios that foster student interactions among themselves. These include social events, a student chapter of the professional society Association of Computing Machinery, and other opportunities to dialog with students in other majors across campus, as well as computing majors at other institutions. Across the curricula, students are encouraged towards professionalism, a view of their future not so much as one of employment, but as a career in computing, serving Jesus Christ by changing their world through technology.
General Education Competencies
Students in this major meet the general education competencies by taking the approved standard courses.