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Board of Trustees to Vote on New Major

JOHN WITCZAK ’21 | STAFF WRITER •Wabash just got one step closer to enlarging its curriculum. Thanks to the foresight and initiative of William Turner, Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and his colleagues, the proposal
of adding Computer Science to the list of available majors is just one Board of Trustees vote away from becoming a reality.

Although the official vote is still a few weeks down the road, being scheduled for November 8-9, the prospect of a new major raises a few questions for both current and prospective students.

In order to gain a better understanding of the process, The Bachelor spoke with Scott Feller, Dean of the College and the head of the Academic Policy Committee. For those unfamiliar with the role of the APC, it is a body created to ensure that “Changes in the College’s academic program are consistent with the Colleges mission, plans, and financial resources.” Having been asked how long it would take for Computer Science to become an official major if given the nod by the Board, Dean Feller said that “It depends. The major will be published in the Academic Bulletin for the 2019-2020 school year. We expect freshmen to be able to begin the major in the fall though that may be contingent on a successful hire to add to our Computer Science offerings.”

Given that it looks like the Computer Science major may be available only for future freshman, we inquired as to whether there was any chance a current student could either switch his major to Computer Science or decide to go for a double major. “It may be possible for a current student to declare the Computer Science major, but this would depend on which courses he has already taken and the schedule of offering new courses,” Feller said. “Since some of these courses will only be offered in alternate years it would presumably be difficult for a current upperclassman to complete the requirements.” It looks like if you’re an upperclassman, the Computer Science ship may have already sailed. For freshman and possibly some sophomores, though, you may just be able to squeeze the necessary courses in before graduation.

 

Regardless of whether or not current students will be able to take advantage
of the new major, it is certainly a good move for Wabash College as we bring the curriculum into the 21st century. With many of our fellow NCAC schools already touting a Computer Science major, such as Denison University, Wittenberg University, and Oberlin College, Wabash will be able to compete head on for talented young men interested in going into the field.

If you’re still wondering what the odds are that the Board of Trustees goes through with the proposal, just check the employment page of the College’s website. It reads: “Wabash College invites applications for a tenure-track position in computer science, to start July 1, 2019, in support of a new computer science major that we anticipate offering starting the fall 2019 semester.” Feller said the applications will begin being reviewed next month.