Willamette University has added a new school in response to the increasing popularity of its data and computer science programs.
The School of Computing and Information Sciences is the fifth school of this institution. The school will have its undergraduate program in computing and information science as well as its master's degree program in data sciences.
The university will also add a new Master's in Computer Science and plans to launch new undergraduate and graduate programs in both computer science and statistical.
Jameson Watts is the dean of this new school. He was previously a department head for these programs.
Watts said in a statement that "we are already growing and achieving in this area, and we will continue to focus our efforts on making computing and data sciences more accessible to students of all backgrounds, including art and design, students already in their careers, and students who wish to apply computing and info science in the areas of cybersecurity, climate changes, public health, and beyond."
Willamette will house its undergrad program at the Salem campus. Graduate programs will start this fall in Salem as well as Portland.
According to the university, computer science graduates have already found jobs in companies like Google, Adobe Pixar, and EA. Officials say that a liberal arts education paired with computer and data sciences programs prepares students to become future industry leaders, and continues the core mission of the university.
In a statement, President Stephen E. Thorsett said that computing and information sciences are some of the most popular degree programs and courses offered at Willamette. The formal creation of a new School allows us to enhance our current offerings and equip our students - from all backgrounds, career paths - with the technology skills they need to achieve their mission of creating a better world.
He said that the students would not only be able to write code, but also have the ability to think about ethics and work on the field with a human-centered approach. As technology advances, it is becoming more important to develop skills in critical thinking and traditional liberal arts.
The school will launch with eight core facilities in computer science (full-time), data science (full-time) and statistics. The school is currently hiring for three additional positions in the coming year.
This strategic move follows the merger of the Pacific Northwest College of Art with the School in Portland.