May 17, 2010 - Board of Trustees Eliminates Albion's Computer Science Major
In similar letters from Paul Tobias (Chairman, Albion College Board of Trustees) sent to the Albion faculty and the Albion family, the Board of Trustees reported that they have eliminated computer science as a major at Albion College and that Albion College may continue to offer a computer science minor. In the process, an untenured Assistant Professor has been notified his position will be discontinued after the 2010-2011 academic year. The letter to students also indicated "Students who are currently enrolled in the affected programs will receive personalized advising to enable them to accomplish their academic goals and fulfill their graduation requirements for their major in a timely manner."
Albion College has offered a major in computer science since 1998. Prior to 1998, the department offered a major called computational mathematics, which included a significant number of computer science courses. The department has offered coursework in computer science since the 1970s.
The computer science position cut is one of 15 full-time equivalent positions that have been eliminated from the current level of 162 full and part-time faculty. Tobias indicated "this reduction is absolutely necessary to maintain the educational and fiscal integrity of Albion College". While Tobias stated "These reductions reflect recommendations from the administration as well as the faculty Curriculum and Resources Committee," the decision came despite a significant disagreement with the faculty about the process of identifying faculty and program cuts as reported in a recent article from Inside Higher Ed. When questioned about providing additional rationale of the decision, President Randall responded "The Board did make a decision in a thoughtful and deliberate way. No further explanation of the program and position eliminations will be forthcoming."
The letters from Tobias indicate this decision was in response to broad questions such as "how do we best prepare our students for meaningful ... work in the 21st century?" The views of the department and the Board of Trustees differ in the role Albion College can play in this endeavor. There has long been a demand in both industry and government for people with training in mathematics, statistics, and computer science. Even in a weak economy, the job market remains strong for mathematics and computer science majors. "Computer and mathematical science occupations are projected to add almost 785,700 new jobs from 2008 to 2018. As a group, these occupations are expected to grow more than twice as fast as the average for all occupations in the economy. Demand for workers in computer and mathematical occupations will be driven by the continuing need for businesses, government agencies, and other organizations to adopt and utilize the latest technologies. " (Tomorrow's Jobs, U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics). The department will continue to offer excellent preparation for students interested in rigorous study of mathematical and computational concepts and remains committed to fulfilling its mission.