TACOMA, Wash. – Computer science professors from liberal arts colleges around the country will gather at University of Puget Sound this summer to advance a common goal.
Their aim: to ensure that undergraduate students, in the special setting of the liberal arts campus, get a top-quality computer science education that will help them into successful careers across multiple fields.
The Liberal Arts Computer Science Consortium (LACS) includes 17 selected colleges that have worked together for three decades to advance this goal. They will hold their annual summer meeting at Puget Sound from Thursday to Saturday, June 25–27.
“The significance of LACS is hard to overstate,” said Brad Richards, professor and chair of Puget Sound’s mathematics and computer science department. “The group has been responsible for the liberal arts perspective being accepted and incorporated into national computer science curriculum guidelines. Our program here at Puget Sound also has benefited in numerous ways. It’s an honor to host the LACS group for their 2015 summer meeting.”
The meeting of delegates from some of the nation’s top-rated liberal arts colleges gives educators the opportunity to share innovations and ideas they have developed in their classrooms and to compare data on their programs. They also discuss major trends in enrollment, hiring, and teaching. This year’s sessions will include presentations on topics such as:
- The future of textbooks
- Dealing with exploding college enrollments in computer science
- Faculty hiring: problems and solutions
There will be discussions about teaching with a new programming language and a report on a recent outreach workshop. As a group, LACS members regularly engage in curriculum development, scholarly research, and other projects to advance the discipline.
LACS was begun in 1984 by nine computer scientists, at a time when liberal arts colleges were just beginning to embrace the teaching of computer science. Because liberal arts students are expected
to achieve a breadth of study across the arts, sciences, and humanities, the standard curriculum for a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science—including 20 or more computer science, math, and lab courses—was unrealistic for liberal arts campuses.
The LACS group consulted, and quickly grew, and in 1986 created a Model Curriculum for a Liberal Arts Degree in Computer Science. The curriculum was widely implemented across the country, and has been updated and revised in subsequent versions.
These days the vast majority of the top 40 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report survey have fully developed computer science major programs. For a full list of LACS members visit: lacs.edu/content/who-we-are.
The three days of private LACS sessions at Puget Sound will be held in the Tahoma Room, Commencement Hall.
To learn more about The Liberal Arts Computer Science Consortium (LACS) visit: lacs.edu.
To learn more about Puget Sound’s mathematics and computer science program visit: pugetsound.edu/academics/departments-and-programs/undergraduate/math-and-computer-science.