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Welcome to the Computer Science Department!

Whether you are a student, parent, or a prospective faculty member, I would like to welcome you to our Department. The faculty and staff of this Department are proud of what it is, and what it will become. We recognize that the most important part of our Department is its students, and we strive always to be student friendly. Our goal is to give our students an outstanding education and outstanding opportunities to participate in cutting edge research projects. We encourage both graduate and undergraduate majors to participate with faculty in research. We are also committed to showing our majors what it means to be a computer scientist through seminars and active student chapters ACM and ACMW (Association for Computing Machinery/Women).

Students working on a project

This Department was established in 1967 as a BS only granting Department. Over the years we have grown and strengthened all facets of our program. We now grant BS, MS, MCS, and PhD degrees. We have a diverse student body and faculty. For over a decade our undergraduate emphases in Science, Digital Systems, Information Systems, and now Bioinformatics have been ABET accredited. We are one of six Departments in the College of Engineering. At the graduate level our faculty perform research in a wide variety of fields. Computer security, parallel systems, assistive technologies, data mining, software engineering, artificial intelligence, autonomous agents, and bioinformatics are all areas of active research.

In addition to offering all of the educational and research opportunities of an outstanding Computer Science Department, we can also offer our students, faculty, and staff a lifestyle that is outdoor-oriented with access to all of the cultural experiences of a larger city. USU is located in Northern Utah’s beautiful Cache Valley in the city of Logan. With a population of 50,000 we have access to all of the amenities of a modern city, and are still only minutes away from outstanding ski areas, wilderness camping, mountain biking, etc. Logan is host to the nation’s longest one day bike race – LOTOJA, and the Top of Utah Marathon. In addition, Logan is within driving distance of some of America’s premier National Parks, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. We are only about an hour away from the Salt Lake Valley with its international airport and world class cultural opportunities.

If you are considering a major in computer science that will prepare you for work in a challenging and intellectually stimulating field with outstanding opportunities for advancement, think USU/CS. If you are looking for a graduate program that will give you the flexibility and facilities needed to develop your research skills, think USU/CS. Or, if you are a computer scientist looking for a faculty position with a Department that will challenge you professionally and intellectually, and support you in meeting your goals, think USU/CS.

Mission

Student working with Virtual Reality

Computer Science is the discipline at USU that seeks to develop a scientific foundation from which to pursue such topics as computer programming, computer design, computer information systems, artificial intelligence, parallelism, software systems, the algorithmic solution of problems, and the algorithmic process itself. The science of computing involves the relationships among these topics as well as the topics themselves. Computers are so pervasive in our society that it is hard to imagine a well-rounded USU graduate who is not computer literate.

The mission of the Department of Computer Science of Utah State University is to maintain a program of excellence in teaching, research, and service. At the undergraduate level, students are given the opportunity to obtain a well-founded understanding of the principles and theories of the science of computing. In addition, the curriculum presents a University Studies program that gives students the social, ethical, and liberal education needed to be positive contributors to society as a whole. Students receiving a bachelor's degree in computer science are ready to enter the work force as productive computer scientists or to continue their education at the graduate level. Their foundation in computer science is such that they can be life-long learners in their chosen field. At the graduate level, students receive both quality and technically current instruction, and leading-edge research opportunities. In addition to responsibilities for program excellence and professional development, faculty members are committed to service through continuing education programs and research that contributes to their field. At the department level, students, faculty, and the program itself are frequently assessed to assure that this mission is being fulfilled.

Department's Academic Objectives

The core objective of the Department is to fulfill its mission as defined in its mission statement.

The following categorized objectives, when met, will serve to fulfill the mission of the Department.

Student Outcomes

The student outcomes of the Computer Science Department are governed by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) which has established the following student outcomes:
  1. An ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the discipline
  2. An ability to analyze a problem, and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution
  3. An ability to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs
  4. An ability to function effectively on teams to accomplish a common goal
  5. An understanding of professional, ethical, legal, security and social issues and responsibilities
  6. An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  7. An ability to analyze the local and global impact of computing on individuals, organizations, and society
  8. Recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in continuing professional development
  9. An ability to use current techniques, skills, and tools necessary for computing practice.
  10. An ability to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the tradeoffs involved in design choices.
  11. An ability to apply design and development principles in the construction of software systems of varying complexity.

Curriculum

  1. Each course delivered to computer science majors will be technically current, and pedagogically sound. Course content and pedagogy will be determined by established by curriculum committees, and approved at the Department level.
  2. Where prerequisites are given, they will be appropriate and necessary.
  3. Both theory and application will be integrated into the curriculum. In this way, a student completing the program will be ready to contribute to their field, and have the necessary intellectual tools to continue to learn after graduation, whether it be in a structured educational environment or a self-taught environment.
  4. The curriculum will include sufficient course work in the liberal arts to give graduates the breadth needed to be contributing members of society. In addition, ethics and values will be taught to give students the tools to needed to be positive contributors to society.
  5. The undergraduate computer science degree, and all options within it, will be accredited by the appropriate professional organization(s).
  6. At the upper undergraduate and graduate level, students will have the opportunity to take leading-edge 5000-level courses in each of the three research areas of the Department; namely, artificial intelligence, parallelism, and software systems. Courses at the 6000-level will present cutting-edge knowledge in their area of emphasis.

Service

  1. Faculty and staff will be service oriented.
  2. Where appropriate, faculty members will participate in extension and distance learning programs.
  3. Faculty members will make themselves available to the community as experts and consultants.
  4. Faculty members will actively contribute to the scientific community.

Students

  1. The Department will devote time and resources to recruit and retain the best students available to the program.
  2. Students will be frequently and meaningfully evaluated as they progress through the program.
  3. Input from students concerning curriculum, teaching, research, and the program in general will be sought and used.

Advisement

  1. Each undergraduate major will have an assigned adviser who is a tenure-track faculty member.
  2. Forms, check sheets, etc. which accurately and completely describe program requirements will be maintained and available to all majors.
  3. The Department will maintain contact with its majors through electronic means and meetings with advisers.

Teaching

  1. Quality teaching is valued.
  2. All tenure-track faculty members will be expected to have adequate breadth of background to teach computer science classes at all levels in the curriculum.
  3. Teaching is a significant component of every tenure-track faculty member's role and performance as a teacher will be considered in all faculty evaluations.
  4. Where resources and facilities permit, teaching techniques and technologies that are most effective for computer science instruction will be used.
  5. In addition to classroom instruction, laboratory and significant out-of-class homework experiences will be measurable components of the program.
  6. Student and peer evaluations of teaching performance will be sought and used.

Research

  1. Research and graduate student supervision are important components of a tenure-track faculty member's role.
  2. Research is an important means by which the Department advances the state of the art in computer science.
  3. The graduate student's supervisory committee will insure that a plan A thesis contains an appropriate component of originality and a plan B report presents research results of an appropriate level.
  4. Faculty members supervising graduate students will be current in their respective area(s) of emphasis.
  5. Faculty members will seek external funding as needed to enable them to maintain their research program and support graduate research assistants.
  6. Faculty member will publish and/or present the results of their research through appropriate channels.