MISHAWAKA, IND. -- As technology around us grows more complex we must rise to the occasion. Therefore, Bethel will be beginning their first year with a new computer science major. The proposal for this major was passed in late October, and still has more planning left until it is complete. Alice Ramos, P.h.D, chair of the Mathematical and Engineering Sciences Department, is one of the people who saw a need for this major at Bethel.
Computer science, right now, if you just look at the number of jobs in the industry—they’re growing by leaps and bounds. Something like 24% growth over the next 10 years. The market growth for jobs in that area is huge and we want our students to be able to be involved in that,” said Ramos.When looking at the staff that Bethel available to teach the courses for this major, there is one member who is already accredited to teach the entry level courses. There is also an adjunct professor ready and willing to teach the computer science courses. However, they are still looking for someone who can teach those more complex upper level courses. Some of the courses foundational to the Computer science major include Introduction to Computer Science, Programming I, Programming II, Data Structures and Algorithms, Hardware and Operating Systems. There are already sponsors and people willing to partner with Bethel for internships and renovations, which is exciting for a brand-new major. Hopefully, the computer science lab will be housed in the basement of the science lab. One of the rooms will be designed as a teamwork lab for real-world situations. Carleton Inc., the country's leading provider of financial calculation software, loan origination compliance support and document delivery software, wants to design some problems to mimic those real-world situations. “Even though we just started the computer science major, I can already tell you students who are working in the area of computer science, just on the basis of completing programming I & II. One good example would be Samuel Heckard, he’s working at Carleton. Braden Fish is a current student who is interning at Carleton. And we’ve had students do internships at network solutions, and others have done web design,” said Ramos. One question Ramos has been working hard to answer as she is building this curriculum is, “How does studying computer science contribute to God’s kingdom?”. They will attempt to answer this question in the entry level computer science class as they discuss business ethics. Ramos is already looking at programming competitions both around the area and internationally. She hopes that when students are in their junior year of the program, they would all be able to compete in events like the International Conference on Supercomputing, the Federated Computing Research Conference and the International Collegiate Programming Contest. This project has been years in the making. However, this year, everything has fallen into place and Bethel has come around Ramos to support the major. “Everyone agreed that this was something that we needed,” she said. Ramos went on, “God has made this possible, and so far, everything has gone swimmingly. Putting the major on the books really shows a commitment to stem education in general at bethel. And we do it really well, we do a great job with stem education here at bethel and now we can add this. Which is a necessary piece.”