DCS is new, and so am I!

Digital and Computational Studies (DCS) is a new program at Bates. Like all new programs, it doesn’t yet know what its courses will grow up to be, who its students will be, or what great things DCS graduates will go on to do. Hence why I chose Phyllis Graber Jensen’s photo of a Bates student competing in the long jump as a representative image for this post: we’ve landed, dynamically, after an intense sprint forward from a complete standstill.

Like Digital and Computational Studies, I am new to Bates. However, unlike DCS, I have some ideas as to what its courses will be like, and what I hope for our students. For example, I believe we need to develop a course of study that does not assume students have prior experience with the practice of computing or computational thinking: every student Bates admits should, with ardor and devotion, be able to succeed in their study of computing in the DCS program at Bates.

Now, I have more thoughts than that, but this is just a first post. Unpacking these ideas, and exploring what it means to create an interdisciplinary program in computing that engages computationally across the breadth of the liberal arts is not the stuff of light-hearted first posts. This year, I’m working on listening to faculty, staff, and students to understand Bates, its history, and its culture. This “listening tour” will inform the development of values, curricular structure, learning goals, outcomes, and the content and method of the courses we offer.

But I won’t do those things alone. Over the next two years, DCS will be hiring two more faculty. The empathetic foundation of the listening tour will not just inform the program, but also guide the hiring of two more faculty in DCS, both of whom will play a significant role in defining this program at Bates College. Watch this space for more information on that front.

If you have questions about . the program, its direction, or just want to reach out and say “hi,” please feel free to drop me a note (mjadud@bates), or leave a comment below.

3 Responses to “DCS is new, and so am I!”

  1. Rammon Green says:

    Matt:

    I’m carefully watching the development of this program. Its one I’m really interested in. I’m just wondering if there are gonna be any drawbacks to being in the first “test batch” of students haha. I’m a nontraditional (25yrs old) so time is of the essence to me. Nonetheless, I’m sure that with a little ardor and devotion you and your staff will have it running smoothly.

    All the way from Jamaica,
    Rammon

    • Matt Jadud says:

      Hi Rammon,

      Don’t think of them as a “test batch…” think of them as the FIRST GENERATION OF BOBCATS POISED TO ROCK THE COMPUTATIONAL WORLD! Hyperbole aside, I think there can be (external) points of challenge throughout a student’s time in college, whether it is a trusted professor or mentor joining the faculty, moving, or retiring, these can all be moments of change (and, sometimes, difficulty). I personally think that the start of a new program is an exciting opportunity for students, because their voice is so powerful in that moment in shaping the future of an entire course of study for years to come.

      Feel free to ask questions throughout the term/year as you have them, either here or to me via email, and I’ll do my best to address them in the blog.

  2. Rammon Green says:

    Matt:

    Hyperbole or not, that’s definitely a nice way of putting it. Bates comes very close to what I look for in a “dream school” and I was especially elated to discover that you’d be offering DCS. Personally, I find Bates’ infusion of the liberal arts into the Computer Science and Computation curricula a particularly attractive launchpad into a career in Data Science. I’ll definitely keep in touch.

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