FAQ re Digital and Computational Studies
We hope to have a lively and diverse group of students pursue this major. The field of computational studies has not always had the best track record for attracting women and under-represented minorities. If you are talking to students who have traditionally been excluded/discouraged from studying computing (women, URMs), please consider encouragement like the following:
=== BEGIN ENCOURAGEMENT DIALOGUE ===
You know, if you’re interested in INSERT-MAJOR-HERE, you might also want to think about exploring our first course in Digital and Computational Systems, a new major at Bates. For example, in MAJOR, it is common for graduates to…
PSYCHOLOGY: model how we sense and perceive the world, as well as automate the collection of data from human and/or animal subjects through the use of scripts and sensors.
ENV. SCI: manage large datasets about the world, design, deploy, and analyze data from sensor networks, as well as model possible environmental futures using computational methods.
ENG/LIT: bring computational tools to the analysis of text, as well as explore the textuality and intertextuality of ideas through digital means.
BIO: rely heavily on computation for the design, execution, and analysis of biological experiments, whether they are in micro- or macro biological contexts, including pharmacology, medicine, crop science, and more.
PRE-MED: Similar to Bio.
ART: blend their practice deeply with the digital and computational, whether it be through interactive environments, smart clothing, or animated and virtual worlds.
… (feel free to talk to me if you have questions about how DCS might blend with other majors…)
=== END ENCOURAGEMENT DIALOGUE ===
If students have any questions, they’re welcome to reach out to me via email. If you have a woman or URM who seems hesitant because they suggest they are “no good at computers,” or “won’t do well,” feel free to encourage them to speak to Matt Jadud (firstname.lastname@example.org); get them in the course, tell them they can always adjust their schedule during the first week of courses. We can’t change the demographics of engagement with STEM and computing if we don’t begin by challenging students’ deeply enculturated biases about taking the first step.