Symposium Survey Results (Click image to view)

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Growing CPATH Computer Poppies

Growing Poppies – A Holistic Approach

I have been growing California Poppies in my yard for several seasons now. At first, I had less than total success. But I learned from this several year long process that it takes the presence of all the elements to have a successful poppy crop. It takes water, good soil, fertilizer, correct planting depth, sun, season, and lastly, lots of water. And all of these things are equally important. Omit one, and no poppies will grow. Get them all right, and poppies will grow like crazy.
I failed because I tended to focus on one thing, say water for example, and forget about all the others. I would complain when the poppies didn’t grow, and would sometimes find and latch onto some simple reason to justify my failure.
“These poppies don’t grow because they don’t have water! If they just had water, they would grow! Why can’t everybody else see that!?”
These complaints sometimes made me feel better, but usually they didn’t, and they certainly didn’t make the poppies grow.
So now we are trying to grow computer poppies here with CPATH. Let’s suppose that we come out with some awesome solution to some problem we are discussing. All the elements have to be there to ensure success. A simplistic solution to a problem can actually be the reason for its failure. I realized this lesson from watching poppy seeds being washed away as I stood there with a hose, overwatering.
And for computer poppies, each of these elements is provided by different stakeholders. This is why the community building aspect of this project is important. Because these stakeholders have to be aware of the contribution they are making and the important piece that that contribution provides. Otherwise, that element will be missing, and the poppies will die.
Submitted by Dan Ross

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Meeting Details for Friday, April 25, 10AM

Our next CPATH meeting is scheduled for:

Friday, April 25th
ECS Deans' Conference Room, Riverside Hall 2018
Sacramento State Unversity

Driving directions and a campus parking map can be found at:

Visitor parking permits must be picked up in person at Visitor Information Booth #2 on State University Drive South, off College Town Drive. The Visitor Information Booth is clearly visible from the street and has a “drive-through” area.

The parking permits will be under the meeting name: CPATH ADVISORY BOARD. There are meetings immediately before and after ours, so please leave plenty of time to find a parking space.

The meeting is in the ECS Dean’s Conference Room, Riverside Hall 2018. You can find the building on the “Interactive Campus Map” by selecting that link at the above URL. You can also find parking lots by selecting the “Campus Parking Map (PDF)” at the above URL. You can park in any space on campus, including in the parking structures, as long as it is not a handicapped (or other specially marked space). (Ignore any signs in parking structures that say only students can park there.)

The department telephone number, in case you get lost, is 916-278-6834.

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"Designing a 21st Century Curriculum" by Dan Ross

Maybe the curriculum design exercise that follows could be a proposed activity in the application for the next grant. Maybe a workshop with group(s) for several flavors of degrees. Food for thought...Dan Ross
(You are invited to make comments on this post. Thank you in advance from the CPATH Team.)
An Exercise in Blue-Sky Curriculum Design


What constitutes an educated person in a society where computing technology is increasingly pervasive?

From the NSF CPATH initiative:
The CPATH vision is of a U.S. workforce with the computing competencies and skills imperative to the Nation’s health, security and prosperity in the 21st century. This workforce includes a cadre of computing professionals prepared to contribute to sustained U.S. leadership in computing in a wide range of application domains and career fields, and a broader professional workforce with knowledge and understanding of critical computing concepts, methodologies and techniques.

Goal: Design a 60-unit Associates degree with computing concepts as a core.

Ground Rules:

The Degree will have a 60-unit limit. General education is important. Computing concepts will be a fundamental core, in particular, creating an understanding of the capabilities of computing technology in a broad-based and forward looking way are important. Critical thinking is important. Knowledge management is extremely important.

Basic skill remediation, including language, math, and computer literacy skills, is beyond the scope of this exercise. Also not part of this exercise is updating traditional computer science curriculum.

Courses do not have to exist. There is total flexibility in design, any specific existing general education requirements do not have to be followed.

Sample Degree Titles

Computational General Education
General Education and Computing
Computational Informatics and Knowledge Management
I Know Computers, Plus!

Workshop Agenda

1) Vision 30 minutes
a. Vision
b. Pervasiveness of computing
c. Deliverables
d. Ground Rules
e. Some Sample Degree Titles

2) Degree Title
a. Brainstorm Descriptive Words/Phrases 10 minutes
b. Select a “Working” Degree Title 10 minutes
Long is OK for now

3) Course Selection/Creation
a. Brainstorm Descriptive Course Titles 10 minutes
Descriptive Titles
Existing courses are ok
Course does not have to exist yet

b. Course Selection 10 minutes
c. Paring Courses Down to 60 units 10 minutes

4) Wrapping Up
a. Refine the Degree Title 10 minutes

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"Symptoms of Growth" by Dan Ross

As I read the Executive Summary of the ICER report ( several key things stand out.

1) The content of the field has changed radically.
2) There is no uniform agreement about what constitutes Computing.
3) Graduates lack a systems approach to deal with complex systems.

What do these three things have in common? They are all symptoms of growth. Moore’s Law is alive and well, inexorably driving growth of the entire field.

Here’s an analogy. I occasionally hear the phrase “Google is the next Microsoft,” as if Microsoft has gone away somewhere. In truth, Microsoft is alive and well and bigger than ever. We forget that browsers and other software run on Windows.

This pattern repeats as increasing computer power and connectivity make more things possible in more and more fields, continually adding to the breadth and depth of human knowledge. We still need the Microsofties, but now we ALSO need the Googlers. In addition, we need the geographical scientists, the bioinformaticists, the weather modelers, the chip verifiers, etc. We need them all - and then we go to India to get even more skilled people.

1) So has the content of the field changed radically? Are linked-lists gone? I don’t think so. There is just a whole lot MORE going on, with some bits of knowledge more important to some people than to others.
2) Is there no uniform agreement about what constitutes Computing? Of course there isn’t, if the only word we have to describe Computing is “Computing”.
3) Do graduates lack a systems approach to deal with complex systems? Maybe, if they are narrowly trained in one traditional discipline, with no room in the curriculum to add more new stuff.

So, what is the solution? Is the solution “specialization”, (a depth-first approach), or is it “interdisciplinarianism” (a breadth-first approach), or is it something in between, or is it something else entirely?

Please comment!

Dan Ross
CIS/Engineering, Folsom Lake College
Folsom, CA

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The Global STEM Imperative

"The more recent goals—to internationalize colleges and universities and promote global citizenship for students—have occurred coincidentally with the realization that U.S. students are becoming less interested in preparing for careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Just as there is a plethora of documents devoted to the education of students to work in a global world, there is an equivalent number of reports addressing the needs to create a broader pipeline of students interested in STEM fields, to enhance the number of well-qualified teachers in the STEM disciplines, and to promote a greater understanding of how essential these fields are to the future of society and to the national and global economies."

For the complete article © 2008 Karen A. Holbrook in EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 43, no. 2 (March/April 2008) please follow this link:

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Salaries Strong for Scientists and Engineers

From the Sloan Career Corner Center:

"Employers are projecting a 16% increase in college hiring in 2007-08, the fifth consecutive year of double-digit increases, and starting salaries are reflecting this positive growth, according to the 22nd edition of Salaries of Scientists, Engineers and Technicians: A Summary of Salary Surveys, recently released by the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. Among the findings:
Chemical engineering bachelor's degree recipients received the highest average starting salary offer in summer 2007 ($59,361). In contrast, psychology graduates received an average offer of just $31,631.
Gains were seen in starting salary offers across all science and engineering fields in summer 2007, with the most significant increases in chemical engineering (up 5.4%), civil engineering (up 5.4%) and computer engineering (up 4.8%).
By occupation, median salaries were highest at the bachelor's level in 2003 in engineering ($70,000) and computer science and mathematics ($68,000), and lowest in the life sciences ($42,000) and social and behavioral sciences ($45,000).
Information technology (IT) salaries are back on the rise after three years of relatively stagnant pay. In 2007, IT staffers can expect to earn a median base salary of $74,000, and $78,000 in total compensation. IT managers can expect to earn a median base salary of $97,000, and $105,000 in total compensation.
Find out more about salary ranges for careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computing, and medicine online... "

Article recommended by:
Emir José Macari, Dean College of Engineering and Computer Science Riverside Hall 2014 California State University, Sacramento 6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6023(916) 278-6127 phone(916) 278-5949 fax

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Photos from Friday's Symposium

A totally engaged discussion group focuses on "The Right Message."

Symposium panelist, Dan Francisco, contributes enthusiastically to further discussion.

Glenda Golobay, K-12 Partner from Sac City School District, leads one of four discussion groups.

Bernard Gibson, moderator for the symposium, directs group reports as impetus for future CPATH action.

Students were an important constituency represented in the symposium guest list.

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Intel holds technology symposium-Folsom Telegraph

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