By Curt Yeomans
Lyla Roberts, dean of Clayton State University's College of Information Technology and Mathematics, and members of her staff, had their fingers crossed on Monday -- and they remain crossed today.
Clayton State will seek permission from the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia today to establish two new degrees in the areas of computer science and teaching.
Officials from Clayton State's College of Information Technology and Mathematics are hoping to expand their computer-related degrees beyond information technology, so they can dip into computer science. Their goal is to broaden the college's offerings, and they think they have their hook to sell students on a computer science program: Offer an emphasis in computer gaming development.
"We are facing a serious shortage in the computer science field across the U.S.," said Roberts. "We think the way to become more attractive to students is to incorporate certain aspects that are interesting to them."
The regents are meeting today and tomorrow in Atlanta for their monthly meeting. The board's Committee on Academic Affairs will vote today on allowing Clayton State to establish a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, and a master's degree in teaching with majors in English and mathematics.
Clayton State already offers associate's and bachelor's degrees in information technology. The new computer science degree, if approved, would be a 120 semester-hour program which would admit its first students in the Fall 2009 semester.
Roberts promised the program would be "very rigorous," because students would have to take 20 computer science courses, as well as several math classes, including calculus and advanced math.
"They are going to get a very good background in the technical areas," said the dean.
The establishment of the master's degree in teaching would represent the fifth master's degree created at Clayton State since 2005. The program would produce certified math or English teachers for grades 6-12.
Larnell Flanagan, the coordinator of CSU's undergraduate teaching program, declined to discuss the proposed master's-level program until after the regents vote on the issue. "The Master of Arts in Teaching was developed in response to the call for more certified teachers in the areas of mathematics and English," states the summary for the proposal in the Board of Regents' agenda package.
The packet also says the university is responding to a 2003 meeting with superintendents in Clayton, Henry, Fayette, Fulton and Spalding counties. During that meeting, local public school chiefs expressed frustration with the difficulty of finding highly qualified teachers in the areas of English, mathematics and science.
Roberts and Flanagan plan to attend the committee meeting to offer support for the proposed degree programs.