Message from the Dean

Dean Pic

Innovating today for the careers of tomorrow

As a comprehensive research and educational institution, the University of Colorado Boulder innovates. We maintain a leadership role relative to our peers by innovating across an impressive range of academic fields. Even with declining state support, CU-Boulder has continued to advance in new areas and is doing so in remarkable ways.

A critical part of this process includes development of new classes, courses of study, certificates, minors and majors that position our students for a lifetime of learning and success. Such reinvention is especially critical for a generation that will probably need to plan for knowledge-based careers that rely heavily on electronic tools and media. Moreover, today’s students will need to be able to pursue careers that have not yet been imagined and, indeed, they’ll have many opportunities to define their own pathways to success.

This semester, two key curricular innovations have taken major steps toward implementation. Both courses of study are planned for 2013, and they will have significant benefits to our students, campus, community and state. First, our Board of Regents recently approved a new Computer Science Bachelor’s of Arts degree that will be delivered in the College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty in the Department of Computer Science (which resides in the College of Engineering and Applied Science) will teach these courses, and the coursework in the new Computer Science degree will match that of the existing CS degree closely.

However, students will be arts and sciences students and will have the full range of curricular options available to other A&S students. In addition, students will either concentrate or major in existing arts and sciences disciplines. The degree will serve students who have broad interests, presenting opportunities for transformational learning.

The reception to the new degree by local industry has been nothing short of outstanding. Our area boasts a “Silicon Flatirons” industry group, organized by Dean of Law Philip Weiser. The group learned about the degree and provided us with excellent feedback and guidance about how we might recruit and train the very best students in the country.

Our industry partners also expect a vibrant and large-scale job market for graduates (perhaps based on internship programs available for students still earning their degrees). The prospects for the degree are truly exciting, not just for industry but also for our campus, where brilliant students will combine programming skill and talent with deep knowledge of disciplines such as linguistics, chemistry, biology, literature, anthropology, sociology and many others. We have been investing in the degree and working to aid current students who wish to pursue the degree.

The second curricular innovation will be a new business minor delivered by the Leeds School of Business and fostered by Dean David Ikenberry. Like the Computer Science degree, this minor will give students from across campus a competitive edge in the new economy. They will gain key insights into business theory and practice, which will be especially valuable for arts and sciences students. The degree gives our students the chance to find their passion in a major or field of study while learning highly marketable, concrete skills in business. We applaud CU supporter Christian Anschutz for his $2 million gift to the program, and see it as a major investment in CU, the metro area and the state.

The implications for our campus and region of these degrees are tremendous. Most importantly, they represent new resources and investments in our students, our state and in the Front Range. Specifically, the new degree and minor will give CU-Boulder significant recruiting advantages to keep the best students in the state, and to bring the very best students to our area from around the country. The strong prospects for employment for these students will draw further investment in our area and generate additional opportunities in the new knowledge economy. We are proud to innovate in ways that will directly impact our students and state.

Steven Leigh
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences