Arkansas Tech University is making preparations to provide a path for those seeking to be computer science teachers for K-12 schools in Arkansas.
In November, the Arkansas Tech Faculty Senate approved the program proposal for a new bachelor’s degree in computer science education. The next steps in the process will be review by the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees and the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. If approved by those bodies, the Arkansas Tech Department of Computer and Information Science intends to begin offering the degree during the fall 2016 semester.
“This is an exciting step for our department and our university,” said Dr. David Hoelzeman, head of the Arkansas Tech Department of Computer and Information Science. “Arkansas Tech is well-positioned to be a leader in the development of computer science teachers because of the strength of our program and the strength of our College of Education. It will be a great partnership that will ultimately benefit students around the state and region.”
ATU offers bachelor degrees in computer science and information systems that are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET, Inc., the national accrediting board for engineering and technology.
When Arkansas Tech achieved those distinctions, it became the first university in Arkansas and one of only 24 nationwide to receive ABET accreditation in information systems. ATU was one of the first three institutions in Arkansas to have its computer science program accredited by ABET.
“There will be a great demand for computer science teachers in the years to come as we, as a state, strive to produce a generation with the ability to code,” said Dr. Mary Gunter, dean of the Arkansas Tech College of Education and Graduate College. “Arkansas Tech intends to be at the forefront of meeting this demand by producing graduates who, like all of our teacher candidates, understand that teaching is a noble calling and critical to the continued development of our economy and our society.”
This week (Dec. 7-13) also is Computer Science Education Week, sponsored by code.org, which reports on its website that there are almost 600,000 computing jobs available in the U.S., but only 38,175 computer science graduates entered the workforce last year.