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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

April 14, 2006

LAS, Engineering propose software engineering program

by Erin Rosacker

The presence of the dean of the College of Engineering at the April 11 Faculty Senate meeting was no fluke. Dean Mark Kushner was on hand to support the college's efforts in multiple spots on the agenda.

After lengthy debate in the previous meeting, a proposed engineering minor for students in non-engineering fields passed with no obstacles. Kushner said there was strong support for the program across campus, as well as the private sector.

He stated his goal of fully funding the program from outside sources, but added reallocation of current funds is another possible source of support. Kushner said companies and industry collaborators have indicated their strong interest in helping to fund the program.

Software engineering program proposal

In new business, the colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences joined together to create a proposal for a new academic degree program in software engineering. The program centers around a $1 million investment that would be shouldered by both colleges.

The program would be co-administered, with student advising shared by both schools. However, the colleges need to iron out the question of which college(s) could claim student enrollment.

Engineering officials had assumed the students would be enrolled in their college, while LAS officials assumed the students would choose their colleges individually. Kushner and LAS associate dean Zora Zimmerman agreed that negotiation of the issue is moving forward. If the two colleges can arrive at a solution by the senate's April 25 meeting and the Board of Regents approve, the curriculum could be in next year's catalog.

The College of Engineering remained on the agenda with a proposed change to its admission requirements. In recognition of the globalization of the workplace, college officials propose adding two years of a single foreign language for high school students to the list of requirements.

High school course recommendations also would include four years of both mathematics and science, as well as three years of social science. The majority of the current engineering students already meet this proposed requirement, including more than 90 percent of freshmen in the last four years. The changes would put the college on more equal footing with its peers and allow a reasonable time for implementation, according to the proposal.

Geoffroy's presentation

President Gregory Geoffroy made his annual address to the senate, updating members on the recent reaccreditation visit, Veishea, budget issues and recruitment and enrollment efforts.

Geoffroy also touched on the importance of ISU's relationships with community colleges, where enrollment is rapidly growing. He pointed out that nearly one fourth of every fall class is made up of transfer students, and 60 percent of those are transfers from Iowa's community colleges.

"Community colleges are a very important part of our enrollment picture at Iowa State," Geoffroy said. "They probably will become more so in the future. It is important that we partner with them on the transfer process. Enrollments are important because they determine the bottom line of the university, the financial condition of the university."

Budget models discussion

Jack Girton, chair of the Resource Policies and Allocations Council, presented the senate with an overview of the proposed budget models. He encouraged members to step out of their daily routines and examine what would be better for the university as a whole. The RPA council will take a look at the models this summer and prepare specific suggestions and solutions, taking into consideration any concerns or comments from faculty.

Girton stressed his belief that the current model is not leading ISU in the right direction and that it is time to try something different. He asked the group to consider that making a change is important, but that a workable model needs to be designed properly to avoid problems.

Geoffroy reiterated Girton's comments, saying that the model needs to be well designed before it is implemented, requiring good input in the process. One of the attractive parts of the model is that it rewards units that perform well, which the current one does not.

In other business, the College of Business introduced a proposal for a major in business economics. The program, which would be housed in the department of economics, requires no additional funds or courses for its creation.


The colleges of Engineering and Liberal Arts and Sciences have proposed a new degree program in software engineering. The program centers around a $1 million investment that would be shouldered by both colleges. The colleges need to iron out the question of which college(s) could claim student enrollment.