CSU Expands Access to Improve Computer Science, Teaching

COLUMBUS, GA. – Columbus State University has received federal money to build on its efforts to improve computer science teaching and learning in regional high schools and middle schools.

 

The TSYS School of Computer Science will use a $117,369 National Science Foundation grant for a two-year initiative, “Broadening Participation in Computing.”

Plans include programs targeting middle school girls and workshops for regional high school teachers, including a residential summer program to accommodate long-distance commuters.

The grant is part of a larger NSF award for “Georgia Computes,” a similar, statewide initiative directed by Georgia Tech. Columbus State and Armstrong Atlantic State are partners in this initiative. Thus, Columbus State’s service area is about one-third of the state, covering the west-central and southwest regions.

“This is the result of a lot of work by our faculty and strong relationships we have developed over the past couple years with Georgia Tech,” said Wayne Summers, professor and chair of the TSYS School of Computer Science.

In reaching out to middle school-age girls as a long-range approach to drawing more women into the field, Summers and his staff will conduct weekend and summer activities onsite for Girls Inc. of Columbus and Girls Scouts of Historic Georgia, based in Columbus.

These workshops will introduce participants to building Lego robots; learning “Scratch,” a programming language for interactive stories, animations, games, music and art; and learning “Alice,” which guides programmers of all ages in creating their own animated stories without realizing they’re writing code.

Summers said such activities are key to reversing a long-running trend illustrated by women comprising just 10 percent of computer science degree-seekers nationally. However, that figure is 18 percent at Columbus State — a result of various prior and ongoing initiatives, said Summers.

Those initiatives include a recently established games programming degree program and a “bridging class” through which high school students study animation and games programming, and interactive programming. They also learn about computer science-related career and study opportunities at Columbus State.

To help teachers, Summers and his faculty will use a portion of the NSF grant to develop an online Master of Science endorsement program in computer science education to be available through Columbus State’s College of Education and Health Professions.

Separate from the grant, but in line with TSYS School of Computer Science’s mission, the school will host an Oct. 8 GEMS (Games, Education, Modeling and Simulation) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at CSU’s Cunningham Center. Themed “Games Seriously,” the event focuses on the serious side of the games industry and will feature competitions, demonstrations and widely respected speakers representing academia, government and the defense industry. The symposium is open to the public ($20 per person), and local high schools are encouraged to send local students to the event as well. Online registration is open at http:// ccld.colstate.edu/event_registration.asp.

For more information, call 706-568-2410 or go to http://cs.colstate.edu/.

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CSU Expands Access to Improve Computer Science, Teaching

COLUMBUS, GA. – Columbus State University has received federal money to build on its efforts to improve computer science teaching and learning in regional high schools and middle schools.

The TSYS School of Computer Science will use a $117,369 National Science Foundation grant for a two-year initiative, “Broadening Participation in Computing.”

Plans include programs targeting middle school girls and workshops for regional high school teachers, including a residential summer program to accommodate long-distance commuters.

The grant is part of a larger NSF award for “Georgia Computes,” a similar, statewide initiative directed by Georgia Tech. Columbus State and Armstrong Atlantic State are partners in this initiative. Thus, Columbus State’s service area is about one-third of the state, covering the west-central and southwest regions.

“This is the result of a lot of work by our faculty and strong relationships we have developed over the past couple years with Georgia Tech,” said Wayne Summers, professor and chair of the TSYS School of Computer Science.

In reaching out to middle school-age girls as a long-range approach to drawing more women into the field, Summers and his staff will conduct weekend and summer activities onsite for Girls Inc. of Columbus and Girls Scouts of Historic Georgia, based in Columbus.

These workshops will introduce participants to building Lego robots; learning “Scratch,” a programming language for interactive stories, animations, games, music and art; and learning “Alice,” which guides programmers of all ages in creating their own animated stories without realizing they’re writing code.

Summers said such activities are key to reversing a long-running trend illustrated by women comprising just 10 percent of computer science degree-seekers nationally. However, that figure is 18 percent at Columbus State — a result of various prior and ongoing initiatives, said Summers.

Those initiatives include a recently established games programming degree program and a “bridging class” through which high school students study animation and games programming, and interactive programming. They also learn about computer science-related career and study opportunities at Columbus State.

To help teachers, Summers and his faculty will use a portion of the NSF grant to develop an online Master of Science endorsement program in computer science education to be available through Columbus State’s College of Education and Health Professions.

Separate from the grant, but in line with TSYS School of Computer Science’s mission, the school will host an Oct. 8 GEMS (Games, Education, Modeling and Simulation) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at CSU’s Cunningham Center. Themed “Games Seriously,” the event focuses on the serious side of the games industry and will feature competitions, demonstrations and widely respected speakers representing academia, government and the defense industry. The symposium is open to the public ($20 per person), and local high schools are encouraged to send local students to the event as well. Online registration is open at http:// ccld.colstate.edu/event_registration.asp.

For more information, call 706-568-2410 or go to http://cs.colstate.edu/.

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CSU Marks 20 Years of Preparing Students for Mainframes

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University, TSYS and IBM are celebrating a 20-year milestone as a result of their partnership to meet the needs of the technology workforce of the future.

CSU has now educated and trained more than 1,000 students in mainframe and large enterprise skills specifically for careers at TSYS, a leading provider of electronic payments solutions. Columbus State and TSYS, along with the state Board of Regents, collaborated to create an innovative, diverse curriculum to meet the specialized needs of high-tech industries. In all, CSU has educated early 2,500 students for technology careers at companies across the globe during those 20 years.

CSU has worked with IBM to develop its curriculum, gaining access to working IBM mainframes via central hubs and offering guest lecturer opportunities and career fairs to help its students find jobs working with mainframe and large enterprise computing systems at TSYS. IBM formally launched its Academic Initiative for System z program in 2004, with Columbus State as one of the first participants.

“It has been proven over the last 40 years that the IBM mainframe is the core of the enterprise data center universe and a technology that is never going to go away,” said Professor Wayne Summers, chairman of CSU’s TSYS Department of Computer Science. “We have been educating and training our students for careers by using a technology platform that we believe in, and organizations like TSYS see it as the foundation for their own data centers. We’re pleased to play a role in this collaborative partnership.”

Columbus State offers a bachelor’s in computer science, a bachelor’s in information technology and a master’s in Applied Computer Science. In the past 20 years, CSU has awarded nearly 2,500 certificates, diplomas and degrees in computer science and computer programming. TSYS has hired more than 1,000 of those computer programmers and mainframe experts, and more than 800 are still full-time employees at TSYS.

“Our knowledgeable, consultative team members are the lifeblood of our company and we continually need to add the best programmers in the world to maintain, update and program our IBM mainframes with the latest technology and software to enable constant reliability and availability to our customers,” said Troy Woods, president and chief operating officer of TSYS. “Our relationship with Columbus State University and IBM provides us the strategic insight and access to some of the best mainframe and large enterprise computing skills in the world, and we’re looking forward to continually employing new generations of mainframe programmers.”

As part of its degree programs, Columbus State currently offers courses in Structured Programming with COBOL, Assembly Language Programming and Introduction to Transaction Processing. It plans to offer future courses on Object-oriented COBOL, Websphere, SOA and Virtualization.

“Organizations that own zSeries platforms should make an investment of time and involvement in programs to ensure a steady supply of candidates with the right mix of skills,” Phil Murphy, a Forrester Research analyst, said in a recent report^. “Even if CIOs face no current shortage of mainframe resources, realize that the laws of supply and demand cut both ways — increased competition for talented mainframe resources is likely to become a catalyst for staff attrition in the coming years.”

Launched in 2004, the overall IBM Academic Initiative is a program offering a wide range of technology education benefits, from IBM-supplied instruction to technology, that can scale to meet the goals of most colleges and universities. The IBM Academic Initiative for System z program works with schools to enable courses, labs, senior design projects and research in large systems thinking.

“The IBM mainframe is the foundation for the data center today, a proven technology platform that clients are betting their entire infrastructures on,” said Kathleen Pfeiffer, program manager of the IBM Academic Initiative for System z. “The students of today are going to be responsible for the future operations of the mainframe, and it is thanks to key schools like Columbus State University that students are learning a wide range of mainframe skills and gaining hands-on experience to apply at those very companies that need the skill-sets – like TSYS. The success of IBM, TSYS and Columbus State is the very essence of our Academic Initiative for System z program.”

In February, IBM announced that it had helped educate nearly 50,000 students globally on mainframe and large enterprise skills and surpassed 400 colleges and universities involved in the IBM Academic Initiative for System z program, up from just 24 schools in 2004.

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CSU to Offer Online IT Degree Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University is launching its first online bachelor of science degree program in information technology, preparing students for one of the nation’s fastest growing occupation areas.

“This program will be ideal for parents and full-time workers, or, for example, the TSYS employee working from six-to-six three days a week or the enlistee at Fort Benning waiting to be shipped out,” said Professor Wayne Summers, chair of CSU’s TSYS Department of Computer Science.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies IT fields as network and data communications, computer software applications and systems, database administration, computer systems analysis, and systems administration and management.

Current and prospective IT professionals can enroll as CSU students now for the fall semester. The program also is known as Georgia WebBSIT and is facilitated by a University System of Georgia consortium. Columbus State joins Southern Polytechnic, Clayton State, Georgia Southern, Armstrong Atlantic and Macon State universities in delivering the program.

WebBSIT Executive Director Vickie Booth said CSU’s presence strengthens the consortium by providing professors for its teaching faculty and administrative leadership. CSU’s affiliation also has the potential to boost the 4-year-old program’s enrollment, which peaked at 213 this spring.

“We anticipate that CSU, with its proximity to Fort Benning, will help us tap into the military, which represents a huge market for online degree programs,” Booth said.

Though Columbus-area residents have had access to the program prior to CSU’s entry, prospective students tend to prefer enrolling in online programs through an institution they’re familiar with, feel an emotional attachment to, or one that’s simply close to home, she said.

While information technology programs at member institutions are the foundation of WeBSIT, the program dovetails, and is structured similarly to, the USG’s eCore program of online courses covering all undergraduate general education requirements.

Continuing students can transfer credits (according to the selected university’s standard criteria) into the program, or new freshmen can take eCore classes through CSU and complete the entire four-year program without setting foot on campus. Such students could continue related graduate study off campus, as WebBSIT also will feed into CSU’s online computer science master’s degree program, said Summers, who represents CSU on the consortium’s operating board. CSU College of Science Dean Glenn Stokes also has joined the group’s governing board.

Summers said that in academia career terms, information technology and computer science have evolved in the past 10-15 years as separate but complementary computing disciplines.

Computer science programs prepare students to design and implement software and devise new ways to use computers, while IT programs prepare students to be the caretakers of these systems for businesses and organizations — all of which today depend on information technology.

IT specialists select and integrate appropriate hardware and software products for their employers. This relates to networks, network administration and security. Their expertise also typically covers Web page design, multimedia resource development, installation of communication components, overseeing e-mail systems, and planning and managing their company’s technology life cycle.

For more information about the WebBSIT program through CSU, call the TSYS Department of Computer Science at 706-568-2410, e-mail cs@ColumbusState.edu or go to http://www.WebBSIT.org.

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Grant Helps CSU Prepare Students to do Computer Modeling

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University has garnered a $100,000 grant to develop a specially designed computer science curriculum to provide local defense contractors with employees skilled in computer modeling, simulation and gaming.

The initiative, called “Project STEADI” (Simulation Technology Education Assisting the Defense Industry), is yet another public-private partnership for the Columbus area. This initiative started about a year ago and includes CSU, Fort Benning, the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Columbus Development Authority and several local defense contractors, some of which are located in the technology incubator inside CSU’s Cunningham Center.

The grant comes from the University System of Georgia through ICAPP (Intellectual Capital Partnership Program). This is the second ICAPP program to start at CSU, which originally helped develop the economic development concept in 1996 to provide computer-savvy employees for TSYS.

Project STEADI will build on a CSU computer science program that teaches students the theory, design and programming techniques required for producing games software. That knowledge is used for the fun video games that are so popular today, but also for training, simulations, modeling and games that have underlying uses, such as the Army recruitment game found online at www.americasarmy.com.

“We got a group together to brainstorm ideas,” said Wayne Summers, chair of CSU’s TSYS Department of Computer Science. “The defense industry said they were having a difficult time attracting people to help do simulations for them.”

The problem quickly turned into an opportunity, with the burgeoning gaming program already in place, the strong community support, and the resources available in the Cunningham Center.

John Fuller, a former chief of staff at Fort Benning, will lead the first phase of the project, which will involve working with local defense contractors to fully define the depth and breadth of their needs.

“It’s a win-win proposition for everyone that’s involved in it,” Fuller said. His experience in the Army, as well as with local defense and homeland security contractors, has shown him the need in this area for employees with sophisticated computer skills.

Modeling, gaming and simulators are used extensively by all of the military services in training for combat. Using a computer-driven trainer instead of a real tank or plane allows for better training at reduced costs, without any wear and tear on the actual combat vehicles or systems, he said.

“They have become irreplaceable components of the training and preparedness strategies in all services,” Fuller said. “The reality for the military and the defense industry is that with the proliferation of training devices comes the need for more people educated in the technology disciplines that support these systems. And, that’s where we are today — trying to speed up the production of young talent from our colleges and universities to meet this growing demand.”

Fuller estimates there are several hundred employees currently in the Valley area with ties to this kind of technology and training. “Not only is the current demand for individuals with this talent growing, it will dramatically accelerate when the Armor School now at Fort Knox relocates to Fort Benning,” he said.

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FBI Computer Crime Expert Among Security Week Speakers

COLUMBUS, Ga. — FBI Special Agent Terence Fisher, a computer crime investigator and supervisor of the bureau’s Atlanta-based Georgia Cyber Squad operation, will give a presentation on identity theft at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 in the Davidson Student Center auditorium. The program is free and open to the public as part of Security Awareness Week at Columbus State University.

A Tuesday-Thursday, April 17-19 series of programs also will include a seminar for area educators, an exposition at the campus clock tower and a display of the Columbus Consolidated Government’s Incident Command Vehicle.

Fisher, the series’ keynote speaker, recently served two years in Washington at FBI headquarters in the Cyber Division. Previously, he served from 1987-2001 with the FBI’s property crime squad in Atlanta through which he helped prosecute Walter Leroy Moody for the murders of Judge Robert Vance and Savannah civil rights attorney Robbie Robinson.

Sponsored by Computer Information and Networking Services and the TSYS Department of Computer Science, the entire Security Awareness Week series schedule is:

• A Center for Quality Teaching and Learning Seminar, “Technical Security in an Educational Environment,” will run 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday, April 17 in the Cunningham Center. The event targets educators of all levels. Online registration, $50 per person, can be made at http://cqtl.colstate.edu/courses/register.asp?pkCourseID=361. For more information, call CSU’s Center for Quality Teaching and Learning at 706-565-3645.
• Security software CDs, free food and other giveaways will be featured from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 at the clock tower on campus.
• A computer science colloquium at noon Wednesday, April 18, will feature JArthur Grubbs, Jr., associate director of risk and compliance assessment at TSYS. He will present “A Real-World Approach to Incident Management and Incident Response” in the Center for Commerce and Technology room 208. A CSU graduate (MBA), Grubbs directly manages security for Visa-Mastercard, bankcard and e-commerce transaction processing environments across North America and Europe and in Japan.
• A display of the Incident Command Vehicle – the primary mobile command center in case of a citywide emergency —will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Cunningham Center (Tuesday), clock tower (Wednesday) and between the Center for Commerce and Technology and Fine Arts Hall (Thursday).
• Software vendor booths will operate from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., in addition to FBI Agent Fisher’s presentation, on Thursday, April 19 in the Davidson Student Center.

All programs are open to the public, and each venue will include an opportunity to view entries and vote for a winner in a CSU-student security awareness logo contest. For more information, call 706-507-8122 or visit htttp://cins.colstate.edu/security.asp.

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CSU Creates Computer Game Programming Degree

Columbus State University students have a new pathway to a thriving and cutting-edge field.

CSU this semester has launched a computer science bachelors degree in game programming. The track is designed to produce software developers for both serious games (simulated corporate and government training) and entertainment, in which a multi-billion dollar computer and video game industry, says Forbes magazine, produces about 500 new games every year.

Such a robust industry has made game programming and design an increasingly viable and attractive career choice among computer-savvy high school students, said Columbus State University Computer Science Professor Wayne Summers.

Summers and faculty colleague Rodrigo Obando have developed and incorporated the new curriculum alongside the general applied and advanced systems computer science degree tracks.

Summers, who chairs CSUs TSYS Department of Computer Science, forecasts a new-student enrollment surge in the next couple years among traditional-age students many of whom will be drawn to the programs entertainment-industry connection.

However, students in the program will realize a challenging and diverse curriculum. Its pretty rigorous, incorporating math and physics, plus creative writing and sociology and psychology, said Summers.

All of these skills, added Summers, are applicable in high-level game production, which represents an elaborate fusion of stagecraft, story-building and technology Not only will successful graduates be able to contribute to a major game design and production, theyll be prepared to lead the development team.

Beyond entertainment

Obando, who since last year has taught the CSUs first gaming course, Introduction to Game Programming, said the curriculum also will prepare students to meet a growing job market demand for professionals adept both artistically and in software programming.

The game design and programming profession also encompasses creating computer simulations for educational or training purposes that help decision-making throughout the professional world, including the military, many levels of government, corporate management and health care, Obando said.

Already, Obandos game programming classes are impacting Omega Training Group of Inc., of Columbus.

Omega a government contractor whose services include providing Army combat and training simulation programs has enrolled three employees in Obandos classes, including James Chapman. a masters degree candidate who recently finished a first responder simulation program for firefighters.

Obando, who has written simulation software for NASA, said his former employer also could be a future employer of graduates of CSUs new program.

Summers said another exciting development through the new curriculum is that its presenting opportunities for collaboration with departments across campus.

For example, music professor Bradley Palmer and his students contributed the musical scores to demo games created by Obandos students last spring, Were exploring opportunities with the art department (graphic design) and Language and Literature (story development) Its our goal to integrate more departments into the program , Summers said.

For more information about CSUs computer game programming degree track, contact Summers at 706-568-2410 or visit http://cs.colstate.edu/curriculum/bs_games_2007-2008.aspx.

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CSU Targets Computer Science Education in Regional Schools

COLUMBUS, Ga. Columbus State University officials are tackling a national crisis at the regional level. The problem is pre-college level computer science education, which was recently assessed at a crisis level by the Computer Science Teachers Association.

In response, CSUs TSYS Department of Computer Science and the Center for Quality Teaching Learning have created the CSTA Academy, a four-workshop series targeting middle and high school educators in west-central Georgia who teach computer science and business education.

Accompanied by a selected student from their schools, teachers will participate in each of four, daylong sessions at the Cunningham Center for Leadership Development, delivered by CSU computer science professors Wayne Summers and Rodrigo Obando:

  • Teacher Engagement for Computer Science, Sept. 26, provides an introductory, but high-level overview of training modules with attention to educating others in computer science education.
  • Understanding and Building Basic Networks, Nov. 14, focuses on computer organization, including simple network environments for information sharing, and examines Internet concepts, including Web design and development and ethical issues.
  • Having Fun with Computers, Jan. 25, will introduce artificial intelligence, game playing and robotics, plus the use of audio, video and graphics in a variety of computer applications.
  • Programming Basic Applications, March 20, covers programming concepts and languages, introducing the hierarchy and abstraction in computer programming, and acquainting participants with objects and object-oriented programming.

Too often, high school business education and computer science courses are taught by educators who are not prepared to teach modern concepts like programming and networking, said Beth Holmes, director of the Center for Quality Teaching and Learning. She cited 2005 statistics, which report declining trends in the number of students enrolled in high school computer science courses and lower numbers of students considering technology careers. As a result, a serious shortage of information technologists exists at all levels throughout the U.S., she said.

This skill-level deficiency compounds another nationwide trend of low college enrollment in the computer science field, and is impacting the Columbus area also, said Summers, who chairs CSUs computer science department. Were not able to meet the local job market demand for IT graduates, he said.

Summers has begun working with officials at Columbus-based TSYS, one of the nations largest credit card processors, to review and potentially restructure CSUs computer science curriculum to better account for the needs of one of the regions largest employers of IT specialists.

Meanwhile, CSUs focus on middle and high school teachers is designed to strengthen the local technical capacity from the bottom up. Participation incentives include professional development units plus the inclusion, free of charge to the school system, of an accompanying student to jump start the impact of the program, Holmes said.

Holmes and Summers proposed the CSTA Academy in a May meeting with regional school leaders. Subsequently, the Chattahoochee, Fort Benning, Harris, Muscogee, Schley, Talbot and Taylor public school systems have registered teachers to participate in the academy.

Holmes said she hopes to add private schools and schools from outlying counties to the academy.

For more information, call Holmes at 706-565-3645 or visit http://cqtl.colstate.edu/it/initiatives/csta.htm.

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National Security Agency Accredits CSU Computer Science Program

Columbus State Universitys TSYS Department of Computer Science has been recognized for meeting the highest of standards established through the U.S. Department of Defense for information technology security training.

The National Security Agencys Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) has accredited CSUs computer science masters degree program with a concentration in information assurance.

The designation, effective through 2007, confirms that CSU is one of just four institutions in Georgia (along with Clark Atlanta, Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State) producing information security professionals skilled according to standards set by the CNSS a body chaired by the U.S. Department of Defense.

CSUs curriculum has been successfully mapped to the national training standards for both INFOSEC Professionals (NSTISSI-4011) and Information Systems Security Officers (NSTISSI-4014).

The accreditation reinforces CSUs response to information technology security concerns raised by local industry, said CSU computer science professor and department chair Wayne Summers. Those concerns focus on threats to both networks and information on personal computers. With the increasing concerns about identity theft and computer fraud, its important that we educate professionals to secure our information, Summers said.

In 2002, CSU created a Center for Information Assurance Education as a component of its now-accredited computer science masters degree program. Of the programs 54 graduates since May 2003, 12 hold degrees specifically with the information assurance track.

Almost every student (currently 75) in the program has taken, or will enroll in, at least one course in information assurance. Those courses are Information Systems Assurance, Network Security, Advanced System Security, Computer Forensics, Network Risk Assessment, and Software Testing and Quality Assurance.

The computer science department developed the information assurance curriculum in cooperation with local industries and trade groups including Chattahoochee Valley Infragard a cooperative security-information sharing and analysis effort including the FBI and local businesses and government organizations.

For more information, contact the TSYS Department of Computer Science at (706) 568-2410 or visit online at http://cs.colstate.edu.

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CSU Computer Science Combatting Perceived Downturn In IT Market

Despite a recent nationwide trend of declining enrollment in computer science programs, information technology (IT) job and internship opportunities are growing for computer science majors and new graduates particularly from Columbus State University.

Most of our graduates, especially our recent ones, have received good jobs with many receiving multiple offers from both local and regional companies. We also have significantly increased the number of internship opportunities; but, we are having a difficult time attracting enough students to take advantage of these opportunities, said Professor Wayne Summers, distinguished chair of the TSYS Department of Computer Science at Columbus State University.

CSUs computer science enrollment has declined since the turn of the millennium, following a nationwide trend which has been documented by Information Week and the Web-based journal CNET News which has identified the decline at such institutions as Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Closer to CSU, Georgia Techs College of Computing has experienced a 50-percent enrollment decline over the past four years. Heavy among contributing factors, experts say, is the economys 2000-01 dot-com bust and subsequent job layoffs and outsourcing by U.S. companies.

Summers, and many of his colleagues, contend the national media has played up the downturn in the IT job market, making the career field appear less attractive to potential newcomers.

Ironically while enrollment has declined, job opportunities are growing,Summers said. He cites a stabilizing IT job market in 2005 and continuous demand for newly trained workers particularly skilled in emerging fields including robotics and information security. Earlier this year, Information Week reported U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics as showing a 3.7 percent unemployment rate among IT workers, down from a high of 5.5 percent a year earlier.

Summers also echoes Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates by warning that continuously declining or stagnated undergraduate enrollment in computer science programs domestically will create a vicious cycle or a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A shrinking supply of young, tech-savvy workers in the United States will force companies to seek such talent from overseas and that would include larger-scale exporting of jobs to countries such as India and China where computer science education at the university level is flourishing, Summers said. Consequently, few job opportunities would validate a paralleled lack of student interest and ensure a technologically deficient U.S. workforce on a global scale, he added.

Gates, meanwhile, recently told a University of Washington audience that declining computer science enrollment has the United States on the verge of falling behind India and China in innovation.

Summers has described the potential crisis with a global perspective. From 1988-94, he administered an Indiana University satellite computer science program in Malaysia and concurrently conducted workshops throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei as among the early experts of computer network security. Since returning to the United States, he has conducted workshops around the world on Internet programming and publishing and network security.

Dedicated to reversing a negative national trend, Summers is steering the following CSU measures to increase computer science-major enrollment:

Pursuit of National Science Foundation grant money to support expanded student recruiting (to include initiatives targeting women and minorities) and in-service training programs targeting area high school teachers and students as a means to generate excitement about the field.

New-faculty recruitment prioritizing cutting-edge expertise: Summers cites three fall 2005 additions: YongMi Kim (bioinformatics), Rodrigo Obando (robotics, visualization and computer gaming) and Angkul Kongmunvattana (micro architectures, embedded computing).

Collaborative recruiting with CSU Enrollment Services: Summers recently accompanied CSU recruiters to four high schools to maximize the pitch for computer science majors.

Expanding CSUs recently established Center for Information Assurance Education thats the basis for a concentration option in graduate-level studies: Goals include additional faculty support and meeting National Security Agency standards for accreditation as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.

Increasing internship opportunities for students with local companies: Many employers such as Aflac seek experienced new hires, said Summers. Among the eight internships and co-op opportunities available to CSU students, three internships have recently been established at Fort Benning and CSU is targeting TSYS for additional opportunities.

Summers also cited CSUs continued 2005 enrollment decline in computer science as attributable to a ripple effect from the February 2004 downsizing of 237 jobs at Columbus-based TSYS, one of the nations largest employers of entry-level programmers. TSYS also is the namesake of, and traditional collaborator (as a 1996-2003 ICAPP partner) with CSUs computer science department.

In 2005, CSU is revitalizing its TSYS relationship, said Summers. TSYS has a sizeable number of openings for entry-level programmers and we are exploring options with them for helping meet their needs.

Summers also acknowledges that recent technology innovations in other fields, ranging from criminal justice to art, are drawing away potential computer majors. Ten years ago for example, young people excited about computers enrolled almost exclusively in computer science programs; but today, IT is integral to many professions that are attracting this same type of student.

However, computing and innovative IT specialists remain fundamental to the economy especially from Columbus to Atlanta, Summers said. In addition to TSYS and AFLAC in Columbus and Coca-Cola and Lockheed Martin of metro Atlanta, an abundance of smaller employers, as well, create a healthy demand for workers. Last spring, a smaller, downtown Atlanta firm hired two of our graduates while looking to fill 40 positions.

Summers also has factored in the national news medias extensive coverage of the industrys previous downturn. The job opportunities are there for workers with up-to-date skills, but its going to continue to be tough to rekindle that interest in our young people particularly if the national media continues to overlook the trend these opportunities have presented.

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Contact: Wayne Summers, (706) 568-5037; E-mail: summers_wayne@ColumbusState.edu

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Information Security Conference and Town Hall Meeting Set For March 27

Experts, Officials to Give Presentations Related to Information Security, Cyber-Terror, Bio-Terror and Identity Theft

Columbus State University and the Chattahoochee Valley Chapter of InfraGard will hold a ‘Symposium on Information Assurance and Security,’ 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, March 27 in the Davidson Student Center, Rooms 254-258.

In a related, same-day event, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker will conduct a town hall meeting themed ‘Stop Identity Theft,’ at 7 p.m. in the Davidson Auditorium. Both programs are free and open to the public. The town hall meeting will provide information to consumers, law enforcement and businesses on what they can do to fight identity theft.

InfraGard is an FBI-led cooperative of businesses and state and local government agencies dedicated to protecting the nation’s infrastructure including transportation, computer systems, and water and power supplies.

The symposium is designed to provide a forum for examining information systems threats, risks and approaches that organizations can use to make their information resources more secure. Additionally, an assessment related to the threat of bio-terrorism will be given by a local health administration official. The event is geared toward financial professionals who supervise information systems; computer information systems officers and auditors; attorneys; information technology educators and students; and government employees at all levels who are responsible for information systems security.

Schedule:
* 8:30 a.m. Registration
* 9 a.m.: Identity Theft – Steve Edwards, Georgia Bureau of Investigation
* 10 a.m. Information Technology Security Overview – Wayne Summers, CSU computer science professor/department chair
* 11 a.m. Information Technology Risk Assessment- Ken Halley of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
* 1:30 p.m. Introduction to InfraGard -S.A. Becknell, FBI Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center Overview Stephen Clark (of GISAC) Bio-Terrorism Overview – by Ed Hovis, bio-terror preparedness emergency event coordinator with West Central Health District in Columbus
* 7 p.m. ‘Stop Identity Theft’ Town Hall Meeting – Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker

Ed Bosworth, a CSU computer science professor, serves as vice president of the Chattahoochee Valley InfraGard chapter, which formed in 2002 and has attracted approximately 50 regional participants representing law enforcement, state agencies and corporations. He said the local organization was in the works prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. ‘Sept. 11 focused attention to the routine day-to-day security issues that we had been in tune to.’

Atlanta is home to the state’s only other InfraGard chapter. It formed in 1999, shortly after the national organization took form.

‘Security has grown as a concern in computing over the past 10 to 15 years,’ said Wayne Summers. Security risks intensified in the mid-1990s when the Internet took hold as a powerful tool for integrating machines with people around the world, he added.

In addition to information-security risks, the Internet also carries the threat for ‘cyber terror’ as hacker activity can ripple out into the physical world and disrupt telephone communications or banking transactions, or create disruption in others ways. An example, said Summers, was a recent ‘sapphire worm’ virus that crashed ATM machines for a period of time. In another, localized incident – at a Maine airport recently – hackers accessed the airport’s computer system and turned off the runway lights.

For more information on the Symposium on Information Assurance and Security and the Stop Identity Theft town hall meeting, contact the CSU Computer Science Department at (706) 568-2410.

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Contact: Wayne Summers, 568-5037; E-mail: summers_wayne@ColumbusState.edu

Ed Bosworth, 565-4128; bosworth_edward@ColumbusState.edu

 

 

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