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COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University has taken a lead role among Georgia colleges and universities in raising the level of computer science education.
Starting this fall, CSU will offer a computer science endorsement as an add-on to its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in secondary education under guidelines recently established by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
The commission approved CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science and College of Education and Health Professions to offer a Computer Science Endorsement for teachers of grades 8-12. This means CSU will “provide a vehicle for training more and better high school computer science teachers,” said professor and TSYS School of Computer Science Chair Wayne Summers.
Summers said the endorsement comes as part of the computer science school’s involvement in a National Science Foundation-funded program, Broadening Participation in Computing. “We are striving to help meet the NSF’s ‘CS/10k’ project goal to develop an effective new high school curriculum for computing taught in 10,000 high schools by 10,000 well-qualified teachers by 2015.”
The impetus to bolster the teaching ranks corresponds with NSF projections that U.S. schools have not kept pace to fill a projected 1 million new information technology jobs projected to appear from 2004-2014.
While Georgia does not require professional development for computer science teachers beyond an original teaching certificate, most teachers have trained to teach computer science through earning a business certificate. “In most cases, business-teaching certification does not adequately prepare one to teach computer science,” said Summers.
CSU’s computer science endorsement is voluntary, but is equivalent to a computer science minor as it provides an opportunity for secondary education majors to develop a high level of technical competence and exposure to computer programming and systems development and implementation. Prior to entering the program, candidates must have at least applied to CSU’s teacher education program and be pursuing teacher certification.
Upon earning the endorsement, graduates will have completed nine computer science courses: Introduction to Information Technology, Computer Science I, Computer Science II, Computer Organization, Data Structures, Programming Languages, Computer Networks, Methods of Teaching Computer Science and Practicum in Computer Science.
Course requirements can be waived, at the discretion of CSU officials, for computer science teachers and degree holders, plus students with computer science credits from other schools.
The computer science endorsement becomes the sixth endorsement attachable to CSU education degrees, joining gifted (Special education), P-5 Mathematics, Pre-School Special Education, Reading and P-5 Science.
For more information go to http://cs.columbusstate.edu or call 706-568-2410.