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Computer Science Program Review

Background and Mission

Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) is a public comprehensive university in the Minnesota State College and University (MnSCU) system. The MnSCU system consists of seven 4-year universities and a large number of community and technical colleges.

SMSU is the smallest of the seven. Our enrollment is approximately 3500 FYE with a large number of those being in off-campus programs.

Faculty at the seven, 4-year universities in the system are members of the Inter Faculty Organization (IFO). The IFO engages in biennial negotiations with the MnSCU administration on the terms and conditions of employment.  The agreement specifies that department chairs are coordinators not supervisors.  Each faculty member is supervised by the Dean of his or her college.

The existing (2009 – 2011) Master agreement can be viewed here.

IFO Master Agreement

The SMSU Computer Science program has addopted the following mission, goals and student learning outcomes.

Computer Science Program Mission Statement

 In accord with the mission of Southwest Minnesota Statue University and the mission of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science it is the mission of the Computer Science program to offer courses and other services to individuals and organizations within our service region. These courses and other services will develop the computer science content knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will best prepare participants for future endeavors.

Computer Science Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Towards achieving its stated mission, the program sets forth the following goals and outcomes.

Goal 1:  Students will understand how computer systems work in detail.

Outcome 1.1:  Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the essential core content of the discipline of Computer Science and the ability to use that knowledge in the creation of solutions to practical problems.

Goal 2:  Students will apply their knowledge to solve problems algorithmically.

Outcome 2.1:  Students will demonstrate the ability to apply content-knowledge in the specification, analysis, design, implementation and testing of a software solution.

Outcome 2.2: Students will exhibit the ability to learn and apply new technologies as they are developed.

Goal 3:  Students will express ideas logically and clearly.

Outcome 3.1:  Students will demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate Computer Science concepts both orally and in writing.

Outcome 3.2:  Students will exhibit the ability to work effectively with others as leaders or members of a project team.

Goal 4:  Students will work ethically and responsibly.

Outcome 4.1:  Students will demonstrate an understanding of the ethical standards promulgated by various professional computer societies.

These outcomes are consistent with those of SMU and MnSCU, which can be viewed through the following links.

SMSU Mission, Vision, and Goals

MnSCU Mission


This review consists of the following sections.



Reviewer's Report and Recommendations

Link to the report from reviewer Henry Walker from Grinnell College.


We have concluded from this study that the Computer Science program has consistent, reasonable enrollment. We have the beginning of evidence that recent curricular changes have had a positive impact on retention and enrollments. We believe our curriculum presents to students the core of the discipline and gives students the opportunity to experience a wide variety of technologies and to develop into competent professionals.

We need to make a more focused effort on formal methods of assessment. Most notably, re-establishing the Advisory council and beginning yearly administration of the Major Field test in Computer Science. We must also complete our plan for focused assessment of our student learning outcomes.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, we need to increase our enrollments by attracting a larger number of diverse, competent majors.

Last Modified: 5/11/17 11:34 AM