It students’ concerns addressed

In response to last week’s discontent expressed by Information Technology sophomores regarding the program’s changes, a meeting to address concerns of IT students was called by Assistant Dean of Information Technology and Chair of the Tetherless World Research Constellation Jim Hendler. All students within the department were invited; approximately 15 students attended, along with IT Project Manager Linda Kramarchyk and Assistant Vice President for Information Services Jeff Miner ’78. The meeting was an open discussion for Hendler to explain the change and for students to ask questions.

Last week, the announcement of changes to the IT program—which included a pending undergraduate major name change to “Information Technology and Web Science”—was met with an outcry from sophomore students who felt that such a name change would negatively impact the value of their degrees. The students also felt left out of the loop after hearing the announcement—which had taken 18 months to process—for the first time last week.

Surprised at the sophomores’ reaction, Hendler believed that the process for the changes was very open, detailing that it had involved speaking with student leadership within the program. “We first talked with student representatives from each class, followed by faculty, and then our external advisory council before it was brought to the President and Board of Trustees for approval,” he said. Hendler did admit, however, that he looks to improve the communication within the department to avoid similar problems in the future.

In addition to the consultations on campus, Hendler also noted that a number of representatives from the industry indicated that the change would be favorable for hiring students. He stated that these representatives came from prominent names in industry such as Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft in addition to various web start-ups.

Although most students in attendance were happy about the meeting’s feedback, some sophomores were still unhappy with the changes. Joseph Dougherty ’12 remarked, “While the meeting made me feel better about the change, I still cannot say I favor the new name.”

Hendler stated, however, that “the web is really central to IT. Even if you’re not explicitly involved with the web, you still use the web, [and] are still supported by the web.” He also noted that it has become pervasive in society, changing many aspects of the way the world operates. “Our programs teach it, so why not let the outside world know that?” Hendler questioned.

Kramarchyk added, “The change in the major is really to reflect more accurately what we’re teaching; what we teach is web science, so we’re just making it clear in the degree name.”

The alterations in the program have already been put in effect, and the undergraduate major name change will be finalized once there has been approval from the New York State Education Department.