To help prepare computer science and business students for the rapid advances in technology and its use in business settings, Wittenberg University is excited to announce a new program leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in information systems. Scheduled to begin in fall 2018, the program is designed for students interested in technical careers who also have talents in organization, administration and management.
A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicated that seven of the top 10 bachelor’s degrees in demand in 2016 were in the fields of business, computer science and information systems. The widespread commercial utilization of computers has led to a demand in the marketplace for managers who can lead teams of technical programmers and engineers.
Wittenberg’s major in information systems will help students develop the skills employers are seeking for those positions, including relevant programming abilities; relevant business acumen including statistics, data analysis and economics; and the ability to understand and apply business management techniques to technological projects.
Adam Parker, associate professor of mathematics, chair of the department of mathematics and computer science, and the 2018 Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award recipient, believes that the benefits of pursuing this degree at Wittenberg are threefold.
“First, Wittenberg’s program is offered within the context of a liberal arts environment, which gives students both breadth and depth in their education,” he said. “Second, students will have a high degree of contact with faculty who are experts in their field. Third, Wittenberg is in a location where students can actually put their knowledge to use through internships in the Springfield and Dayton areas.”
Encompassing both technical and organizational disciplines, the information systems major will require courses in business, computer science and statistics, as well as a capstone internship experience in which students will apply their business and computer skills in the real world and gain firsthand knowledge of the problems raised in the field.
Offered in conjunction with the department of business, information systems will be housed in the department of mathematics and computer science, whose faculty will provide academic advising to students. The business department will coordinate the capstone internship course.
The major is expected to attract both students in computer science who are drawn toward the commercial rather than technical aspects of computing, and students in business who are drawn toward the particular features of technical commerce.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 367,600 information systems manager jobs in 2016, and the occupation is expected to grow by more than 44,000 jobs by 2026,” said Wendy Gradwohl, associate professor and chair of the business department. “This is a growth rate of 12 percent, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations at 7 percent. Adding this major not only responds to market demands, but it also serves those students who are interested in computer science/information systems and business and who ultimately want to blend the two disciplines to help organizations be more strategic on both the technology- and people-management fronts.”
According to Assistant Professor of Computer Science Tom Bitterman, students with a degree in information systems could pursue positions such as technical projects manager, information technology vendor manager, systems or business analyst, or information technology finance manager.
Following the curriculum guidelines of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, Wittenberg’s program aims to develop problem solvers and critical thinkers who exhibit strong ethical principles and who can communicate effectively with excellent oral, written and listening skills.
Information systems is among several related new programs Wittenberg has created in the last two years to respond to the changing needs of the marketplace as new fields and career opportunities emerge in business and computer science. Other new programs include a computer science major with a concentration in cybersecurity; a data science major and minor; and a master of science in analytics. For more information, visit www.wittenberg.edu.