Welcome!

Welcome to the Web site of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges (CCSC). Whether you are a member of the Consortium, a participant in one of the regional conferences, or a professor or student with an interest in the issues pertaining to college computing, our hope is that you will find these pages informative and useful. Information regarding the regional conferences sponsored by the consortium is of particular interest.

About the Consortium

The purpose of the Consortium is to promote the betterment of computer-oriented curricula in two- and four-year colleges and universities; to improve the use of computing as an educational resource for all disciplines; to encompass regional constituencies devoted to this purpose; and to promote a national liaison among local, regional, and national organizations also devoted to this purpose. Predominantly these colleges and universities are oriented toward teaching, rather than research.

The Consortium holds meetings in conjunction with other computer education organizations, on its own, and sponsors sessions and tracks at such meetings. The annual meeting of the membership is held in conjunction with the ACM/SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education.

Notice of 2024 Annual Business Meeting

All members and those interested in joining CCSC are invited and welcomed to attend the CCSC Annual Business Meeting to be held at the SIGCSE Technical Symposium 2024 in Portland, OR, on Friday March 20, 2024, at 6pm Pacific Time, place TBD.

Virtual attendance also will be welcomed, Zoom link: TBD

Spring 2024 Virtual Water Cooler Meetings

In our efforts to bring more value to your CCSC membership, we are pleased to announce this term’s the Virtual Water Cooler meetings. This is your chance to meet with other computing educators to share innovations in pedagogy, find out the latest in educational technology, or just talk about the state of our discipline. Membership Secretary Cathy Bareiss at Bethel University is the host. Here is the schedule and links for Spring 2024: TBD

From the President

As I write, it is summer and the temperature outside is nearing 99° F. Yet, my thoughts, as I suspect is the case with many of my readers, are increasingly turning to the fall. For academicians, fall is the start to our new year – students arrive and campus life quickens around us. In many respects, CCSC’s year is much the same. New officers take office on August 1, fall conference committees continue their preparations for fall conferences, spring conference committees meet to start planning for their conferences, the board of directors begins planning for its fall meeting, and finally CCSC conferences kick-off in October and November. In the spirit of the start of a new year, I would like to focus the attention of CCSC members on three issues – openness to all, communication, and new initiatives for changing times. Undoubtedly, we will deal with other issues during the 2023-24 year, but my challenge for us is to not lose focus on these three.

Openness to all

My first exposure to CCSC occurred in 1987. I still have the CCSC Journal issues for that year, which have photocopied articles, pasteboard covers, and are bound using paper brads, on the shelves in my office. Over the years since 1987 I have had the chance to attend CCSC conferences in many different regions. Inevitably at these conferences, I have found people contributing to computing science education – sharing their ideas and experiences, creating networks of contacts and forming friendships, without respect to race, gender or ethnicity. In my experience, this openness to all is one of CCSC’s chief characteristics.

That said, given the tenor of our times, it is necessary that we openly state our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all those interested in joining us in contributing to computing science education. The board has been working for several months on the development of a DEI statement, which will become one of our standing rules clarifying what Article XI of our By-Laws means. As I write, a DEI statement developed by a subcommittee of the board is being considered. The statement will come to a vote this fall and when approved will be posted on our website and included in the By-Laws.

Communication

All organizations must communicate. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to create communication channels that can be effectively utilized. Since my previous term as president in 2014-2016, the board has improved its communication channels dramatically. The same, however, cannot be said of our website, which is our chief avenue of communication with outside communities. Technological changes and the challenges they present have contributed to the lessened utility of our website. Likewise, newer technologies are available for communication at conferences that we are not utilizing. It is imperative this year that we undertake a study of how to best improve our communication. This includes reexamining existing policies on email (no one needs more emails, just better targeting) and our existing (or lack of) policies on the use of social media.

Again, a subcommittee of the board is at work examining the technical issues surrounding the CCSC website and addressing the issue of how to approach a redesign. The communication issues I raise have, over the years, been touched upon in board meetings. It is time to revisit the issues of email use, the use of social media at conferences (and possibly beyond), and to explore other communication alternatives.

New initiatives for changing times

Higher education is changing. As I prepare to start my 41st year in a new role – part time faculty member – I am struck by the changes occurring. (Partial retirement is an inducement to examine the changes one has seen.) As a result of the COVID pandemic, we learned to teach online, and to develop pedagogies that support hybrid classrooms. We were also forced to reexamine the content of our courses in terms of pace and content density. Within our departments, faculty appointments are changing – fewer tenured track positions and more yearly contracts. Teaching loads are heavier, classes are larger, and there is less time to pursue scholarly activities. Likewise, there are questions of how the 2025 demographic cliff will impact our institutions and our departments. The role, the duties, and the needs of computing science faculty at regional institutions and small universities are changing and will continue to change. It is imperative that CCSC adopt new initiatives to meet the changing needs of its constituency.

Some work has begun in this area. I would like to recognize Cathy Bareiss’ work with the Virtual Water Cooler sessions. Likewise, the board has talked about outreach to graduate teaching/research assistants and has asked regional representatives to solicit ideas from their regions. The issue of undertaking new initiatives is not new, but like the development of a DEI statement, and finding new and better ways to communicate it is an issue that the long term relevance of CCSC requires us to address now.

In conclusion, I invite all CCSC members to join me in addressing these three issues this year. It takes all of us, talking, sharing and brainstorming to find good solutions. I am happy to have the opportunity to serve as your president. I hope to see you at a CCSC conference sometime during the 2023-24 year.

Sincerely,
Scott Sigman, CCSC President
July 29, 2023

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