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Applied Computing for Behavioral and Social Sciences (ACBSS) Minor

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Topics in Computing and Information Technology-II

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Computing and Information Technology

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Paper Authors


Farshid Marbouti San Jose State University

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Farshid Marbouti is currently an Assistant Professor of General Engineering at San Jose State University. He completed his Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has an M.A. in the Educational Technology and Learning Design and an M.S. and B.S. in Computer Engineering. His research interests are engineering design education, feedback, and using learning analytics to improve first-year engineering students' success.

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Valerie A. Carr San Jose State University


Belle Wei San Jose State University

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Since her 2002 appointment as Don Beall Dean of SJSU's Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, Belle Wei has led a college dedicated to educating engineers who can take on today's problems and produce tomorrow's solutions. Under Wei’s leadership, the college has launched programs to enhance students' global awareness and enrich their professional networks. A signature program is the College's Global Technology Initiative (GTI), a two-week study-tour to Asia. Since its inception, GTI has sent student-teams to China, Taiwan, or India each year to meet global collaborators, competitors, and leaders through an intensely immersive learning experience that goes beyond classroom studies. Other programs reflecting Wei's international reach include the college’s Poverty Alleviation/Service-Learning program and Engineers Without Borders. This global perspective is rooted in a vision of SJSU as a preeminent producer of forward-thinking problem-solvers. With this goal in mind, Wei has established the Silicon Valley Engineering Scholarship, a program that provides $5,000 of annual support for high-achieving students to pursue engineering careers. Wei is also a Principal Contributor to CSU (California State University) Engineering Academies, a statewide program that helps high schools better motivate and prepare students for the rigors of engineering education. Moreover, she supports the creation of high-impact programs for first-year students and established a new SJSU Engineering Student Success Center to help engineering students thrive. Most importantly, Wei's commitment to expanding the sphere for student excellence has produced results that include increased access for women, African Americans, Latinos/Latinas, and other historically underrepresented communities to SJSU. Wei extends her service beyond SJSU through active engagement in national and international organizations. She serves on the Executive Board for the Engineering Deans Council of American Society for Engineering Education, chairing its Committee on Diversity. She has served on several National Science Foundation panels. And she has assumed numerous leadership roles on program committees for technical conferences. In 2006, Wei was invited by Congress to share her insights on the "Innovation Agenda," promoting strategies for the United States to maintain and advance its technological and economic leadership in an increasingly challenging and interdependent global arena. Wei also serves on the boards of Monte Jade and Vision New America and is a founding board member of U.S.-China Green Energy Council.

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Morris E. Jones Jr. San Jose State University

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Morris is retired from the semiconductor industry, and teaches Electrical Engineering, and General Engineering classes at San Jose State University.

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Amy Strage

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Dr. Amy Strage is Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development at San Jose State University. In that capacity, she designs, implements and oversees programs to support faculty across the arc of their careers and in all aspects of their professional roles. Her research focuses on factors affecting student motivation and success as well as faculty efficacy.

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The growing digital economy creates unprecedented demand for technical workers, especially those with both domain knowledge and technical skills. To meet this need, an ACBSS (Applied Computing for Behavioral and Social Sciences) minor degree has been developed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty at San José State University (SJSU). The minor degree comprises four courses: Python programming, algorithms and data structures, R programming, and culminating projects. The first ACBSS cohort started in Fall 2016 with 32 students, and the second cohort in Fall 2017 reached its capacity of 40 students, 62% of whom are female and 35% are underrepresented minority students. Considering ACBSS students’ interest in human behavior and society, pedagogical approaches using relevant examples and projects have been developed and integrated throughout the program. Preliminary assessments show that students appreciated learning programming skills with which to expand their career opportunities while gaining confidence in studying technical subjects. These results show that ACBSS, an interdisciplinary computing education program, offers a promising model in providing computing education to more diverse students for the 21st-century digital workplace.

Marbouti, F., & Carr, V. A., & Wei, B., & Jones, M. E., & Strage, A. (2018, June), Applied Computing for Behavioral and Social Sciences (ACBSS) Minor Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29811

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