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Opportunities And Challenges To Developing A Bachelor's Degree Program In Information Technology

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Current Issues in Computing

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.899.1 - 7.899.13



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E. Bernard White

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Session 2558

Opportunities and Challenges to Developing A Bachelor’s Degree Program in Information Technology

E. Bernard White Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies School of Information Technology and Engineering George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia


The rapidly changing Northern Virginia information technology (IT) workforce has a continuing need for competent, effective IT professionals. Competent professionals are well grounded in both the principles and practice of IT and are able to take care of standard requests from their customers. George Mason University’s School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E) is committed to continually reviewing, evaluating, and improving its curricula so as to meet the changing needs of the Northern Virginia area and the nation. While no silver-bullet solution to the IT worker shorter exists, multiple and creative ways to attack this problem are needed. One source of IT labor that is not being fully exploited is the potentials for movement of people who are already in the workforce, many who have non-traditional technical preparation, into the ranks of the IT professional. Traditionally, this has required returning to college for a second bachelor’s or graduate degree in an IT-related field. Completing such a program while remaining employed typically takes from four to six years and a correspondingly high level of dedication and sacrifice. There are many more who are currently working in a technical field who would make this move to become an IT professional if there were more reasonable and practical ways to accomplish it. This Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology (BS IT) program fills the gap between training/associate’s degree programs and graduate programs.

This paper discusses challenges and opportunities encountered while developing a curriculum to achieve these outcomes—a curriculum to educate industry-ready IT professionals. The curriculum is a four-year bachelor’s degree program that focuses on areas of concentration during the last two years. This new undergraduate program is perfectly suited for the student who does not enter with a formal training in computing as well as for the student who might not have a love for theoretical aspects of the mathematical and natural sciences. The jobs that IT majors are expected to fill focus on the application of computer and communication technologies in other disciplines. The new BS IT curriculum is sufficiently flexible to serve existing, emerging, and future IT educational needs while preserving the integrity of existing degree programs in disciplines such as Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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White, E. B. (2002, June), Opportunities And Challenges To Developing A Bachelor's Degree Program In Information Technology Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10228

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