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Renaissance Software Design: The Development Of The Computer Science Fellows Program At Baylor University

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Computer Education Innovations I

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1028.1 - 15.1028.10



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Paper Authors


Cynthia Fry Baylor University

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Senior Lecturer of Computer Science, Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering & Computer Science, Baylor University

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Donald Gaitros Baylor University

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Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science, Baylor University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Renaissance Software Design: The Development of the Computer Science Fellows Program at Baylor University


The Computer Science Fellows Program at Baylor University was designed for intellectually gifted, highly motivated students entering the School of Engineering & Computer Science (ECS) with a wide range of interests, who desire a more diverse experience across the disciplines. The program seeks to broaden Computer Science Fellows’ backgrounds in their chosen area(s) of diversification while preparing them for a graduate studies or for successful careers. The Computer Science Fellows is a major within the School of Engineering & Computer Science where fellows are free to create an individualized course of study with the advice of a program director who mentors them throughout the entire undergraduate experience. The program has course requirements in computer science as well as other core courses required by the university, but seeks to allow eligible students the flexibility to go deeper in multiple disciplines.

This paper will present a review of the research in various honors programs that integrate honors disciplines with the more technical disciplines of engineering and computer science, the design and development of the computer science fellows program, the partnerships required across disciplines and the university in general, and the implementation of the first year of the program. It will also document the logistical details of attaining regent approval for a new degree (Bachelor of Science in Computing, majoring in Computer Science Fellows), building consensus within the department and school leadership and faculty, and recruiting students for the program.


Declines in computer science enrollments over the last eight years1, 2 have caused educators to increase efforts to attract and retain students in computer science. To that end new computer science curricula and courses are being designed and implemented. Many of these new programs involve research experiences, diversity, and interdisciplinary programs. There is also a move to develop social communities of students within the computer science majors at a given university.

It has been proven that students involved in undergraduate research projects have a higher tendency to stay in computer science and as well as pursue post-graduate work.3, 4 Likewise, research activities at the undergraduate level increase community building and a sense of belonging.4 All of these attributes of research are important in building a successful undergraduate computer science degree program.

As important as research is to an undergraduate program, diversity is at least a close second. We have an increasing number of students who want more than just a computer science degree. They enjoy computer science but have other interests or at least want to see how computer science applies to other disciplines. Pearce and Nakazawa have reported a surge in computer science as a result of using the funnel approach.5 The funnel approach gets students interested in computer science through secondary disciplines. We see that approach being used in a broader

Fry, C., & Gaitros, D. (2010, June), Renaissance Software Design: The Development Of The Computer Science Fellows Program At Baylor University Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15878

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