uc irvine "informatics" degree

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This degree program was mentioned today in the NCWIT meeting, and while I think the program looks great, I'm frankly appalled by this snippet from their web site:

6. How is Informatics different from a major in Information Technology (IT)?

The Informatics program at UCI is a Bachelor of Science degree. It has many courses in common with UCI’s other computer science degree programs. Informatics is a resolutely technical degree, paying attention to the context in which the technology is deployed. There is no IT program at UCI; other programs in IT vary, but most are much less technical than Informatics, de-emphasizing the concepts and techniques necessary for actually building systems.

WTF?! This characterization of IT as "less technical" is infuriating, and inaccurate. Have they even looked at ACM's draft curriculum for IT? Or the new ABET computing accreditation guidelines, which include IT?

Oooooooo, this makes me mad. :(

(However, I just brought this to the attention of their dean, who promises to address this immediately. So this rant will hopefully be irrelevant sooner rather than later. I should also add that I think that the program looks fabulous and is a model that I'd love to see other emulate. I just bristle at what feels like an unwarranted attack on programs that really ought to be allies.)

--

Update, 2:56pm MDT: Wow, that was fast. The section question has been changed to read as follows:

The Informatics program at UCI is a Bachelor of Science degree. It has many courses in common with UCI's other computer science degree programs. Informatics is a resolutely technical degree, paying attention to the context in which the technology is deployed. There is no IT program at UCI; programs in IT at other institutions vary in their content.

I'm very impressed, and delighted. Thanks!

5 Comments

>=O

WTF indeed. At least the dean is looking into it.

Interesting. I think they wanted to say 'this is a techie degree; the other is a user degree'.

Liz

Liked your comments at the Microsoft Academic search shindig. I might pick your brain about a sabbatical for myself.

You told me, but my brain is sieve-like: what do I say to librarians who say "I sold out" by talking to Microsoft? COI - conflict of interest

good nite
Dean

Bill-

You're right, that's what they were trying to say. And that's the problem--IT _is_ a "techie" degree, certainly to the extent that Informatics is. The IT curriculum and accreditation specs make that very clear--IT degrees include programming, database, and networking components along with the HCI/human factors aspects.

As it stands "informatics" is whatever the home program defines it as. UCI seems to be on one extreme of this. When visiting our campus, their dean made clear that he saw informatics as a subset of computer science. That's a bit of a distance from when I was there, pre-informatics, when ICS was willing to cross disciplinary lines a bit more with their CORPS program.

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on April 6, 2006 7:26 AM.

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