Allegheny Student Government discusses changes to computer science major, new room assignment plan

Dean Cole visits ASG to explain new administrations ideas, Futures program

Residence Life is returning to its old method of assigning rooms to students after briefly planning to change it, according to Allegheny Student Government President Mark MacStudy, ’18.

MacStudy revealed the new plan during the ASG meeting Tuesday, Feb. 20, following Provost and Dean of the College Ron Cole’s report. While MacStudy reported changes to Residence Life, ASG Vice President Valeria Hurst, ’18, said the Computer Science majors may be overturning their recent decision concerning basic major requirements.

MacStudy said he met with Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Jen Foxman, Interim Dean of Students Jacquie Kondrot and Associate Director of Residence Life Maureen Muckinhaupt to talk about Residence Life’s plan for housing students next year. Due to feedback from ASG and students, Residence Life decided to no longer introduce the electronic method of room draw this spring, according to the official statement MacStudy read. Instead, the new technology will be introduced next year and the in-person process will be used again this spring. However, some of the new technology will still be utilized this year, MacStudy said, though it is not yet clear specifically what that technology will be.

“They are not abandoning the technology altogether,” MacStudy said. “They are using this year to finish perfecting the system, then implementing it as a whole complete system next year.”

Along with taking time to ensure the system will work exactly as intended, the administration also hopes to gives students time to fully understand the new way of assigning rooms.

“[The administration] will have more than enough time to demonstrate if not once, but multiple times how the system actually works,” MacStudy said.

Furthermore, Residence Life decided to return to room selection based on a student’s highest draw number rather than the average of students’ draw numbers, according to MacStudy.

Room selection will begin after spring break, and more information about this year’s process will be revealed after a meeting on March 6.

A decision the administration previously made concerning Computer Science majors may be another decision that will be changed, according to Hurst. Hurst said the Computer Science major officially removed all math requirements except for a few basic ones, but are now reconsidering the decision due to limitations created by changes to other majors and minors made by the administration.

“There’s now limitations to new programs being implemented,” Hurst said. “There are no new minors being improved, and there are majors and minors that are being considered to be taken out of the curriculum.”

The Computer Science major will not be the only academic area that will see changes within the next few years. During his report to ASG, Cole elaborated on Allegheny’s plan to implement Futures in addition to typical majors, as well as the various ways the program could affect aspects of the college’s curriculum. One such area may be the First-Year/Sophomore program, according to Cole.

Last year, departments and programs at Allegheny participated in self-studies, which were analyses of curricula, student experience and external reviewers’ evaluations, Cole said.

“One of the things that came out of the self-study was the range of experience of students in the FS program, and specifically a lack of identity in the FS 102 courses,” Cole said.

With this knowledge, the administration entered the academic year looking to apply the Allegheny Futures to FS classes, according to Cole. The administration looked at various areas first-year students are interested in, such as sustainability options and digital art. The themes of those areas would then be linked to FS programs.

“When a student takes an FS 102, they would select the FS 102 based on the course that’s described in the context of one of these themes,” Cole said. “It doesn’t lock you into that. It’s not a major. You can have a digital Future and be an English major. But it’s a way of thinking about your Allegheny experience.”

Cole stressed this idea was only recently discussed and that he is looking for comments or criticisms from students.

“We’re in the process of doing marketing research right now around some of these ideas,” Cole said. “Part of what we also want to do is get insight from current students.”

With the discussion of the implementation of the Futures program, Zach Javorksy, ’18, pointed out the program could put more pressure on students if not handled correctly.

“In my experience, Allegheny students are very busy with curricular and extra-curricular activities,” Javorsky said. “Will the Futures program be a credit thing, where it takes [the] place of one of a student’s classes? If not, will we bring down the number of credits required for majors to allow students to engage in the Futures program?”

Cole explained the Futures program will not simply be layered on top of other activities and requirements at Allegheny.

I really like helping people out and listening to what they have to say.

— Anna Yeager, Class of 2021

“The Futures program might not be courses at all,” Cole said. “If we weave these themes into our FS courses, that’s incorporating it into what we do already. My goal here is to try to see how to incorporate this into what we do already, or if we add new things, what will we take away.”

Cole said he is very aware and sensitive of both students and staff workload. The goal of the Futures program is not to give students another requirement to meet before graduation, but to enrich their Allegheny experience, according to Cole.

Along with changes to the administration, ASG filled its empty spot in the Class of 2021 Senate. The seat opened after Trevor Mahan, ’21, moved into the Director of Diversity and Inclusion position Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Class of 2021 Senators nominated Anna Yeager, ’21, who explained why she wanted to join ASG. Following her brief speech, Yeager was approved and sworn into the Class of 2021.

Anna Yeager, ‘21, is sworn into her new Senate position by Allegheny Student Government President Mark MacStudy, ‘18, during the ASG meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.

“I was always in student government in high school, and I really liked being involved,” Yeager said. “I really like helping people out and listening to what they have to say and then doing something about it.”