Gianforte Family Foundation Supports Growth of UM Computer Science

The Gianforte Family Foundation once again has shown its dedication to supporting education and job creation in Montana, pledging $290,000 to the University of Montana’s Department of Computer Science. The two-year gift will help the department grow its enrollment capacity, ultimately graduating more computer science majors and minors for careers in Montana’s growing technology sector.

The generous gift will underwrite two new lecturers, allowing our department to expand sections of its introductory computing classes and create two new foundational courses. The department’s goal is to double the number of computer science majors and minors during the next five years.

The first lecturer, Trish Duce, was hired over the summer and started teaching this fall. A second will join for the 2017-18 academic year. In addition to the lecturer positions, the gift supports Assistant Professor Rob Smith‘s efforts to work with local businesses to develop internship opportunities and help students attain them.

In Montana and nationwide, high-tech jobs go unfilled because there aren’t enough graduates with computer science training. In addition, more and more careers use computing in their respective fields. To address this, UM’s computer science department worked with the Gianforte Family Foundation to develop a plan to increase enrollment and grow course offerings by creating courses that show the relevance of computing in other disciplines. These new offerings allow for a cross-disciplinary computer science minor and provide students with a broader skill-set for today’s technological workplace.

“Computer science is a growing and needed field,” said Andrew Ware, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science. “By building our department, we can help more students find high-paying jobs and fill a need in the state’s economy.”

“Computing is increasingly important across many academic disciplines and careers,” said Greg Gianforte, foundation board member. “We’re excited to work with the University of Montana to help expand cross-disciplinary computer science courses for all students on campus, and to help connect these students with good jobs in Montana.”

(text is largely reproduced from a UM news release: link to original)

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We’re hiring

We’re pleased to announce that the University of Montana Computer Science Department is hiring two positions to begin in Fall 2017. We’ve begun a search for both a tenure track faculty position (http://bit.ly/1679umt) and a non-tenure track full-time lecturer position (http://bit.ly/1678umt). For both positions, applications received by Jan 15, 2017 will be given priority consideration.

 

2016 Computer Science High Tech Career Fair

20161013_110807The department hosted its third annual high tech career fair last week. More than one hundred students attended from 17 majors. Corporate attendees from ten high tech companies attended to fill dozens of open entry level positions–mostly in Montana.
Computer science provides high paying jobs in Montana and nationwide, with gaps between supply and demand increasing at a record pace. The demand makes for very competitive salary offers, particularly in contrast to other industries, where Montana wages tend to be lower than national averages.

Professor Reimer awarded NSF grant to grow CS across Montana

Professor Yolanda Reimer, together with UM colleague Lisa Blank (T&L) and other faculty from around the state, has been awarded a grant from the NSF CS10K program to “Grow Computer Science Curriculum, Diversity, and Teacher Preparedness across Montana.” The goals of this project are to enhance computer science offerings at high screimerhools around the state, increase the diversity of students who engage in computer science, and add to the number of teachers trained to teach CS at the high school level. Professor Reimer will co-teach the “Joy and Beauty of Computing” class at Sentinel HS in Missoula this fall, and develop a follow-on course in Computer Science Principles. Professional development opportunities will be offered to teachers from around the state beginning in the summer of 2017. For questions about this project or to get involved, contact Yolanda Reimer (yolanda.reimer@umontana.edu).

Summer camps update

CS lecturer Michael Cassens is wrapping up yet another another iteration of our popular Camp series, in which middle- and high-school students create interactive apps and games for phones, tablets and more. Over the course of the camp, they learn a number of computer programming environments including: Kodu, Scratch, HTML, App Inventor, Alice, CodeStudio, Processing, CodeCombat, and/or Minecraft.

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Commencement 2016

Congratulations to the University of Montana Computer Science Graduates of 2016!

commencement-16

Scott Hinshaw Interview on Orbital Shift Internship

The owner of Orbital Shift, Kevin O’Reilly, graduated from the University of Montana with a Master of Science in Computer Science. See what Scott Hinshaw, a Management Information Systems Senior with minors in Computer Science & Mathematics, had to say about his experience interning for Kevin’s company in Internship Service’s recent interview.