The Debugger, Summer 2006

  • In This Issue

    Cover Page Image

    Editor’s Notes

    From the Chair: Bill Oblitey

    Carol’s Corner: Carol Miller

    News From Tompkins Lab: Joseph Shyrock

    Great Highlights from CREU: Rose Shumba

    Corporate Advisory Board: Dr. Charles Shubra

    ABET Accreditation: Jim Wolfe

    Your 2 Cents



    This issue contains another interesting collection of contributions. Carol's report on the activities of the alumni is rather short this time. But, to make up for that, Charley Shubra has provided an extensive report on the two meetings we had with our Corporate Advisory Board (CAB). It is very useful to us to get feedback from those working in industry and to hear what they think we could do to produce better graduates. It is always the faculty's goal to do this; but sometimes it is hard to determine how to achieve it. I am also introducing a new feature in this issue (one I expect to continue in upcoming issues) based on a suggestion at one CAB meeting. This will provide an opportunity for alumni to interact with the department (and other alumni) in a very simple fashion and in a way which can lead to further discussion.

    One of the directions the faculty is taking currently is toward applying for ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation for the BS Languages and Systems Track. The work to do this was started during the summer and will continue for some time. I have included an article to provide a description of what we are doing.

    Rose Shumba provides a report on what some of women in Computer Science as IUP have been doing over the past couple of years, and will be doing during the upcoming year. I mentioned some of the success that Rose's CREU group had in the last issue. Rose provides a much more detailed description of the research the women students are doing.

    This issue's cover is contributed by Mike Bigrigg. As Bill Oblitey notes, Mike will be joining us in the fall in a tenure-track position. I think Mike wanted to take a little jab at Charley Shubra (professional cheer-leader for COBOL) because these days the "answer" is likely to be Java, not C.

    Finally, I have included a few pictures. There are two of the 2006 graduates and one of the 1976 graduates. You can make the comparisons for yourselves.

    Jim Wolfe, Editor

    From the Chair 

    Bill Oblitey

    Hello everyone, I'm sure you are happy to read my column and catch up on how things are faring in the department.

    The big news to share with you this time is that Michael Bigrigg, who is our alumnus (5/91) and is about to complete a Ph.D. degree at the Carnegie Mellon University, has joined our faculty on a full time basis. He filled one of the vacancies we searched for last academic year and we still have one more open position to be filled. I think it will be neat if those of you who have gone on to seek doctoral degrees in Computer Science will apply and come to work with us as colleagues. We still have one opening waiting for you.

    Our interdisciplinary Masters in Information Assurance program has been approved by those colleges that are involved, viz. the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the College of Health and Human Resources, and the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. The next step is the Graduate School and then on to the University Senate. The Interdisciplinary Masters in Information Assurance is to be provided at IUP from three colleges with five departments. There is a core of courses for all students and then students can concentrate in their disciplines (Computer Science, Criminology, or Business which combines the departments of Management Information Systems and Technology Support and Training). It will employ the cohort approach with a four-semester offering which will end with a synthesis course at the last semester for each group of students. The other department involved in the program is the Department of Political Science which will offer a core course in Information Assurance Policy.

    With the Fall semester about to begin, I do recall that I related to you my difficulty in keeping the Computer Science club alive and asked you for your opinions as to what would help keep the club alive and functioning. Well, I did not receive any input from you and I'm still waiting. At the moment, my plan is to continue to meet with the few faithful ones who attend club meetings and now and then reward them by sending them to national computing conferences and to some computer expos or forums.

    I am worried about freshmen enrollment into Computer Science. I scheduled four sections of the COSC 105, Fundamentals of Computer Science, course but due to low enrollment, I had to cancel one of them. The three remaining sections are still not filled, although they are all close to being filled. Enrollment is beginning to become a concern to me. I hear many people talking about job out-sourcing but when you stop to think about it, not all computer and computing jobs can be out-sourced. I plan on getting intensively involved in recruiting and I am also having some discussions with the faculty to come up with ways of ensuring retention of the students.

    On the positive side, the labs are being renovated. Since we have four labs, two with 30 machines each and the other with 25 and 12 machines respectively, replacement of the machines tends to be a costly project. So this Summer, the Stright 320 lab and Tompkins lab have had their machines replaced. The Stright 112 Cyber Security lab is also supposed to have its machines replaced but that has not yet happened. The Stright 220 lab will have its machines replaced next Summer.

    The department is working on gaining ABET accreditation, and this Summer, Jim Wolfe supervised a team consisting of Rose Shumba, Raj Ezekiel, and Sanwar Ali to take the Languages and Systems requirements and make curriculum revisions and prepare reports that will be needed to help gain the accreditation.

    I like to encourage our alumni to consider coming to campus to present at our colloquia. The topic should be of your choice but computer related. Our colloquia are usually held on Wednesdays starting at 3:30 pm and they normally go from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Here are a few ideas for colloquia to show you that there is a very wide range for you to choose from:

    Topics about your Business:
    "Ways you are applying Computer Science"
    "Software tools that you regard as useful"
    "Software development methodologies you use"
    "The nature of your business"
    "Information security policies you use"

    Global topics:
    "The software we need for tomorrow"
    "What is happening with outsourcing"
    "How can we recruit more students into Computer Science"

    If you are interested, get in touch with me ( and discuss your topic and available times so I can schedule you for a presentation. Our colloquia can also serve as a useful recruiting tool for your company just do a presentation on a computer related topic and combine it with what students should expect to do if they come to work at your company. I hope many of you will take advantage of this and I look forward to hearing from all of you. 

    Carol’s Corner 

    Carol Miller

    Hi Everybody. You must all be very busy this summer because I've not heard from many of you. None of my children are writing home!!! Of course, this weather hasn't been very conducive to doing much of anything. I'm sure you've all experienced the same kind of weather we've been having this summer - HOT!!! I'm not a fan of hot, hot weather. Of course, I'm also not a fan of low temperatures and snow.

    But now for the news:

    I had a few visitors on Good Friday - which certainly made it a Good Friday:

    Mark Minser (5/00) stopped in to say hi. He wasn't working that day but was meeting his daughter for lunch and stopped in on his way. Mark is still making the trip to State College from Armagh every day. It's always great to see you, Mark.

    Ryan Knepper (12/01) also stopped in and he brought Maura. Oh my gosh, you should see this little thing. She is just the cutest little girl there is. I wanted to keep her but Ryan wouldn't let me, I can't imagine why. Nothing much has changed with Ryan either. He's still working here in Indiana at Microconetics. And, I just found out that Maura is going to be a big sister on or around November 3. They didn't find out the gender so it will be a surprise. Let me know, Ryan!!

    And, the third person who stopped in was Emmanuel Bibangamba (8/05). He is now working as an assistant systems administrator for Fitch Rating, Inc in New York and was in town visiting. He's enjoying both his job and the New York area. Thanks for stopping Emmanuel, It was nice to see you!

    Heard from Vickie (Pearce) Ringhoff (12/94). She had good news and bad news. First the good news. She and Jeremy are still working at FedEx and they bought 4.6 acres of land in Beaver County and it will at some point be the site of their home but probably not for a couple years. It's mostly wooded but has an area cleared where the house will go. It also already has a well, thanks to the previous owner who was transferred out of town. Vickie said it will be a longer commute to work, but the trade-off is worth it since it's what they've been looking for. More good news - on New Year's Eve, they found they're expecting and baby Ringhoff is set to arrive sometime around September 9. (Not too far from now Vickie.) But, now for the bad news. Everyone probably remembers me talking about Brewski, their cocker spaniel. Well, on Valentine's Day, Brewski passed away. He seemed to be gradually losing energy and becoming more lethargic; and the vet found his red blood count was very low; Brewski was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA). The vet told Vickie it was a horrible disease and they haven't had much luck in treating it; but they put him on steroids and autoimmune suppressants and said if they could get him through the initial phase, he may make it. Two days later, he was worse and needed a blood transfusion which did wonders, but as each day went by his counts continued to drop as his body attacked itself. Another medication was tried and didn't help and he died Valentine's Day morning. I'm so sorry Vickie and Jeremy. I always looked forward to getting his picture in your Christmas card. And, if that isn't bad enough, in the middle of that whole ordeal they had a pipe freeze and break - a small break but where they didn't know about it until it had soaked through the carpet. They had to rip out the carpet and padding and then they put down a hardwood floor. But, there is a little more good news. At the time of Vickie's e-mail, they were about to adopt a new puppy. Vickie sent a picture of him and he sure is a cute little guy. It's a cocker spaniel mix and I'm sure they have it by now so I'm sure you can expect more information on that in the fall issue (right Vickie??) along with vital statistics on the baby who will be here by then. Vickie, I'm so sorry about Brewski and I'm so happy about the two new babies and you will be letting me know when at least one of them is here, right!!

    I had a nice e-mail from Candy Kirkpatrick, Eric's (5/00) wife, with pictures of Livie who was about to turn one year old, can you believe it!!! She was just starting to walk and was enjoying real food with the help of her second tooth. At that point, she was 20 lbs 12 oz. & 29 inches long. So she's tall and skinny. Eric, meanwhile, has been talking to a company in Boston. They are sweet talking him with a job that would involve combining his computer skills with his biochemistry skills which he would love. Meanwhile, he's still with Bayer in Pittsburgh. Candy is doing well and doesn't have much free time, but is using what time she does have to take pictures and home videos. Thanks so much, Candy, for sending the update and pictures. Maybe you'll be able to make it to homecoming for breakfast this fall?

    I heard from a little birdie that Jane (Cunningham) Harnagy (5/87) and Bob are expecting baby number four in October. Congratulations to you both. I'm sure Olivia, Isabelle, and Reagan are going to love having a new baby sister or brother. Also heard that the new business Jane and Bob bought is an ice cream shop and they are dishing it out to all the Ocean Shores residents and visitors. It's doing so well that Bob is quitting his job to work in the ice cream shop. Great going guys!!!

    Got an alumni update form from Chris Boehm (5/06). Chris landed a job with Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh as a programmer analyst. Congratulations to you Chris!! Let us know how it's going Chris!

    Congratulations to Warren Hilton (5/95) and Jana on the birth of their baby girl, Kennedy Alisa-Grace Hilton. She was born on May 11 and Warren sent me pictures and what a precious little girl. Congratulations Warren and Jana and keep those pictures coming. You'll have to come up for a visit.

    Had a nice e-mail from Brad Peiffer (12/85). As he said in his e-mail, a lot has happened to him since he graduated. For about 2 1/2 years after graduation, he was the Group Director of Global Database Management for IMS Health (the world leader at market research for the Pharmaceutical industry); and he traveled regularly to London and Montreal to manage his regional staff - he was in charge of 45 employees and consultants across 67 countries who were working with Oracle DBA, SQL Server DBA, IDMS DBA, Metadata Services, and Data Administration. In 2004, he was the recipient of the Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leaders award. He was brought back exclusively to America two years ago due to budget cuts and shifts in priorities and at that time had to reduce his staff by more than 70%. Then in December of 2005, they eliminated his position within the company. So, Brad is (was?) looking for a new position and sent me his resume. Unfortunately, Brad, I haven't had any calls since that time for people with experience - most are looking for entry level people. But, if anyone out there has a position or knows of a position for someone with 19 years of IT experience in Pharmaceuticals, Market Research, Insurance, Consulting, and the Retail industries let me know. I have Brad's resume and can send it to anyone who is interested. Fortunately, the company gave Brad a great severance package so he has a little time to wait for a good position. And, a plus for Brad - the golf game is getting a little better. He does prefer to stay in the Philadelphia, NJ, or New York city areas if at all possible, but will relocate for the right opportunity. Sorry your e-mail has to be a bit on the down side, Brad, but thanks for the update and we'll see what we can do for you.

    I've gotten several sets of pictures from Kari (Robson) Behune (5/98) of Braden who I reported last time was born on March 10. He is SO cute. He looks like his mother, but I can see his dad in there, too. And, he looks like a little boy. Kari is back to work at PPG three days a week and her mother (here in Indiana) is watching Braden during those three days. Kari works from home the other two days. Greg works in the Indiana area and brings Braden up to Indiana to Kari's mother in the mornings. Thanks Kari. I REALLY appreciate you keeping me up to date with the pictures. And, Yes, you do need to stop in some day and yes, I do need to call your mother and get over to see Braden.

    Mike Kerchensky (12/05) took a job with a company in Latrobe called Westmoreland Mechanical Testing and Research. His primary responsibility is VB.NET and ASP.NET programming, but he'll be involved in all facets of developing, upgrading, and maintaining their computing infrastructure. The company is a materials testing and research company that has clients worldwide in the Aerospace, Nuclear, and Automotive industries. He was really looking forward to getting started and I'm sure he'll let us know how it's going. Right Mike?? Thanks for the info.

    Josh Hankinson (12/03) contacted me. He had another entry level position open at Diamond Drugs and asked me to post the announcement. Now, I'm not 100% sure of this but I think the person he hired was Tanja (Soltis) Peterson (12/01). 

    And, Tanja stopped in one day and brought Noah to visit. He is such a beautiful little boy; and he was just as good as gold. He sat on my lap forever and never blinked an eye. The poor little guy had spent some time in the E.R. not long before that, too. I forgot to write it down but I think it turned out he had something like bronchitis. Correct me Brian and Tanja, if I'm wrong. Tanja was back at work at IUP, but she was looking for something else at that time and then the offer came from Diamond and Tanja took it. I think this was the position Josh had posted. Keep in touch Tanja and let me know how it goes.

    Jim Bartek (5/03) left Robert Morris University for a Software Engineering position with Direct Response Technologies in Greentree where he'll will be developing Ad Afilliate and Search Engine Optimization algorithms. Jim said it's more in line with what he likes to do. And, that is the main reason he was writing. He was looking for a C#.Net developer for RMU. I got the word out, Jim, hope some people got in touch. Other than work, Jim said they are still remodeling the house and its slowly coming along. Thanks Jim!!! Keep in touch and let us know how the new job goes.

    The Computer Science Corporate Advisory Board met here on campus again on July 28. Chuck Kalish (5/79) who is working for Computer Associates, Pittsburgh, Pa; and Bruce Moser (5/02) who is at Link Computer Corp., Bellwood, PA were the attendees this summer and I got to have lunch with them. That was fun!!

    Paul Liadis (12/99) who works for the University Budget Office at Penn State University, is currently looking for a programmer. I posted your job description, Paul and I hope some people contacted you. Paul is now a Lead Applications Programmer/Analyst at Penn State and does a lot of work designing and maintaining SQL Server databases. Programming wise he's working with Visual Basic.Net to produce reports for the University on their web site. And, since Paul is part of his office's technology team, he gets to tinker with newer technologies and then teach other programmers. But his most important and happiest news was Paul and his wife Liz (2000 IUP Graphic Design graduate) were expecting their first child in May. They didn't want to know the gender in advance so it would be a big surprise. By now (s)he should be here so I think it's time for another update, Paul.

    Tim Ferro (12/97) stopped in one day with the kids, Haley and Reid. The kids are in town staying with their grandparents and taking a course being given by one of the community groups. They were having fun, I think. I can tell you right now Haley is going to be an actress. She could sure mimic the lady who was teaching the class. They are still in Aurora, IL, but Tim has been doing consulting on his own for awhile now and says it has it's good points and it's bad points; but he seems to be doing very well. Always great to see you Tim!!

    And, I just got an e-mail from Barry Day (5/72) who vacationed in Peru and sent pictures. One of Barry in front of the Indio Feliz restaurant at the bottom of the Machu Picchu mountain in Aguas Calientes. It was a recommended restaurant and from the look of the picture, it looks like a nice one (and fun). Barry also sent a picture of Machu Picchu mountain and, let me tell you, what an interesting place. It looks like an old Incan ruin and it's just amazing what those people could do back then. I wish I could attach the pictures. Thanks Barry!!! Glad to see you were wearing your IUP shirt.

    Just I was putting this edition to rest, the door opened and in walked Judy (Fisk) Spomer (5/77) with her daughter, Jenna. It was just fantastic to meet her. She was here from New Mexico to take Jenna up to Penn State for a campus visit. Jenna wants to study mechanical engineering/computer science. Judy is still working at Sandia National Laboratories and Albuquerque and is working on her masters degree in data mining. If all goes the way Judy would like, she will soon be a full time student. Sandia has started a program that you can apply for and if accepted, you can take time off, work full time on your degree and still earn 75% of your salary. If selected, Judy would like to continue to work a few hours though just to keep up in the field. I also mentioned last time that Judy and her husband raise Alaskan Klee Kai dogs and show them. Well, they're out of the breeding business right now because their female (Storm) had to have an emergency hysterectomy, but she's doing well since the surgery. Judy also had a look at the picture Carol (Dombroski) Young (5/76) brought in of the class of 76 and she knew many of the students. I even got a little bit of gossip, but I won't repeat it. No, I'm just kidding, there wasn't any gossip, just chit chat and a little reminiscing . Oh, and I have to say, Judy is the first person I met this summer who is enjoying the weather since they live in the mountains and she said there are only a couple days a year they need air conditioning. It sure was great meeting you, Judy, and hopefully we'll get a chance to talk some more if Jenna comes east to Penn State. I also have to compliment you on your delightful daughter!!! She is a treasure. If Jenna decides on Penn State, we may see more of Judy - maybe we can plan a reunion!

    And, that's all the news I have for you this summer. Please keep those cards and letters coming or I could be out of a job.

    Homecoming Breakfast
    9 am October 14, 2006
    Contact Carol Miller to RSVP
    724 357-2524 
    Do it Now! 

    News from Tompkins Lab 

    Joseph Shyrock

    As usual this time of year, things are very busy as the classrooms and labs are readied - the semester is just days away as I write this.

    The biggest project that the Computer Science department had this summer was the purchase of new machines for the COSC lab in Stright 320. We replaced thirty-one machines with new ones that are Windows Vista ready for when the time comes. The machines are really sharp and fully loaded.

    Another project that won't be finished in time for fall, but will be worked on, is a replacement for the department Oracle server. Currently we are running Oracle 8i on Windows NT 4. We purchased a new server and plan on upgrading the database to Oracle 10i. Unfortunately, the server has been ordered but it doesn't appear that it will be here for start of class, so I have something to keep myself busy this semester.

    On a final note, there have been some changes on computer support campus wide. The University is centralizing technology support and has appointed Bill Balint as IUP's Chief Information Officer (CIO). The new restructure of support will result in better operational efficiencies and consequently improved services for faculty, staff and students.

    As more news becomes available I'll be sure to share it. 

    Great Highlights from CREU 

    Rose Shumba

    2005-2006 academic has been a year worth celebrating for the CREU women. In case some are wondering what the CREU women are all about, in 2004, I received an ACM CREU (Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates in Computer Science and Engineering) grant to support undergraduate women in research. During the 2004-2005 academic years, four students (Alicia Coon, Louisa Ehinlaiye Ometere, Melissa A Karolewski, and Sara Raffensperger) worked on a research project on "Computer Security Awareness". For the 2005-2006, CREU funded yet another project, "Use of HCI Techniques in Security Tool Evaluation". We have just received a notification that our research project, "Security and Biometrics" has been funded for the 2006-2007 year. We are so excited. The women under the leadership of Melissa put the idea together. Well done!

    Despite their busy schedules, the CREU students presented a poster on Computer Security Awareness at the First 2006 Undergraduate Scholars Conference in April 2006 at IUP and at the First Women in Science, Math and Technology Poster session hosted by the College of Natural Science at IUP. Their presentations were well received at both sessions. In addition to their poster presentations, the researchers also presented their findings at the 2006 PACISE (PA Association of Computer and Information Science Educators) Conference held in Indiana on April 8. Their presentation was very well attended.

    The women's work at the PACISE Conference was so outstanding that they were invited to present their research findings at Slippery Rock University of PA in the Fall 2006 semester. The CREU women will be traveling to Slippery Rock on September 14. Again, well done!.

    Alicia Coon and Louisa Ehinlaiye Ometere will be graduating in December. It is very sad to see them go. You will be missed. Thank you for your dedication and enthusiasm to make the group research so pleasant.

    I want to welcome three Computer Science students who will be joining the CREU research for the 2006-2007 research; Lindsay Bertugli, Tamara Smith, and Jennifer Hiserodt. Welcome aboard. I look forward to working with you.

    Let me also take this opportunity to thank our longest serving member Melissa Karolewski (Missy K) for her strong dedication to the CREU work. I am sure the group agrees with me that Melissa's initiatives for the presentations and publication are outstanding. Keep it up Melissa.

    In addition to maintaining both their grades and completing the research the CREU women have begun to implement a web page, solely devoted to the women in Computer Science at IUP. This website is intended to not only highlight the funded research by CREU, but also attempt to showcase other female students in the Computer Science Department at IUP. The website is on its way to the department's webmaster for uploading. Check it out soon.

    I am looking for some women alumni who are willing and interested in working with our students. The women alumni would visit us and give a talk to the group during our social gatherings. If you think you can help, I would be happy to hear from you. Give me a call or e-mail me on 724-357-3166 or

    Late News Flash!!!

    San Diego- Here we come!!

    I am so excited to report that the CREU women have made it to the 2006 Grace Hooper Conference in San Diego. The Grace Hooper conference, named in honor of one of the pioneers in the development of the electronic computer is a very prestigious and the biggest ACM women-in-computer-science conference. The conference, which has a very low acceptance rate, is held once every two years. The CREU women have been very fortunate to get both a panel and a poster presentation accepted for this conference. Both the panel and poster presentations are based on the work in the last two years. This will be a great opportunity for the students to share their work and experiences with other women in computer science.

    Alicia Coon, Louisa Ehinlaiye Ometere, and Melissa A Karolewski will be traveling to San Diego on October 4. The CREU group and I are very thankful for all the support we have received from the Chair of Computer Science Department, Dean's office and the Research Institute.

    Corporate Advisory Board 

    Dr. Charles Shubra (Corporate Advisory Board Coordinator)

    The Computer Science department has the philosophy of providing our students with an in depth foundation of concepts and theory integrated with an application of this foundation using currently popular and available technology. The foundation provides a basis upon which graduates can continue to evolve with the technology and the applications provide graduates with an understanding of how to use the technology in the real world. The faculty has always valued interaction with professionals who are practicing in the real world. To this end, the internship and the Corporate Advisory Board (CAB) serve as valuable inputs to faculty.

    The CAB met in March 2006 attended by Mr. Robert Cardamone (Community Action Inc. Punxsutawney, Pa), Mr. Dom Glavich (Computer Technology Corp Johnstown, Pa), Mr. Chuck Kalish (Computer Associates Pittsburgh, Pa), Mr. Bruce Moser (Link Computer Corp. Bellwood, Pa) and Ms. Carol Young (Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pa). Carol Miller yet again played a critical role in the organization of the meeting and the facilities. Faculty provided an update (state of the department) from several viewpoints. Each of these presentations led to a lively discussion between board members and faculty.

    Mr. Wolfe detailed the changes in and state of the curriculum. He presented a collection of
    questions and issues to consider, including

    1. Are we teaching what we should be teaching?
    2. Should we continue teaching COBOL and the mainframe environment?
    3. Should we continue to emphasize basic programming skills?
    4. Should we start the object-oriented paradigm from day one?
    5. Should we require (place in the core courses) any of the following for all of our students?
      1. Understanding of networking
      2. Understanding of security and vulnerabilities
      3. Understanding of Web programming
      4. Understanding of Linux/Unix systems
    6. The department is pursuing accreditation for the Languages and Systems track.
    7. The university will be adopting 50 minute classes instead of the long standing 60 minute classes. This is a widely accepted practice and is standard for the State System of Higher Education.

    Dr. Ezekiel presented the state of the Graduate Program and Research within the department; he raised the following issues:

    1. Identification of opportunities within your companies for undergraduate research.
    2. Preparedness of graduates to do research.
    3. Establishment of the MS in Information Assurance.

    Dr. Oblitey provided an overview of the departmental budget.

    Dr. Shumba and Mr. Joe Shyrock gave a quick state of facilities and labs.

    Dr. Shumba presented the state of student recruitment and retention. The big news in this area is that this is the fifth year in a row that enrollment in computer science programs nationally has declined. This trend has certainly affected the enrollment of Computer Science and MIS majors at IUP. It appears that less than fifty freshmen will be enrolling in the Computer Science department in Fall 2006.

    Mr. Bob Cardamone served as a collection point for the CAB report to the department following the meeting. Individual CAB members sent their concerns and comments to Mr. Cardamone who then organized these comments into categories which served as the CAB report for the March meeting.

    The next step in the process was to organize a meeting in July 2006 with the goal of having the CAB form recommendations and/or action plans based on the March CAB Report. Members of the CAB who were able to attend did form several recommendations. These recommendations will be directed to the appropriate faculty members or departmental committees for consideration and action. The committees will provide a detailed response to the CAB concerning the recommendations and the final outcomes.

    Here are the recommendations and comments. Note: a large number of them deal with curriculum. The entity in parentheses after the recommendation is who it will be directed to for a response.

    1. Allow programming language to fulfill Natural Science and Mathematics foreign language requirement. (Curriculum Committee)
    2. Split the COSC 341 course and introduce a data base course earlier (sophomore year) in curriculum. (Curriculum Committee)
    3. Reaffirm that the concepts present in the current COSC 220 course remain in the core curriculum. (Curriculum Committee)
    4. COSC 300 must remain in the core. (Curriculum Committee)
    5. COSC 415 needs to be moved earlier into the curriculum. (Curriculum Committee)
    6. COSC 415 subject matter needs to be expanded and split. (Curriculum Committee)
    7. Add a ________ credit hour full-time summer internship. (Curriculum Committee)
    8. Require a networking course in the core. (Curriculum Committee)
    9. Reducing class times to 50 minutes makes it impossible to produce graduates who are as well prepared. (Departmental Chair)
    10. The Stright 107 lab needs to be efficiently managed. (Facilities Committee)
    11. Ramping up the intensity and content in the IA courses. (Curriculum Committee)
    12. Faculty need to attend conferences and seminars. (Departmental Chair)
    13. The Computer Science Department needs to reach out to alumni and involve them in their courses and the department. (Departmental Chair)
    14. The Corporate Advisory Board recommends formulating a plan by which alumni can contribute funds to the department. (Departmental Chair)
    15. The Corporate Advisory Board recommends that the department, plan, organize and deliver a one-day computer science discovery and recruitment happening at IUP, possibly using web technology. (Recruitment and Retention Committee)
    16. The Corporate Advisory Board recommends that the department investigate how mentors can be provided for students. (Departmental Chair)

    The process provides for a detailed exchange of ideas. The big payoff is the effect that the recommendations have on the future direction of the department. 

    Homecoming Breakfast
    9 am October 14, 2006
    Contact Carol Miller to RSVP
    724 357-2524 
    Do it Now!

    ABET Accreditation 

    Jim Wolfe

    Last winter, I wrote a plan for obtaining ABET accreditation for the BS Languages and Systems track of our program. ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) is the premier accrediting body for Computer Science programs. The administration was in favor of having our program obtain this accreditation and, for the first time, offered to provide money to support the work of applying to ABET. The administration actually requested the writing of the plan. Accreditation would add prestige to the IUP degree in Languages and Systems and would indicate to employers and graduate schools that this program and its graduates have met some recognized standards.

    The plan covered a three year period that actually began last January; however, the work didn't get started until this summer. Three of the faculty, Sanwar Ali, Raj Ezekiel, and Rose Shumba received summer contracts to perform the tasks identified in the plan for this period: develop an assessment instrument and an assessment plan, write new syllabi for several courses, and create a revised BS in Languages and Systems program that met the ABET standards. Only BS LaS needs to be changed for ABET; the other tracks can stay as they are.

    As the summer is about to end, significant progress has been made on these tasks; but they are not complete. Part of the problem lies in the late start - the work as specified in the plan was supposed to start in January but did not because of funding hang ups. We do have what I think will be a very effective assessment instrument. It will give us a way of assuring that students understand a specific list of concepts for every COSC course in the BS LaS program. It will allow us to verify that every time a course is taught, regardless of who teaches it, the material will be covered thoroughly. It will also allow us to identify where students or presentations are weak and where they are strong.

    The assessment plan relies heavily on the assessment instrument, as well as several other sources of feedback that we already have. The key task associated with the plan is getting the faculty to implement it. If we get things set up properly, the work associated with the assessment should be easily managed; but we MUST have everyone participating. As I write this, in two days, the faculty will hold their annual retreat and there I will be putting on my salesman hat and trying to convince them that they can do the assessment without too much pain.

    We are also in pretty good shape regarding the revision of the BS LaS track. To reach the accreditation application stage on time, we must have the revised track and all associated changes approved through the senate this academic year. Thus, we must get it to the NS&M College for approval as soon as possible. We currently have a draft that the entire department will discuss at the retreat. The short version of the revision includes these features: elimination of foreign language, elimination of COBOL, addition of more specifically required Computer
    Science courses, and addition of another science course with lab.

    Your 2 Cents 

    At the Corporate Advisory Board meeting in July, I was bemoaning the fact that I had a very hard time getting alumni to contribute to The Debugger. It was suggested that the notice which I put in every issue on the inside back cover was ineffective, perhaps even lame. My notice was not being noticed or was being ignored.

    So, I thought I would give the following idea a try in the hopes of getting more alumni participation/interaction. Each issue, I will include a question and ask the alumni to respond with their comments about it. In the following issue, I will include an article about the comments and pose a new question. I know this does not have the immediacy of a bulletin board or a chat room or even writing to the editor of a newspaper. We do publish only three times a year; but I am hoping for at least some response.

    The questions will often be phrased such that a yes/no answer can be given; but I am hoping you will respond with a little more opinion than that. Unlike surveys in which everything must be boiled down to a number; these questions are meant to open a discussion. If you want to remain anonymous in your comments, please say so; otherwise, I will assume I may attribute what you say to you.

    Also, if you have suggestions about questions to ask the alumni, please let me know what they are.

    This Summer's Question: Will outsourcing of computer technology jobs eventually eliminate the computer science major in U.S. universities?

    Respond to

    Homecoming Breakfast
    9 am October 14, 2006
    Contact Carol Miller to RSVP
    724 357-2524 
    Do it Now!


    This time we have a special treat in the picture section. Some time back, Carol (Dombroski) Young gave the department a copy a graduation photo of the Computer Science class of 1976. Since the class of 2006 represents the 30th anniversary for those who graduated in 1976, I thought I would include a copy of Carol's picture in this issue so you can make your own comparison to the new graduates. Sorry that the names are incomplete for 1976, all I had was the names on the back of the picture. I recommend looking at the pictures online where they appear in color.

    First, the 2006 graduates, in two parts. I couldn't get a picture in which everyone's face was visible in just one picture so there is some overlap in the pictures.

    Comp Sci May 2006 Grads1

    First picture: front row: Justin Killian, Christopher Boehm, and Brandon Crane; middle row: Shafquat Husain, Eric Pennington (partly hidden), Matthew Selnekovic and Benjamin Madore (hidden); back row: MS, Philip Anderson, Benjamin Tokich, and Michael Weissert (partly hidden).

    Comp Sci May 2006 Grads2

    Second picture: front row: Brandon Crane, Raymond Giorgi, Lindsay Bowser, and Jason Bujnowski; middle row: Eric Pennington, Matthew Selnekovic, Benjamin Madore, and Nicholas Waynik; back row: MS, Philip Anderson, Benjamin Tokich, and Michael Weissert..

    Comp Sci 1976 Grads

    Class of 1976: front row: Trisha (Bredon) Donati, Carol (Dombroski) Young, Shirley (Sprague) Johnson, Sue (Gartner) O'Keefe, and Janet ???; back row: Larry ???, Steve Brehm, Tony S., Dave Boyd, Ed McAuley, and Lance Wilkinson. Sorry for any misspellings and use of ??? for unknown names.