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Editorial | Computer science deserves more attention

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 03:01

Tufts traditionally strives to be on the forefront of academic exploration, and in 2014, the reality should be no different. As Jumbos we take pride in being a premier research and liberal arts university, which we’re reminded of whenever we are in earshot of any campus tour. Unfortunately, as all universities do, Tufts is struggling to keep up with ever-increasing academic demands, and computer science is one of those gaps.

Computer science is generally considered to be both a profitable and popular college major. Forbes lists an undergraduate degree in computer science as the third most valuable. The average starting salary for students with such a degree is just shy of $60,000; later on in their careers, the average salary for computer science majors rises to nearly $100,000. Compare this to the U.S News & World Report ranking of Tufts as 72nd in the country for computer science and one cannot help but wonder if there is a disconnect in the minds of Tufts administration.

Recently, computer science has garnered substantial interest on campus. But this interest exceeds the current financial and institutional support allocated toward the discipline. Regardless of what they’re studying, all Tufts students — English majors and engineers alike — should be concerned about the state of computer science at Tufts. This semester, freshmen faced introductory computer science classes filled to the brim with students attracted to the burgeoning world of computing and coding. Liberal arts students seeking exposure to computer science have access to excellent faculty and renovated structures, but are still forced to use subpar software.

As coding becomes an increasingly practical and marketable skill, Tufts has to face the facts: the skyrocketing popularity of computer science demands more resources. Besides being an integral part of the academic future of the university, making computer science a higher priority may also lead to increased funding from future donors, many of whom may be thankful to Tufts for giving them an edge in a remarkably competitive career field — that is, if the university can improve the program.

Enhancing and expanding the computer science discipline at Tufts is about more than dollar signs, though. In order to become a more respected institution, we cannot afford to ignore the ever-changing realms of technology and innovation that surround us. Tufts should regard computer science in higher esteem, and that process starts with listening to the student demands and responding swiftly.

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