YSU Searches for a Permanent Computer Science and Information Systems Chair
By Jordan Unger
Youngstown State University is looking to hire a chairperson for the department of computer science and information systems. Provost Martin Abraham said they are searching for a candidate from outside the university to fill the position.
“There’s great opportunity to expand, to grow, to make [computer science] one of the showcase departments on campus,” Abraham said. “We think that’s going to happen with some external vision.”
Faculty in the department agreed to work with the administration to find the best candidate on a national search, Abraham said.
“[The new chair is] going to lead the department in terms of helping to define future directions,” Abraham said. “They have to have good collaborative skills, good consultative skills, they have to be able to work with the faculty [and] they have to be engaged to provide those types of activities.”
Andrew Morgan, a double major in computer science and electrical engineering, said getting an outside perspective is essential.
“As an engineer, we learn ways to look at and approach problems in different ways,” Morgan said. “In order for a university, college and program to grow, it is of utmost importance to look at what others are doing and expand upon those ideas.”
Abraham said the candidate needs to have research experience and scholarship credentials. Some staff in the department are engaged in innovative research, he said.
“Information technology and computer science are growing,” Abraham said. “Everything we do now has some information technology component in it … We would like our department to start having more of a role in developing those technologies, developing the software.”
The current acting department chair is Kriss Schueller, who was previously the chair for five years. Abraham said this experience has helped Schueller stabilize the department and showcase its research capabilities.
“We appreciate all of the work he’s done,” Abraham said. “He’s done well to get the department where it is right now.”
It has been a pleasure to work with Schueller the past three years, Morgan said.
“Dr. Schueller met one-on-one with me each semester to ensure I was on the right path,” Morgan said. “[He] has been very supportive with my future plans and was very cooperative in helping me figure out a viable schedule.”
The new position was posted on the YSU website in August. Schueller’s term as acting chair is scheduled to end this semester. Abraham said the position can be extended indefinitely if needed, but hopes to fill the chair soon.
“I’ve still got my fingers crossed that we’ll get somebody by the beginning of the spring term or maybe shortly thereafter,” Abraham said.
According to Schueller, staff cuts to the department will likely keep the position from being filled. Schueller said there are directions he would like to see the department go if it does happen.
“Bring in somebody who could be a better leader in research orientation and grant orientation,” Schueller said. “I think there are people more capable [in that sense] than I am, and I think that we’d like to grow the department.”
Schueller said the computer science and information technology department can only reach its potential if the administration and the faculty work together.
“I think this department is an area ripe for growth,” Schueller said. “I think the administration would do well when listening to the people in the department on our ideas on how it should grow.”
Provost Abraham is quoted as saying “There’s great opportunity to expand, to grow, to make [computer science] one of the showcase departments on campus.” However, the reality is different. The CSIS Department has lost 25% of it’s faculty over the last five years. As of now, there are no plans for more faculty. I was just at a meeting today to review plans for a 30% REDUCTION in lab space in Summer 2017.
We in Meshel Hall have heard many statements about our importance. We also see actions that show otherwise.
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