Three new minor programs in
the College of Science and Mathematics at Midwestern State University will help
MSU Texas students in any discipline stay on top of computing issues and be
more qualified for jobs, whether in their chosen field or computer technology.
“Virtually all businesses and
industries hire computer-technical persons,” said Ranette Halverson, Chair of
the Department of Computer Science. “These new minors will allow students to
focus on the discipline they are passionate about, fine arts, liberal arts,
business, or any major, while simultaneously developing computer technology
skills to open many new doors for employment opportunities.”
The minor in cybersecurity is
designed for all students, especially those majoring in business and criminal
justice. It will enable them to identify security risks in computing systems
and potential solutions and implementation techniques for addressing security
problems. Cybersecurity is a growing discipline and this minor will be a strong
introduction to trends in this issue. For computer science majors, this will be
established as a track.
An interdisciplinary minor in
computational science will help students develop the skills necessary to use
computing and mathematical concepts in an applied manner to solve problems in
various scientific fields, and enable those students to work with scientists
from different disciplines. All majors, especially those studying for a
science, mathematics, or engineering major, will benefit with this minor.
Students who minor in High
Performance Computing (HPC) will learn to solve significant problems on new,
leading-edge computing architectures, including graphics processing units and
other parallel systems. This program is for students of all majors, particularly
those majoring in mathematics or mechanical engineering since both take some of
the courses in the additional major requirements or core.
Halverson said that the ideas
for these minors developed around the same time, but from different directions.
While attending a Women in Cybersecurity conference, she learned of the large
number of jobs available in cybersecurity. Although Computer Science Professor
Nelson Passos had taught summer classes on security, Halverson developed a
cybersecurity class and taught it the next year, with the seeds planted for a
track, emphasis, or certificate in cybersecurity for computer science majors.
In 2016, MSU Texas received a
custom-configured high-performance computing cluster specifically designed for
parallel processing. This cluster, nicknamed Turing, is the foundation of the
HPC minor. Students will complete the minor with at least three courses based
on Turing, Halverson said.
Also during this time,
Associate Professor of Computer Science Terry Griffin was working with Wichita
Falls otolaryngologist Dr. Jed Grisel to develop a database of patients who
would benefit from cochlear implant surgery. Graduate and undergraduate
students worked with Griffin and Grisel to build the Auditory Implant
Initiative that oversees the database that was built. Halverson said that as
this project grew and became nationally recognized, the need for persons with
experience in computational science and data analysis became apparent.
Halverson stressed that the
minors are not for computer science majors, and that all courses for the three
minors are already being taught. The programs were approved by the MSU Texas
Board of Regents during its May meeting.
For more information, contact
Halverson at firstname.lastname@example.org.