FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (2/01)
Contact:  Dr. Bryan Alexander, Assistant Professor of English, 318-869-5082 or balexand@centenary.edu; Dr. Mark Schlatter, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, 318-869-5206 or mschlatter@centenary.edu; or Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service, 318-869-5120 or lstewart@centenary.edu or consult the Information Technology Studies site at http://www.centenary.edu/~balexand/ITS_main.html
 

Centenary Becomes One of Nation's First Liberal Arts Colleges to Add Minor
in Information Technology Studies
 

SHREVEPORT, LA -- Centenary College of Louisiana, recognized for producing leaders with critical thinking skills, will expand its traditional liberal arts offerings to explore the developing world of the Internet and new media.

With its new program in Information Technology Studies approved Jan. 29 by the faculty, Centenary becomes one of the first U.S. colleges to combine a liberal arts curriculum with reflective perspectives on information technology.  On Feb. 8, Brandeis University approved a similar program, combining its liberal arts curriculum with a minor in Internet Studies, a program Brandeis described as the first of its kind in the nation.  Course offerings for both programs will begin in Fall 2001.

Centenary's Information Technology Studies (ITS) minor will equip students with both technological skills and the ability to think critically and contextually, officials said.  Unlike a traditional Computer Science program, which focuses largely on technical skills and specific programs or languages, ITS will emphasize how to learn as well as how to study, select and assess new information technologies.  

"This minor will incorporate the strengths of a Centenary education with the skills and knowledge of information technology," said Dr. Mark Schlatter, assistant professor of mathematics.  "Students with the minor will not only be prepared to work with digital technology and multimedia, but will have the capacity to think critically about the work they produce."

"ITS is interdisciplinary, drawing on approaches and ideas from a variety of fields, while teaching students how to synthesize and move between disciplines," said Dr. Bryan Alexander, assistant professor of English. 

Alexander and Schlatter are the faculty advisers for the new program.  The two professors recently presented the ITS program to a meeting of the Associated Colleges of the South, where the assembled deans, professors and librarians enthusiastically praised the program. Many professors and deans have solicited their collaboration on designing such programs with their schools and representatives from college consortia in the Midwest, the Great Lakes and the Northeast have also joined in the praise, finding the Centenary program progressive and innovative.

The ITS minor combines required courses in computer science and English with an internship and three elective courses chosen from specific psychology, economics, sociology, geography and computer science offerings.  The program also suggests that students coordinate work in their major with a report on their ITS work in a public forum.  In addition, it suggests that students take the TEK.XaM certification, which provides objective credentials concerning skills in database usage, Web research and site design, presentation software and general computer proficiency.

The ITS program also includes an innovative new course.  Computer Science 106, "Introduction to Information Technology" will introduce students to networked computing and new media through the matrix of the liberal arts.  This class includes both practical computing skills and critical thinking, including historical, design and ethical features."
 

"The minor requires students to move between disciplines, divisions and fields, while being flexible enough to attach to and enhance student work in any major," Alexander said. "Information technology, in the age of the Internet, is clearly a new and important aspect of contemporary life, altering many of the ways we communicate with each other."

ITS also takes advantage of student interest and experience, Alexander noted.  "It recognizes student desires to thoughtfully learn the technologies of today's wired world…from within a liberal arts approach."

For further information about ITS, click on http://www.centenary.edu/~balexand/ITS_main.html, visit Dr. Alexander's home page at http://www.centenary.edu/~balexand/or call 318-869-5082.


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Contact: 
Dr. Bryan Alexander, Assistant Professor of English, 318-869-5082 or balexand@centenary.edu
Dr. Mark Schlatter, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, 318-869-5206 or mschlatter@centenary.edu 
Information Technology Studies at http://www.centenary.edu/~balexand/ITS_main.html

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