Feedback from Industrial Advisory Board

We presented a status report on the CSE program, as well as the proposed objectives and outcomes statement, to the CIS Advisory Board at its meeting of January 23, '04. Stu Zweben, Neelam Soundarajan, Bruce Weide, Peg Steele, and Nikki Strader attended the meeting. Here is a summary of the points that were made at the meeting:
  1. The proposed objectives need to state something about meeting customer requirements.
  2. Graduates need to understand the overall product life-cycle (from conception all the way to evolution/maintainence and decomissioning of the product).
  3. Employers will look for graduates who have the following skills, (ranked in order from low to high): being able to deliver on a specific task; being able to build a system to meet specified requirements; being able to build the "right" product even if the requirements are not quite right; being able to find ways to reduce the cost of building the product; ...
  4. Many industries are cutting back on developing products in-house, and buying back-end packages instead. Currently, a lot of work involving web services is being done. But many jobs (both software and hardware design) are going off-shore and the trend will continue.
  5. Ideal employees have a mix of business and IT skills. In the past, employees uses to pick up the business skills during the first few years of employment; now employers cannot afford to have some emplyees in "training" mode. Even entry-level positions will expect candidates to have some business skills.
  6. Assessment-related: One possible way to get alumni to provide assessment information is to identify a particular group (some A/A- students, some B students, some C's; mix of males/females; etc.) of graduates and track them for several years after graduation. Offer incentives (such as entering those who do help with assessment activities in a lottery for Buckeye football tickets, etc.) to encourage participation. Surveys should contain no more than about 10 questions.
After the Advisory Board meeting, Bruce and Neelam discussed the comments made at the meeting and decided that some actions that would be appropriate to take in reponse to the board members' suggestions would be:
  1. Revise the first proposed objective to include a phrase about meeting customer requirements. [This has now been done.]
  2. One of the board members promised to send us a standard chart that many organizations use that give a overall idea of life-cycle terminology. Assuming that we get that, try to find a suitable point for it in the 221-sequence.
  3. Involve CAST members (especially Rajiv Ramnath) in discussions about the undergraduate program to ensure that issues of concern to industry get suitably addressed in the program. Also expand CAST's mission to explicitly include such interactions with the undergraduate program.

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