Both an interdisciplinary school and an independent school, Kent Stateâ€™s School of Digital Sciences offers unique program options.
Robert A. Walker, director of the School of Digital Sciences at Kent State, said the idea is to expose students to a broad range of technologies often from multiple points of view.
â€œFor example, students often come in from high school and say they want to do something with Web pages,â€ Walker said. â€œWe have two courses; one course focuses on the content side of a Web page, taught for us by a professor from the journalism school. The other course is taught by the Department of Management and Information Systems â€” itâ€™s a coding class. Both deal with Web development, but from different points of view.â€
Creating an Interdisciplinary School
Walker said because the school is interdisciplinary, it doesnâ€™t have permanent faculty but draws faculty from all the other colleges. Students will encounter faculty from all over campus including architecture, business, computer science, education, journalism and philosophy.
â€œThe setup of this program is very beneficial because you encounter multiple things from different points of view,â€ Walker said.
Walker said as students go forward, they work with different types of people. They can see what fits them best and can specialize further in a specific area. The bachelorâ€™s program offers six different concentrations.
Exceeding Enrollment Expectations
The new program is a learning process for all involved, and the growth has exceeded expectations.
â€œWeâ€™re all getting a better feel for all of the degrees and figuring out where to place students,â€ Walker said. â€œWeâ€™re all learning how to direct students down the path that best fits their needs.â€
Last fall, the program had approximately 12 students. This year, the program has close to 100 students â€” roughly 70 undergraduates and 28 graduates.
â€œWeâ€™re entering our second year, and these are roughly the numbers we expected to have at the middle of our third year,â€ Walker noted. â€œWe are growing much quicker than anticipated.â€
Walker said that to combat the rapid growth, the school is adding sections more rapidly and getting faculty involved more quickly.
â€œOf the admitted students universitywide, about one-third of students actually come to the Kent Campus,â€ Walker said. â€œBut about one-half of our admitted students came here [to the School of Digital Sciences]. After all, thereâ€™s nothing like this anywhere else.â€