Wichita State has introduced the new School of Computing, which falls under the College of Engineering, in order to bring visibility to the computer programs and to help students stay ahead of the curve in digital transformation.
Dean Dennis Livesay said that this decision will help to restructure the computing programs based on where the future is headed.
“The future of everything is computer and data science and we want to make sure that we are prepared for that going forward,” Livesay said.
Livesay said that it will also help to develop a knowledge base and a cohesive group of expertise for the departments, which is something that they didn’t have previously.
“As we create the School of Computing, students will have access to more faculty with more modern state of the art skills,” Livesay said.
Programs that will fall under the School of Computing include computer science, applied computing, cybersecurity, data science, and certificate and graduate programs.
Livesay said they are also hoping to grow fundamental research in computing and data science. The National Institute for Digital Transformation building coming to the Innovation Campus has the same goal in mind.
“The time frame that we are moving into is the fourth industrial age, characterized by everything being interconnected, everything producing data, that data being harnessed and utilized for the data that it represents . . . the NIDT is meant to help all industries navigate that through applied research and funded work,” Livesay said.
Universities across the country are starting to create similar programs, to help promote the growth in computing.
“It’s starting to become a trend but we are still on the front end of that trend,” Livesay said.
Livesay said that the school will have many positive effects on campus— including furthering the future vision of WSU.
“For students outside of computer science and applied computing, one of the goals of the School of Computing is to help the whole campus navigate the digitization that is happening,” he said.
“The common thread in digital transformation, whether you are talking about robots, or autonomous cars, or smart grids, or even personalized medicine, the underlying common thread is computing and data. The School of Computing will support all of that.”
Livesay is resigning from his role as dean in six weeks after five years at WSU.
“It is kind of bittersweet, because I am leaving . . . this is easily the most important thing that I’ve done,” Livesay said. “This change and the creation of this entity will have a positive lasting impact on the university for decades. It really is setting us up for the future and not the past.”
Steven Skinner, future interim dean of the College of Engineering, said that this decision will help elevate the importance of the growing computer programs, and allows them to better serve the whole college.
“What I look forward to is just keeping the momentum,” Skinner said. “Dennis did a great job in taking the college to the next level of excellence; my job is to continue that momentum until a permanent dean is hired.”