Keene State College Computer Science Department


History

Computer Science courses were first introduced at KSC under the auspices of the Mathematics Department in the late 1970’s. The first course taught was Apple Basic on the Apple II machine. In the early 1980's, a second course - Apple Pascal – was added. Hyped student interest in these courses and computer science in general, convinced the college administration to hire two additional faculty members (Jerry Joyce and John Pollard) in 1986, who would work with Ron Tourgee (the leader) to draft a proposal for a CS degree. 

The CS degree was first officially listed in the 1987-1988 College Catalog (though it preexisted this date). The first set of CS graduates included 10 individuals; this was in 1988.  The initial program started with a Pascal course sequence, followed by an alternate language requirement (usually COBOL or Fortran). Upper level courses such as Data Structures, Systems Analysis, Decision Support, Advanced Programming, and Database Management, comprised the backbone of program.  Two mandatory Mathematics courses were also required.

Between 1993 and 2001, the CS programs, aided by college recognition and a nation-wide interest in the field, surged from 45 majors to 143 majors. Since then the department has stabilized at approximately 100 majors. On (a 9-years) average, we graduate 38 majors per year.

The period 2001 – 2012 was a challenging period for the CS program; during this period, the student enrollment gradually slipped from a high of 143 to a low of 49. However, between 2010 and 2012, the decline seemed to stabilize around the 50 mark. More recently, with a change of strategy to a more rigorous and competitive curriculum, we have observed a corresponding increase in enrollment. With a current enrollment of about 100, we are confident that we have seen bottom of the enrollment decline.  

Today, we build on the foundations of the past by constantly strengthening the current CS program, all in pursuit of our mission. We are guided by three operatives: credibility, relevance and competitive advantage.