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Computer Science and the Liberal Arts

At Grove City College, liberal arts are regarded with the utmost of value concurrently with vocational excellence. Daniel Supplee, a current senior, my good friend, a Trustee Scholarship recipient, and a Computer Information Systems (“CIS”) major with minors in Cybersecurity and Business, wrote the following in response to my questions about his choice of major, the role of liberal arts in his education here at Grove City, and his perceived career preparedness.

“Just as tradesmen often pass down their trades to their sons, my father passed his ‘trade’ of programming down to me. Starting at age 8, I was given my first booklet on programming by my father and thus began my entrance into the world of computer science. Continuing through middle and high school, programming was a large part of my free time, and guided by my father I expanded my skillset and aptitude in the various fields of computer science. When it came to pick a college degree, however, I realized that I also had great interest in the many other subjects that I had been exposed to previously: history, economics, language, and music. The Computer Information Systems major gave me the flexibility to explore those topics while still maintaining my focus on computers. After four years of college, I am still a believer that the primary purpose of college is not only to train students in the technical skills of their majors, but to produce well-rounded adults with at least a comprehensive understanding of the world we live in. Adopting my major, while taking classes in Biblical Hebrew, Middle Eastern politics, law, and economics have helped me put my life and world into perspective, while still gaining proficiency in the intricacies of computer science, like application development, database management, and network systems. The capstone of my major, Senior Project, has helped pull together the majority of my technical skills in a creative manner, proving to myself that I can still keep up with the more focused Computer Science majors in addition to enjoying a Christian liberal arts education. It is a common view of students in my department that extra-curricular endeavors such as internships and personal projects make up a large portion of our technical education, and that deficiencies in our technical abilities will be made up when we go to work after school. Nevertheless, it is vital that the student graduates with employable skills in his or her field, and that the pursuit of the liberal arts be made in perspective of that fact.”

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