Computer Science at Wes

<p>Hey, I was wondering if anyone could comment on the Computer Science department at Wesleyan.</p>

<p>Thanks.</p>

<p>it's an area that tends to highlight Wesleyan's lack of a comprehensive, liberal arts approach to engineering, something the university president has mentioned with an increasing sense of urgency. People do seem to find jobs (or did until the recent recession) and, there's a 3-2 joint program with Caltech and Columbia that will give you a double BA/BS degree in five years, but, in answer to your question, I wouldn't call it one of Wesleyan's cutting-edge departments.</p>

<p>Would it be fair to say that the chem and bio departments are more cutting edge at Wesleyan than math, computer science and physics? I don't know if that is true but the large number of NIH grants that Wesleyan gets makes me wonder if it is stronger in some areas of the sciences, especially bio, than others. Also, is there any information about how many students at Wesleyan use the 3-2 program, which schools they go to, and what they study there?</p>

<p>I read something by President Roth recently about "liberal arts approach to engineering" but it was a single sentence and sounded more like something to think about than something that was urgently needed. Does he have a more extended discussion of the idea somewhere? </p>

<p>I don't know what a liberal arts approach to engineering would be, but it seems that a school like Wesleyan could offer an alternative to engineering schools that are closed to students that do not apply to them in their high school senior year. Ironically, it seems that it is mostly schools like MIT and Caltech that offer the most flexibility to students who might be interested in being engineers.</p>

<p>Wesleyan is extremely strong in the life sciences precisely because there is an academic structure in place that allows each department to cross-pollinate the other in interdisciplinary approaches that allow a small university to compete with much bigger universities for some very cutting-edge research (like human stem-cell research, for example.)</p>

<p>The physical sciences do well for small departments (Astronomy is a top-notch small college program and Chemistry pioneered its own role in the MBBC program over two decades ago), but, could be vastly improved by some similar academic structure that exploited the idea of "design" as a teaching concept. There is already a certificate program that cuts across a spectrum of disciplines, called, "Integrative Genomic Sciences" [url=<a href="http://igs.wesleyan.edu/%5DIGS%5B/url"&gt;http://igs.wesleyan.edu/]IGS[/url&lt;/a&gt;] All it needs is a little augmentation here and there, through strategic faculty appointments, to really bring it home, IMHO.</p>

<p>johnwesley- Do the science and math departments compare favorably to most small
LACs? I do know that some LACs have good math and science (Carleton, Pomona, Williams and Swarthmore) but others seem a little weak (no names!). </p>

<p>Would Wesleyan be a good choice for a student who might want to go on to graduate school in say Chemistry or Physics but who would enjoy a LAC for undergrad?</p>

<p>The natural science and math (NSM) departments at Wesleyan are superior to most LACs. Thanks to their graduate programs that offer Ph.Ds as a terminal degree, there are year-round research opportunities (not just during the summer) and some fairly esoteric sub-specialties (like topology in Math) that are hard to find at other LACs. Generally speaking, a student who might want to go on to graduate school in Chemistry or Physics would find a very supportive, close-knit community of scientists from which to launch their career; the ratio of faculty to majors is so overwhelmingly favorable that it gives undergraduates a stature they might not have at some bigger universities.</p>