A History of Computing at Michigan Tech, Part II
Now in its third year, the College of Computing is on an upward trajectory. Student enrollment is up appreciably and other key indicators confirm that the upward trend will continue. In this three-part series, we take a close look at how we got here, what our college looks like today, and what we’re working to accomplish as we look to the future. Part I | Part II | Part III
Strong Enrollment Growth
At nearly 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, enrollment growth remains strong at Michigan Tech. In fact, the university has reported the largest incoming freshman class since 1982, including large gains in the number of women and students from ethnically diverse communities. Moreover, the incoming students’ academic credentials remain the highest in University history.
A sizable chunk of Michigan Tech’s growth this fall can be attributed to programs in the College of Computing, which grew by over 10 percent this year alone. The college’s fall enrollment is 869 undergraduate and graduate students, which breaks last year’s fall enrollment record of 789.
“This growth reflects the excitement surrounding computing and the job opportunities for our graduates.,” says Dean Dennis Livesay. “The College of Computing was created to ensure that Michigan Tech will meet the needs of the region’s growing tech ecosystem, and we’re working to make that happen.”
The Departments of Computer Science and Applied Computing
The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, the second largest academic major at Michigan Tech, accounts for slightly more than half of the college’s total enrollment. Additional Computer Science majors are the B.S. in Software Engineering and graduate degree programs in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, and Data Science.
Much of this year’s growth is within the new Department of Applied Computing, established in fall 2020. Enrollment in the graduate program in Mechatronics nearly tripled, and the bachelor’s in Mechatronics grew from one to eighteen students. Dr. Alex Sergeyev, director of the Mechatronics graduate program, believes that people and industry have started to understand that Mechatronics is very much a part of the future of engineering.
“Graduate-level Mechatronics degree programs are close to non-existent in the U.S. We have pioneered both undergraduate and graduate mechatronics degrees here at Michigan Tech, and I strongly believe that this fall’s growth is just a beginning,” says Professor Alex Sergeyev, Applied Computing.
The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, in its third year, grew to 76 students for 90 percent growth over last year. The Cybersecurity program is unique in that it is the only undergraduate program in the college shared by the Applied Computing and Computer Science departments.
Michigan Tech has developed a national and international reputation in cybersecurity education, research, and outreach activities. For example, a recent $3.3 million CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service grant from the National Science Foundation provides full-ride scholarships to Michigan Tech students who are interested in studying cybersecurity.
Health Informatics MS
The College of Computing’s Health Informatics graduate program saw an 80 percent enrollment increase this fall. Dr. Guy Hembroff, director of the Health Informatics (HI) program, believes this growth, as well as growth of the Cybersecurity undergraduate program, can be attributed to industry changes.
“As the number of data sources and volume of information used in the clinical decision process continues to rapidly increase, it becomes impossible for physicians alone to properly aggregate and interpret all of this data,” says Dr. Guy Hembroff, associate professor. “This requires people who are educated in the fields of health informatics to develop trusted models aimed at supporting clinicians in these medical decisions.”
A Key Provider of Expertise and Talent
The College of Computing, established in 2019, works to meet the technological and talent needs of the 21st century. As Michigan’s only academic college solely focused on computing, the College has quickly become a key provider of expertise and talent in artificial intelligence, software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, mechatronics, and more.
“Put simply, our goal is to be the premier provider of computing talent to the state of Michigan, and beyond.” Livesay notes. “And the growth that we see now, and anticipate coming over the next few years, shows that we’re on the right path.”
In the final installment of this three-part blog series, “Dean Livesay Presents His Vision for the College”, we’ll highlight what the college is doing to fulfill the promise of the college. Priorities, planned programs, and new and strengthened partnerships are included.