Regents grant SDSU projects go-ahead

Justin R. Lessman

Justin R. Lessman

A request to further explore the development of two new degree programs in global studies and software engineering at SDSU was approved Thursday by the South Dakota Board of Regents at their meeting on campus.

The requests, brought forth by SDSU Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Peterson, required permission from the BOR to continue looking into the possibility of adding the two majors to the university’s curriculum.

Software engineering is the application of engineering concepts, methods and tools to the development of software systems. The degree program would be closely aligned with electrical engineering and computer science.

“The software engineering program is an essential movement in engineering,” Peterson said. “This is a unique field for us to look to.”

Dean of the College of Engineering Lewis Brown said that software engineering will become one of the most sought after fields of study soon, yet less than 20 programs exist in the country.

“This is vital to, in particular, eastern South Dakota,” he said. “The desire for this field will impact how we offer our engineering program.”

Regent James Hansen moved to “enthusiastically” support the software engineering study proposal.

The request to further study the development of a global studies major was met with more opposition, however.

Director of International Programs Harriet Swedlund said the global studies proposal was developed in response to President Peggy Miller’s 1999 platform goals.

“President Miller challenged us all to have SDSU graduates that are able to survive successfully in a multi-cultural society,” Swedlund said.

Three Regents questioned the need for the program, at least as a major. Regent Jack Reutschler said he saw the program having more promise as a minor, rather than a major.

“I see this as a complement to another field of study,” he said.

“I don’t want a student to graduate just knowing where all the countries are and that’s it.”

Regent Pat Lebrun questioned what the program would consist of and what the requirements would be.

Peterson said the program has a long way to go before curriculum is defined.

Miller said she was pleased that the Board of Regents gave consent to the university to keep looking into the two new fields of study.

“These two majors fit well with the land grant mission of SDSU,” she said.

“Computer software drives virtually all aspects of business, communications, engineering, entertainment, government, industry and science. It only stands to reason that we would offer a more specialized degree in this area.”