Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

November 2, 2007

Whitworth Leads National Trend with New International Software Management Degree

Whitworth is offering a new degree in international software management in response to the changes that globalization and outsourcing have brought about in software companies' employment demands. The Whitworth Mathematics and Computer Science Department began offering the new degree option in fall 2007 to better equip graduates with the skills necessary to succeed in the evolving software industry. Whitworth is one of only a few universities nationwide offering software-management degree programs; Carnegie Mellon University, a recognized pioneer in the field of software-engineering education and research, launched a master's-degree program in software management last spring at its West Coast campus in Silicon Valley.

"Whitworth's new degree addresses the fact that computer science has become a global discipline that requires the ability to manage software projects developed across multiple international sites," says Associate Professor of Computer Science Peter Tucker. "The degree also addresses current trends in international project development, and coordination and management in computer science."

The international software management degree is built on Whitworth's existing computer science program, which incorporates computer science theory and software development capabilities, but adds emphases on integration with the international business community and ethical and management issues specific to international technology projects. Students graduating with this degree will gain the skills and training necessary to work on international software projects, to coordinate international software development, and to engage in general business applications development. The degree is also applicable for students interested in developing or managing technology for international nonprofit organizations. By adding a few additional courses, students would be prepared to pursue graduate study in either business or computer science.

"The presence of a strong computer science program in a traditional liberal-arts institution generates well-rounded graduates who have the foundation to excel in interdisciplinary, cross-cultural enterprises," says Associate Professor of Computer Science Susan Mabry, chair of the Whitworth Mathematics and Computer Science Department. "This new degree option presents an exciting opportunity for students to graduate from Whitworth prepared with advanced computing knowledge, effective communication skills, appreciation for cultural differences, awareness of international challenges in the software industry, and the confidence to interact effectively in a global economy."

Students earning the international software management degree are required to take the Computing Technology Management course, which examines theory and practice in management of software projects and explores information technology in internationally competitive organizations. A second requirement is that students must take part in an international study program. One such program is CS 360: Computer Science in a Cultural Context, which features study experiences in India or in Ireland/Wales. In January 2006, Professor of Computer Science Kent Jones took eight students to India, where they participated in seminar exchanges at universities, visited industries, and studied research advances, the role technology plays in Indian society compared with its role in the U.S., and ethical issues that have local and global impact.

"To serve humanity, we need to follow Christ's example of interacting with humanity," Jones says. "Relating with another culture's thought processes, challenges and opportunities requires meeting that culture on its own ground. CS 360 presents students with a unique opportunity to engage with and understand another culture." 

In January 2008, Mabry will take students to Ireland and Wales for the second time. Components of the Ireland/Wales study-abroad program include curriculum and business visits involving international-project management, university exchanges and cultural exchanges. All occur in regions of the world that are thriving with new information-technology economic growth. 

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Susan Mabry, associate professor of mathematics and computer science, Whitworth University (509) 777-4686 or smabry@whitworth.edu.  

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth University (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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