- Many liberal arts colleges are evolving their program offerings to incorporate interdisciplinary connections with computer science, responding to demand from students and the labor market.
- Inside Higher Ed reports that Bates College in Maine is one of the latest to do so, introducing the interdisciplinary digital and computational studies program to give students a chance to use electronic platforms and software and also analyze and visualize complex datasets.
- While some faculty are resistant to the change, others embrace the opportunity to incorporate computer science into their existing courses with support, and administrators celebrate the new population of students that can be recruited to a liberal arts degree.
Computer science degrees are in high demand as policymakers and labor market analysts decry the massive skills gap that could hurt U.S. productivity. Republican governors and lawmakers, especially, have threatened to withdraw funding from liberal arts programs at state colleges and universities. As college costs continue to rise, the value proposition of higher education is being centered on post-graduate earnings.
Still, advocates of the liberal arts know the broad experience and strong critical thinking skills these students get can prepare them for their first job as well as future jobs that might not even exist yet. Stanford is also among schools offering computer science and humanities dual degrees. This pairing seems like it may be the new, great compromise for liberal arts programs.