New classes hack computer science degrees

Ryan Marion

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Weber State University will be offering four new concurrent enrollment classes this semester for participating high school students interested in getting a head start on their computer science degrees.

Upon completing all four courses, a student may obtain a Programming Essentials Certificate of Proficiency. According to Brian Rague, associate dean of the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, the program is an incentive to better prepare Weber State’s student community for a growing competitive market.

“There are no prerequisites for the certificate. We’re just trying to tap into this idea of stacking our credentials,” said Rague, “so that student can feel a sense of accomplishment by completing all of these provided courses.”

Schools in Weber, Ogden, Davis and Morgan School Districts will offer these courses, as will NUAMES.

Rague said these secondary schools were first chosen for their proximity to Weber State as an effort to strengthen the community’s education network.

The new concurrent enrollment program was partially funded by a grant by the Strategic Workforce Investment, a fund to support partnerships between educational institutions to serve the region’s industry workforce.

“Our college has applied for support and justified that support by providing stackable credentials, such as this certificate,” said Rague. “SWI is just like any other type of grant, funding support that perpetuates the idea of bringing students into our engineering and computer programs.”

Weber State’s EAST applied for this grant for their Programming Essentials Certificate of Proficiency concurrent enrollment program, but according to Rague, the university already has an initiative to better prepare high school students for college and beyond with their history of concurrent enrollment programs with or without external funding.

According to The Utah System of Higher Education, SWI was formed by the Utah State Legislature in 2016. In 2017, it opened a window for grant applicant proposals. This grant appropriated $1.5 million in 2017 to be provided to approved applicants.

Weber State concurrent enrollment programs predate SWI, and many such programs were funded internally. According to Rague, it has been Weber State’s initiative, and SWI was simply an opportunity to better support their goals.

“SWI helps because before it was just an initiative that we took seriously as a college because we believed that students should take these classes earlier rather than later,” Rague said.