Delgado, Southeastern share funding to upgrade computer curricula, develop coordinated programming
Contact: Rene Abadie, Southeastern
Molly Jahncke, Delgado, www.dcc.edu
A $965,000 grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents to Delgado Community College in a partnership with Southeastern Louisiana University will fund workforce-related upgrades in computer technology curricula and equipment at both institutions.
The four-year grant – part of the board’s Post-Katrina Support Fund Initiative (PKSFI) – will also support the formation of a joint “2+2” articulation program that allows Delgado students to easily transition from the institution’s two-year associate degree program to a four-year degree program at Southeastern.
Officials at both institutions said the grant aims to develop Delgado’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and to further update, refocus and modernize the IT-related curricula at Delgado and Southeastern to meet the needs and challenges of the region’s workforce.
Warren E. Duclos Jr., chair of Delgado’s Computer Information Technology, Business and Technology Division, is the principal investigator in the grant. Cris Koutsougeras, professor and chair of the Southeastern Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology, and Troy Kammerdiener, assistant professor of computer science, are co-principal investigators.
“The new curriculum will be developed with the current market’s needs and opportunities in mind,” explained Duclos. “We are focusing on high-growth professions that are not being outsourced offshore, as well as those that will be in highest demand during the region’s rebuilding process and beyond.”
“The grant will build on the strengths of both institutions,” added Koutsougeras, “and allow us to pursue a new coordinated degree program in which Delgado students who successfully complete the associate program there will be able to seamlessly pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree at Southeastern.”
Delgado will focus on adding new concentrations in the critical employment-focused areas of web design and information technology services, areas considered crucial for business infrastructure in the region. Delgado will also develop new multi-disciplinary concentrations in the strategic areas of information security, e-commerce and electronic/digital media.
Duclos said the grant gives Delgado’s program the resources to partner with other academic units at the institution to enhance the students’ educational experience for specific career paths.
“For example, we can build a comprehensive e-commerce program by blending business studies with IT or an excellent media technologies program by joining media arts with IT,” he explained.
In the coordinated degree program, Delgado’s Computer Information Technology Department and Southeastern’s Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology will develop the appropriate coordination and articulation of the 2+2 program. The curriculum option at the two institutions will be developed in such a way that advanced electives at Southeastern can complement and provide continuity with related courses taken by Delgado graduates.
Using grant funds, Delgado will develop new labs necessary to support the modernization of programs as well as the development of the new curriculum. At Southeastern, a Networked Systems Administration Laboratory (NetSal) computer lab will be developed to provide server support for web development instruction at Delgado while enhancing systems administration and web technology instruction at Southeastern.
NetSal will be a state-of-the-art web server lab with 32 server machines to support web design, administration and other courses at Delgado and will also support many courses in Southeastern’s IT program, including Internet programming, information systems, software engineering and database systems.
“What is unique about this project is that NetSal will be supported by students who are taking courses at Southeastern in systems administration, computer networking, principles of information assurance, and web systems and technologies,” Koutsougeras said. “These students will form network/system administration teams that will offer real services to other classes at Delgado and Southeastern, thus enhancing their education with real world training that is second to none.”
In addition, Southeastern will develop and run a Transitional Student Mentoring and Tutoring program – called TransMAT -- that uses the NetSale lab to provide support to students transitioning from Delgado’s associate program to Southeastern’s four-year bachelor’s program.
“Southeastern students taking a specific system administration course will provide the support to Delgado students who need web services for their projects,” explained Kammerdiener. “This will provide a uniquely realistic educational experience for our students while putting valuable resources at the disposal of Delgado’s IT classes.”
Program funding extends over four years and will proceed in several cycles, all involving research, planning, building and implementation. The first year of the program will emphasize building and implementing the Web design concentration, planning the “2+2” program with Southeastern, and conducting research and planning for Delgado’s e-commerce and IT support concentrations. The implementation phase will involve acquiring assets, adding a fully-funded faculty position, and providing training and faculty support.
Second, third and fourth years will provide for the same four-step methodology across new and different concentrations that represent workforce development in the areas of greatest opportunity for students and greatest impact on post-Katrina rebuilding.
About PKSFI Grant Funding
The PKSFI initiative came into being in December of 2005 when the Regents voted to set aside $26.8 million from the Board of Regents Support Fund to 1) underwrite scientific projects targeted to advance science in Louisiana at national and international levels, accelerate economic development and lead to the establishment of nationally-recognized research centers, and 2) fund educational reforms which strengthen Louisiana’s scientific student pipeline.
Delgado’s award falls under the PKSFI education subprogram, which specified that proposals provide plans for the improvement of undergraduate science education that feature broad impact/workforce development potential, institutional leveraging, sustainability and scalability, and a provision for assessment.