About the Department
Whitman has offered a Computer Science major since the 2017-2018 academic year. The major emphasizes foundational knowledge in computer science alongside practical experience. We emphasize academic integrity and social responsibility, for example, through our annual Pledge of the Computing Professional. Our students have gone on to internships and full-time positions with such diverse organizations as Capitol One, Ingeniux, Key Technologies, MulticoreWare, Nori, and StockCharts.com, as well as research experiences at institutions such as Caltech and University of North Carolina.
We aim to build a supportive intellectual community, and there are many opportunities for student leadership. Our pedagogy emphasizes active learning and collaboration. Many classes are taught in our main lab, Olin 124, because they include hands-on programming exercises, as well as collective design exercises, small-group discussions, and team projects. The department sponsors class mentors, who assist during introductory- and intermediate-level classes and offer additional office hours. Outside of class meetings, faculty are very accessible with offices right across the hall. Lab aides are stationed in Olin 124 most evenings to assist with introductory-level assignments. The CS Commons across the hall provides large whiteboards, large and small tables, a couch area, and extra workstations for working and socializing with other students and faculty. Olin 228, upstairs, provides additional lab space for smaller classes and work outside of class. A faculty-sponsored weekly lunch series provides informal advising and community among the majors. The student club CS@Whitman (or C-SAW) provides support for students to learn new tools and develop personal projects, with a new hackerspace in the basement of the WCTS building.
The department has three permanent members with a broad range of interests. Students majoring in Computer Science have opportunities to work with faculty on research projects; some of these projects have resulted in presentations at professional meetings and/or the Whitman Undergraduate Conference. Topics have included biological modeling, persuasive technology, and sentiment analysis.
Students interested in Computer Science courses or the Computer Science major are welcome to consult with any faculty member.