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Campus Senate expands student options

UIS students can look forward to yet another degree path available to them in the near future. The Campus Senate voted unanimously on Friday to create an Information Systems Security major. The program would teach students skills related to computer security, especially about database protection.

According to the Undergraduate Council in a memo to the provost, “The systems based approach of this degree will give students the technical knowledge and theory behind security tools as well as the ability to administer, write and implement security plans.”

They argued that the major had become necessary and valuable to students since, “Due to the pervasive use of computers for information storage, systems security has become an integral and significant part of every aspect of business and government. As a result of this integration there is a tremendous need for qualified individuals in this area.”

Some concerns were raised as to potential issues with providing students with hacking skills. Professor Peter Boltuc asked, “Are there any concerns….whether we would be training any hackers?” He went on to point out that teaching hacking techniques is actually illegal under federal law. Defenders of the major quickly moved to assure him and the senate that ethics remained a vital aspect of the proposed curriculum, and that every effort was expended to prevent misuse of the knowledge taught in the currently existent classes.

After assurances that the program would require no new funding and is expected to increase university revenue, the Senate voted unanimously to pass the resolution.

The Senate continued by reading a resolution for the creation of a new M.A. program in Business Intelligence. According to the application for the program, “Business Intelligence (BI) is an industry term for a broad category of applications, technologies, and processes for gathering, storing, accessing, and analyzing data to help business users analyze situations and make fact-based, informed decisions.”

Once again, Boltuc raised concerns about the proposal, asking if the title might cause some confusion. He suggested that the proposed curriculum did not include any course dealing with Business Intelligence in its more traditional understanding.

However, he was quickly assured that the name is standard in the business world, and professor Xiaoqing Li even pointed out that a quick Google search revealed much the same information. The Senate then agreed to move on, and that they will return to this resolution at the next meeting.

The Senate also approved two other resolutions. First, they unanimously support a suggestion for the modification of procedures for faculty members’ applications for tenure. The new provisions would allow applicants to reply to comments and concerns raised by the Tenure Review Committee at any time during the process. Second, they passed a resolution to create promotion paths for clinical faculty members.

Finally, the Senate discussed legislation to clarify grading policy language. Specifically, the resolution would change the phrasing of the policy establishing the minimum academic requirements for graduate school completion. The current language allows graduate students to apply up to eight credit hours of class, in which they received a “C” grade, to their degree, provided that they had a similar number of “A’s.” The proposed change would instead allow for two courses in which students received a “C” to apply to their degree.

The measure was mostly administrative in nature, since the current system caused a fair number of hassles with the University computer system. However, the proposition caused a fair amount of discourse. A debate raged on the fairness of using courses over credit hours, however, no clear decision was made. The resolution will be voted on during the next session.

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