The University of Saint Francis is launching three new computer science undergraduate programs and partnerships with local technology companies starting this fall, university officials announced Monday.
Students can now enroll in four-year programs in game and application development, cyber security and computer information systems, said Andrew Prall, vice president of academic affairs at USF. Prall was joined Monday by Mayor Tom Henry and Aptera Software President T.K. Herman.
"We recognize how important the STEM fields are to our employers in the northeast Indiana region, and we really think the University of Saint Francis is uniquely positioned to offer programs in cybersecurity, game and application development and computer information systems," Prall said.
Students become more technology-savvy every year, Prall said, noting that demand has increased for computer science-related academic programs.
Prall said the university anticipates the new academic programs will attract new students. USF expects about 15 new students the first year of the program, Prall said. The university is in the process of hiring new professors to staff the program.
In addition to the new programs, USF is connecting with local businesses to offer hands-on learning opportunities for computer science students. Aptera Software, located in downtown Fort Wayne, is one of those businesses.
"While the students are in school, we do a variety of internships," Herman said. "We have students everywhere from full-time internships where they're actually working full time for us while going to school, and we also have internships during the typical timeframes, summertime, Christmastime and so forth."
The new programs will help northeast Indiana address a growing need for skilled workers in computer science-related fields. Prall said by offering these classes along with partnerships with local businesses, USF will be able to help keep skilled technology workers in northeast Indiana.
"The biggest challenge that we have is finding qualified talent. As we continue to grow the business, we need people to do the work for us, and having a program like this at St. Francis to broaden that talent pool in Fort Wayne is very significant," Herman said. "Not just for us, but for companies in general."
More information about the programs and admission applications can be found at admissions.sf.edu.