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To: Professor Julie Letellier, chair Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Department, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater
From: David Phelps, Junior, Computer Science <>
Date: February 12, 2014
Subject: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Computer Science Department at

The major of computer science has many unique strengths that are particular to
UW-Whitewater. These strengths would only be further enhanced by addressing some
of its weaknesses.

The strengths of UW-Whitewater’s Computer Science major is based
primarily on their enthusiastic teaching staff and strong foundation in


 Having the math and computer sciences departments combined ensures
that students are well grounded with the fundamentals necessary for
programming languages at every level.
 Computer theory is based on mathematics and is covered extensively.
 There are a large amount of extra-curricular activities and events regarding
computer science that gives valuable experience to those willing to
 There is ample access to computers within the department for an excellent
hands-on experience. Examples can be worked through as they are
 The computer science staff is very friendly, willing to help with little
notice and enthusiastic about the subject matter. It makes the students
excited and enthusiastic as well.
 Many guest lecturers are invited to speak at the campus.

The weaknesses of the UW-Whitewater computer science major is based on a
lack of acceptance of computer science as a unique field of study.

 Unlike 90% of other colleges UW-Whitewater does not have its own
computer science department.
 Students feel “out of touch” with their department because the department
head is always of a mathematics background and not a computer science
 Although well-grounded in computer science theory due to an extensive
expertise in mathematics, the majority of computer science relates to
programming languages which have a stronger relationship with English
and/or language in general than mathematics.
 The current technology and budget UW-Whitewater focuses on computer
science is extremely lacking for ALL subjects. This “old fashionedness”
makes it extremely difficult for students to keep up with the cutting edge in
any subject.
 The current math curriculum for computer science majors includes various
levels of calculus. Most students will use an extremely limited, extremely
focused calculus during their profession. A mathematics class specific to
computer science might be developed.
 Professors are teaching from current edition books while students have
books that are 20 years old, and are not applicable to current technology.

The strong amount of mathematics in our computer science curriculum is
appreciated when it comes to designing mathematical logarithms, paradigms,
vectors, and doing any kind of graphical programming. If there is a way to
combine our mathematical strength within the program with the diversity and
acceptance of new technologies while remaining within budget it would ensure
that UW-Whitewater students of computer science are one step ahead of other
computer science graduates rather than falling behind the curve.

Thank you for your time and understanding when considering this information
from a students’ perspective.