University News

WIU Computer Science Dept. Celebrates Silver Anniversary

August 27, 2008

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MACOMB, IL -- Eight years before British physicist Tim Berners-Lee and his team at the international scientific research organization CERN introduced a text-based Web browser that marked the 1991 beginnings of the World Wide Web, Western Illinois University established its computer science (CS) department. During the 2008-2009 academic year, the department will celebrate its silver anniversary.

"We're pleased to take this opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future of the computer science department," said Kathy Neumann, CS department chair. "There is so much about the computer science field and department that has evolved in the last 25 years."

Western's CS department grew out of several academic areas at the University, including math, accountancy and quantitative and information sciences, Neumann noted.

Today, the department not only offers courses in many of the fundamental computer science concepts as it did when it began in 1983, but it also has expanded course offerings and created new majors--like telecommunications management--to accommodate new technologies and developments in the field.

To meet the changing demands of CS employers, department faculty and staff have conceptualized and developed an innovative five-year bachelor's and master's degree in computer science that began this semester. The program provides an opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to complete a traditional four-year undergraduate degree in computer science and then, with one additional year, earn a graduate degree.

"The integrated five-year degree builds on Western Illinois University's foundation of academic excellence and promotes the intellectual and personal growth of students," Neumann said. "The program also sends much-needed, qualified master's graduates into the workplace one year sooner."

The computer science master's degree program is one of the largest at WIU, with enrollment numbers approaching 100 students.

Learn more about Western's department of computer science at

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