Digital Sciences shows increase in graduate student enrollment

Robert+Walker%2C+director+of+the+School+of+Digital+Sciences%2C+presents+to+faculty+during+the+School+of+Digital+sciences+third+birthday+party+Thursday.+Oct.+30%2C+2014.

Robert Walker, director of the School of Digital Sciences, presents to faculty during the School of Digital science’s third birthday party Thursday. Oct. 30, 2014.

Karl Schneider

The School of Digital Sciences’ graduate program increased its graduate student enrollment by more than 100 percent this semester.

The school had 315 graduate students last spring and has increased to 644 students this semester. 

The School of Digital Sciences (DSCI) began in Fall 2011. During Spring 2012, Kent State’s 15th Day Numbers showed a total enrollment of 30 students in the program, including both graduate and undergraduate.

“The growth of new students really started in the Spring 2015 semester,” Robert Walker, director of the School of Digital Sciences, said.

Walker took two trips to India to recruit specifically for the program. Kent State has a liaison in New Delhi, Walker said, and arrangements were made for him to visit education fairs around the areas targeted to technology oriented graduates.

The school is an entity independent of other colleges, which gives it a unique status at Kent State.

Walker said the graduate program within the school offers a “more flexible and customizable degree.” One in which “the student can distinguish (themselves) from their colleagues with a more traditional degree.”

Students within the school’s graduate program are able to take courses not generally offered by traditional graduate programs, Walker said.

“It’s an interdisciplinary degree to give (the student) more breadth,” Walker said.

One senior in the program transferred from the University of Cincinnati after his friend suggested the digital sciences program.

Andrew Smith built his own computer while attending Cincinnati and became interested in coding and the technology sciences.

“(Digital sciences isn’t) heavy in the IT area, but gives you a perspective in the humanities and business,” Smith said. “I learned how to code, but also took ethics. You get your fingers into a bit of everything.”

Smith plans on finding a job before pursuing a master’s degree. Though he’s no certain which field he wants to work in, he is leaning toward cyber security or program management, he said.

Despite digital sciences being relatively new to Kent State, Smith has enjoyed the time he has spent in the program so far. 

“They’re still feeling out how to best teach it, but they’ve done a good job,” Smith said. “So far, I’ve learned a lot and I’m really enjoying my classes.”

Karl Schneider is an administrative reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]