CIS enrollment increase influences expansion

Leighann McGivern

Enrollment in the computer and information systems program has nearly doubled in the last five years, from 62 students in Fall 2006 to 113 students this year.

Enrollment in the CIS major

62 – Fall 2006

63 – Fall 2007

48 – Fall 2008

44 – Fall 2009

101 – Fall 2010

Current – 113

Computer information systems are “the software systems that are essential to the daily operation of organizations,” according to the major’s website. Examples include airline reservation systems, bank automated teller systems, trade systems for stock exchanges and accounting and auditing systems.

The CIS major, which falls under the management and information systems department in the College of Business Administration, teaches students how to “design and manage such computer systems for a company and how to help people use the computer system effectively and efficiently,” according to the CIS website.

Pratim Datta, a management and information systems assistant professor, said the increased enrollment is the result of teamwork between CIS industry members, students and faculty.

“It is this engaged teamwork that is a recipe for higher enrollments,” Datta said. “Our CIS students are the worthiest ambassadors of our program and deserve the most credit. They manifest and promote Kent State’s ‘Excellence in Action.’”

Felix Offodile, chairperson for management and information systems, said he attributes the recent growth to professional involvement in the program through the Center for Information Systems.

“It’s a method for professionals in the industry who come here and actually help provide internships for our majors, and some of them are interested in hiring our majors,” Offodile said. “They help us with the curriculum, tell us what is current, what the average employer is looking for.”

Although Offodile is pleased with the increased interest in the CIS major, he said if enrollment continues to increase, the program will have to make some adjustments.

“Obviously, we need to provide more faculty,” Offodile said. “In the next year or so, we hope to add more faculty, in particular those who have the expertise in the areas we’re trying to market.”

Additionally, Offodile said he is looking into adding new courses and sections to accommodate the growing interest in the program. He also said the admissions process is becoming more selective.

“We’re being more proactive, and we’re stressing the strengths of the program and what the advantages are for students,” Offodile said. “Therefore, more students are interested, so we can choose who we want to admit to make the program even stronger.”

Catherine Bakes, management and information systems associate professor, said she attributes the growth to increased promotion, in particular during a recent Information Technology and Information Systems Career Expo.

“More than 500 students attended this year’s Expo on March 3,” Bakes said. “These presentations emphasize that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts huge demand for IT graduates and that IT salaries are among the highest of all professions. This combination of activities has been very successful in attracting students to the major.”

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected].