Woodbury University Establishes Applied Computer Science Department within School of Media, Culture & Design

Program Succeeds Media Technology, Bridges Design and Technical Disciplines

Reflecting a heightened emphasis on technology within a creative context, Woodbury University has established an Applied Computer Science Department, effective with the fall 2017 semester, the university announced today.  Housed in the School of Media, Culture & Design (MCD), the program will grant the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Applied Computer Science. 

Successor to MCD’s Media Technology Department, the Applied Computer Science program is a hybrid design/technology degree that prepares students for technical careers in the creative industries.  With a strong foundation in computer science, experience design, media production and project management, students pursue creative projects using cutting-edge technologies.
The B.S. in Applied Computer Science blends cutting-edge, hands-on technology experience with practical and focused courses that put graduates in the best possible position to pursue the career of their choice in the tech industry.  It represents a new and inclusive approach to computer science, emphasizing real-world applications and skills that make Woodbury graduates stand out.
“The Applied Computer Science Department is true to its name,” said Sue Vessella, Dean of the School of Media, Culture & Design.  “We’re not simply emphasizing theoretical knowledge of computer science, but rather placing students in a position where they have an applied context for the work they’re doing.  What are the important approaches, skills and projects that will prepare students for the types of jobs they’re interested in, whether in gaming, the entertainment industry, theme parks, virtual reality or any other creative discipline?”

The Applied Computer Science curriculum seeks to transform students from passive end-users to active agents of technological change.  The department’s Virtual Reality tools give students the opportunity for hands-on experience with the latest technologies (HTC Vive, Microsoft Hololens).  The department provides access to new technologies, bringing professionals from across the technology industry to campus as lecturers and mentors.   Core areas of focus include:

  • Code – focused computer science skill
  • Culture – the context and social trends affecting computingo
  • Creativity – the application of technologies toward a creative goal
  • Collaboration – team-building and cross-disciplinary inquiry
  • Research – informed project prototyping driven by user-focused inquiry
  • Project Management – taking project concepts to completion with accountability
  • Professionalism – building on industry practices and standardso Entrepreneurship – honing communication skills and making a business case

“The department’s philosophy is to embrace the notion of user-centered design and user-centered development,” Vessella said.  “We need to understand who’s using the software, what they need to get done, and how usage can become more efficient, more enjoyable, more creative and more inspiring.”

“Applied Computer Science offers students the best of both worlds,” she noted. “Woodbury is home to award-winning, high-quality design programs that computer science students within a typical large university wouldn’t be in a position to access. And we also offer students a deep dive into the technical side of things, which gets them in the door to that job interview.  When you combine those two, it’s a potent combination that makes those students very attractive to potential employers.”

Unique to Applied Computer Science is the Design/Media Concentration, a sequence of five elective studio courses chosen from Woodbury’s award-winning design departments:  Filmmaking, Animation, Game Art & Design, Fashion Design and Graphic Design. Working with a mentor, students design a customized concentration that reflects their interests and career aspirations, providing a competitive advantage when compared to more traditional computer science departments.

Supporting the Applied Computer Science Department are extensive technical facilities, centered around a 20-seat dual-platform teaching and production lab with state-of-the-art Mac/Windows workstations, a dedicated, electronics teaching and production facility, and a Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality lab.  Equipment available includes SDI switching and confidence monitoring, DJI Inspire One drone, Microsoft Kinect camera kits for 3D sensing, HTC Vive VR system, Microsoft Hololens, digital still and video cameras, portable Mac Pro workstation for video production, extensive projection hardware for media installation, and more.

Woodbury’s School of Media, Culture & Design is a dynamic school with the special mission of educating the next generation of creative professionals.  It offers eight undergraduate degrees in the fields of animation, communication, fashion design, filmmaking, game art and design, graphic design, media technology and psychology.  Students are encouraged to explore the areas between and around these disciplines as they develop their personal vision and professional paths.

School of Media, Culture  & Design

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