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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

University Bulletin Vol. 50, No. 13
Thirteenth Week
Fall Semester
Nov. 11, 2002
 UW-Eau Claire expands high-tech programs
UW-Eau Claire is recruiting additional students for its high-tech academic programs in an effort to help meet the needs of Wisconsin's technology-related businesses, particularly those in western Wisconsin, a region known as Wisconsin's Technology Valley.
     By fall 2003, UW-Eau Claire will enroll at least 80 additional students in its computer science, software engineering and management information systems programs.
     A $1 million commitment to UW-Eau Claire from the state of Wisconsin — known as the Chippewa Valley Initiative — is allowing the university to add faculty and support staff in high-tech program areas. Some of the monies also will be used to create state-of-the-art computer labs, and provide additional research and internship opportunities for students enrolled in technology programs.
     The joint venture with UW-Stout is part of a UW System economic stimulus package designed to benefit the state — in this case, specifically western Wisconsin — as well as students, Chancellor Donald Mash said. The state had originally committed $2.4 million to the Chippewa Valley Initiative but funding was reduced during the state Legislature's budget negotiations earlier this year.
     "By increasing the number of graduates in our computer science, software engineering and MIS programs, we'll provide area businesses with more highly qualified prospective employees," Mash said, noting the Chippewa Valley is home to 15 percent of the state's high-tech businesses while having just 3.5 percent of the state's population. "A significant pool of technology graduates encourages businesses to grow their companies here, which allows even more of our students to begin their careers in the Chippewa Valley."
     Currently, about 600 students are enrolled in high-tech programs at UW-Eau Claire, with about 130 students graduating each year.
     "Due to the strengths of our high-tech programs, employers target UW-Eau Claire students when recruiting technology graduates," said Provost Ronald Satz. "More than 120 local and regional employers with interests in computer science, software engineering and MIS graduates visit our campus each year to try to fill some 200 positions in high technology areas."
     UW-Eau Claire's computer science and MIS programs already have internships established with more than 100 companies, internships that often lead to full-time job offers.
     Demand for qualified high technology professionals will likely continue to increase, experts say. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook projects the occupations of systems analyst, computer scientist and database administrator to be among the fastest growing occupations through 2010. Employment of computer specialists is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations as organizations continue to adopt and integrate increasingly sophisticated technologies, the Handbook states. It goes on to say growth will be driven by rapid growth in computer and data processing services, which is projected to be the fastest growing industry in the U.S. economy.
     Students with an interest and ability in mathematics and logic, and who are detail oriented, have an aptitude for technology-related professions, thus MIS and computer science might be attractive majors for them, said James LaBarre, chair of the MIS department.
     By increasing faculty and support staff in UW-Eau Claire's high-tech program areas, smaller classes will be available, which will mean additional support for students interested in these challenging programs, said Andrew Phillips, chair of the computer science department.
     Additional faculty also will allow more flexibility in times that courses are offered, which helps meet the needs of part-time and/or nontraditional students with an interest in technology-related careers, Phillips said.
     "This initiative allows us to do an even better job of serving our traditional, full-time students, while increasing access for other students," Phillips said.
UW-Eau Claire Web improved, old search engine replaced
UW-Eau Claire's Web site has undergone several changes to its top-level pages. One improvement is the new "search this site" function found on the upper left side of each top-level page. The old search engine has been replaced with a new system that returns results in order of relevance and allows indexing from multiple servers. An option to fold date relevance into the results is available by clicking the "score using date" button, and an advanced search feature allows users to further refine their searches. The new search engine also provides tips on how to get the best results.
     Another new feature, "skip links," which is on the home page of each main category page, is transparent to most users, but beneficial to people using special browsing tools. On the upper right side of the page, a graphic target link is embedded that allows a browser to go directly to the main content area on the page. Someone using a screen reader, for instance, would otherwise need to press the tab key repetitively past all the "hot links" and each item in the "A-Z site lists."
     And, finally, there have been some major enhancements to the "Calendar of Events" system, including an improved interface for those entering the information. A keyword search and the ability to display by day, week, month or year also have been enabled.
     For more information about these changes, e-mail Lillian Hillis at or call at 836-4214.
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Liz Wolf Green, Editor
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741
Diane Walkoff, Editorial Assistant

Updated: November 11, 2002