Changing needs, changing curricula

Richard Baskerville, professor and chair of computer information systems at Georgia State’s Robinson College of Business, says that about a year ago, he realized that there were two major changes taking place in the information systems career field.

“One was managerially oriented, the other technology oriented. The managerial one, we term the global division of work. The technology one is in the area of services-oriented architecture (SOA).”

To Baskerville and his colleagues, offshore outsourcing means that CIOs are increasingly managing people and services around the globe through the use of IT. “I think CIOs are going to lead the rest of the management field in this,” Baskerville predicts.

That view guided the IT braintrust at Robinson on a year-long mission to overhaul its Master of Science in Computer Information Systems (CIS) curriculum, which takes effect next fall. To better teach SOA, the school moved its programming courses onto a Microsoft .NET framework.

On the managerial front, in the fall of 2005, the school will also require courses in project management, process innovation and systems integration. Students will be able to choose a concentration in information systems management, systems development and project management, or business process innovation.

In fall 2006, the school hopes to offer medical informatics and in 2007, wireless organization. These new programs, according to Baskerville, will focus less on “building systems from scratch” and more on “integrating systems to solve business problems.”

He hopes this will attract more students. In the last four years, the number of students in Robinson’s CIS program dropped from 2,000 to 650. But Baskerville is optimistic about the future. “In a year, I think we’ll have a shortage of IT workers again,” he says.

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