ASU launches new degree program in information technology


March 13, 2013

Students interested in computer science will have even more degree options at ASU when the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) rolls out both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in information technology (IT) this fall.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in the information technology sector are among the fastest growing occupations between 2010 and 2020 and are projected to grow by 22 percent. CTI is responding to the growth opportunity by introducing a program that prepares IT students for collaborative problem-solving and insight into industry best practices. Download Full Image

The new IT degree is a flexible, project-driven program focused on computerized acquisition, modeling, representation and retrieval of digital data and documents. The program features a structure that all CTI majors adhere to, which calls for students to work on relevant hands-on projects during each semester and eventually work with an external customer on an authentic practice-based problem related to information technology.

“We have infused the CTI project-based teaching model and industry collaboration to create a different kind of IT curriculum,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “When our students graduate, they won’t just have the technical knowledge, but they will have industry experience and achievements.”

Students can choose from three focus areas: design and construction of Web applications; security administration of computer and network systems; and video game design and construction. Students can begin taking classes this fall.

Currently, the college offers a degree in software engineering, but Montoya says the IT program will offer a more specialized application of computer technology. The IT degrees will prepare students for careers in industry, education or government, and students can expect to develop the ability to conceptualize, organize and realize information technology projects that meet the needs of users within an organizational or societal context.

“The IT industry will experience tremendous change in the coming years, driven by our ability to apply technology to every important aspect of our daily lives – health care, energy, entertainment and education,” said Gordon Wishon, chief information officer for ASU. “You can choose to be swept along by these changes or, with a degree from CTI, you can choose to be a part of creating this new world.”

CTI’s new IT program also offers a pathway for community college students who graduate with an associate's degree in IT and want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the same field, providing even more opportunities for employment.

IT graduates will be prepared for a variety of occupations from large or midsized corporations to small startups. Career opportunities include computer systems and information security analysts, web developers, computer network architects and database administrators.

Contributor: Sydney B. Donadlson, College of Technology and Innovation

Hero Award for blood donations goes to hard-working 'vampire'


March 13, 2013

Margaret (Maggie) Lacerenza is not a vampire, but she managed to coax more life-giving blood from Arizona State University staff than an army of the undead.

United Blood Services (UBS) recently honored Lacerenza, an accounting assistant at the Graduate College, with a Hero Award, their top award for outstanding leadership in blood drive coordination. Maggie Lacerenza, top blood drive coordinator Download Full Image

ASU was the blood drive leader with 61 drives held on campus during 2012, and a total of 1,447 blood donations. Lacerenza coordinated five of those drives, but was the only coordinator at ASU to receive the award because of the extent of her efforts.

The rigorous criteria for the award included meeting goals for each drive, using online scheduling to fill appointments, and holding blood drives during the most difficult time of the year. Coordinators must reach 50 points in the various criteria to qualify for the award. Only 2 percent of all blood drive coordinators qualify for the Hero Award. Lacerenza was the highest-scoring coordinator in Arizona, with 75 points.

“Most of the drives at ASU were coordinated by or for students,” says Lacerenza. “I decided to focus on staff.” She became a one-woman marketing machine, posting flyers around campus, emailing and networking with staff members. “If you make it convenient for staff, and communicate with them, they are much more willing to volunteer,” she says.

Many blood donors came from the staff at the Graduate College, Student Services, the University Registrar’s office and the Consortium for Science Policy. “I also became like a door-to-door sales salesman,” she says, walking unfamiliar halls and knocking on office doors with only one or two staff members present. She used vacation days to be present when the UBS bus arrived, to stay and greet donors and thank them for their contribution.

Of her dedication to the drives, she mentions the 11-year-old boy with leukemia she met at a UBS dinner, who said that he depended on regular transfusions. “His biggest fear was that they would run out of his blood type and he would die.”

“You can give money to a cause, but donating blood is more personal. You know your blood will be in another person’s body, someone for whom it may be a life-or-death situation.”

Editor Associate, University Provost