School of Computing and Software Engineering School of Computing and Software Engineering Southern Polytechnic State University

Dean's Update, December 2009


As you know, SPSU has been engaged in an extensive multi-year project to receive re-affirmation of its institutional accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools (SACS). Institutional accreditation, also known as regional accreditation, is crucial as, without it, an institution is not eligible for federal funding.

I am pleased to announce that at its annual meeting on December 8, SACS formally reaffirmed SPSU's institutional accreditation for an additional 10 years.

Obviously, this achievement required the efforts of a good many faculty and staff at SPSU. However, I would like to highlight the role of Becky Rutherfoord of the Department of Information Technology, who is SPSU's SACS liaison and who led the effort, and of Bob Brown, also of the Department of Information Technology, who is leading the implementation of SPSU's Quality Enhancement Plan, an important element in our SACS re-accreditation.


As I announced last month, Congress declared the week of December 6 Computer Science education week. CSE held a number of events to mark the occasion. For example, both the industry advisory boards for our undergraduate programs in Computer Science and Information Technology met and reviewed a number of undergraduate capstone projects.

We also had a number of demos of student work, including robot demos from students in Pat Pierce's CSE 1302 class and games that Jon Preston's students had developed. There are links to both at

One of my personal favorite events was the "Will it blend" event organized jointly with the student chapter of the ACM in which students tried to figure out, using a high end kitchen blender, which pieces of computer equipment could be destroyed in a blender. There was coverage of the "Will-it-blend" event both in the Atlanta Journal Constitution here and in the online version of the Marietta Daily Journal here. The latter shows the blender in action.


On December 5, CSE hosted a workshop entitled "Distributed Computing". The workshop was conducted by Barry Kurtz and Rahman Tashakkori from the Department of Computer Science at Appalachian State University and supported by an NSF CCLI grant entitled "Modern Distributed Computing Education" (#0737355). We had 26 faculty and students participate drawn from SPSU, as well as Georgia State University, the University of West Georgia, Clayton State College and University, and Kennesaw State University. The workshop covered multicore processing in Java, multicore processing in OpenMP using C/C++, cluster computing in MPI using C/C++, and then the workshop had us using these techniques and web services in Java during the afternoon on a project involving scientific image processing. The workshop was brought to campus thanks to the efforts of Jon Preston.


One of the points of pride for CSE, as well as for SPSU, is the fact that our programs instill both theoretical knowledge and applied practical skills in our students. I am therefore particularly pleased that Abi Salimi, part-time associate professor in software engineering, was able to welcome six industry people to his software engineering class. Bill Reister spoke about gathering project requirements, Scott Mackay about use cases, L.L. Purcell about project management, Kurk Johnson about agile software development, Darius Entesary about effective communication, George Zhou about configuration management and Donna Simmons about quality assurance and testing. I understand from Abi that the students reacted very positively about having industry people cover these topics, and I wanted to express my appreciation to these software professionals, both on my own behalf and on behalf of the students.

It struck me that some of you who read the Dean's Update might be interested in talking to some of our students as well. If that is the case, can you send me a message so that I can put you in touch with the right professor?


As has become customary, CSE will be hosting a reception for its graduating students on the Friday before commencement. We are most thankful to Assurant Solutions and Bravepoint for their support for the reception. I will include more details about the size of the graduating class in the January Dean's Update.


At the request of some of you, I have started archiving the dean's updates. The archiving also gives me an opportunity to build in links to previous stories (and fix some errors). You can find the archive at It may take me a little while to get all the previous editions of this newsletter up, but we have made a start.


If you see something in this update that you want to comment on, please send me an email at or call me on 678-915-7399. Also, if you know of somebody who might be interested in receiving the Dean's updates, please ask them to send me an email. We will gladly add them to our mailing list. Finally, if you prefer not to receive the Dean's updates, please let me know as well.

This is the last Dean's update for this year. I want to take this opportunity to wish you the best for the festive season and a happy and prosperous 2010.

Han Reichgelt
Dean, School of Computing and Software Engineering