More Professors. More Funding.
Our department is severely underfunded. It has not grown in decades while student enrollment in the major has soared. This leaves us unable to consistently teach higher-level electives, let alone what is often considered "the core". Our department's status is continuously falling. Soon enough, when we say we were Yale CS majors, people will ask "Yale has a Computer Science Department?". This is unacceptable.
We love our department and the time has come for the Yale administration to recognize the importance of Computer Science to its mission as a university.
Please take a moment to read the petition. If you agree, please sign in with your netid, and sign your name along with a comment right below the petition.
Update (3/26/2015) Success! Yale has added seven new faculty spots, allotted 10,000 sq. ft. of space to the department, and moved the department to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). This makes us eligible for development funds, and will provide us with many more opportunities for expansion in the future.
This is a stunning development, but also just a first step. Seven more faculty will alleviate much of the strain our department faces in the short-term, but as enrollment increases, so too must the department. We hope this marks the beginning of a renewed interest in computer science at Yale.
Many, many thanks to all our signatories. With your support, we effectively communicated to Yale that their ongoing reputation is inextricably tied to the health and well-being of its computer science department.
An enormous thank you to the generous donors who made this possible. Anonymous though you may be, Yale CS will forever benefit from your gift, and so we thank you for it.
This picked up a lot of press coverage as well. You can read more about the details at YaleNews, the Yale Daily News, or at Bloomberg Business.
Update (3/6/2015) Wow! one thousand signatures and Bloomberg Business has published an article on our petition!
Update (3/3/2015) Business Insider has published an article on our petition! This is now national news! Please encourage all your friends, not just the STEM majors, to sign this petition if they care for our university. We're at 540 signatures now, and we need all the support we can get!
Update (3/2/2015) The YDN has published a front-page article on our petition! Please keep circulating this. We're at 400 signatures now, but we'd like as many as possible!
The following open letter was sent by a majority of the Yale computer science graduate students to the Yale administration. You can read the original letter on Debayan Gupta's website.
As students in computer science, we are dismayed by the faculty shortage facing our department.
Computer science is increasingly shaping every aspect of our daily lives. Many of the largest companies created in the last few decades have computer science and information technology at the core of their business. A deep and diverse subject, computer science has led to great advances in human understanding. Computer science is essential to everything from law to physics, from genetics to economics, from linguistics to engineering.
As a result, the best universities in the world are now judged by the quality of their computer science departments. The flagship computer science programs at Stanford and MIT have helped propel these universities to the top of recent university rankings. An education in computer science is not only essential to a 21st century liberal arts education, but can also translate into rewarding employment opportunities, or empower entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into startups. Alumni earn and donate large amounts of money to their alma maters, and the abundance of private and government research grants means that computer science departments are financially sound.
In light of these facts, we are distraught by the condition of Yale’s computer science department. Our department lacks enough faculty to offer the breadth and depth of classes expected at a modern university, let alone a world-class research institution. Over the past 25 years, computers have changed the world, yet our department is the same size it was in 1989. Our professors are among the best, but there are simply not enough of them. Yale's computer science department is ranked 20th by US News & World Report. We have 20 professors. The median faculty size of the top 20 computer science departments in the country is 48. With Harvard announcing plans to increase the size of its already larger department by 50 percent, Yale is going to be left even further behind.
With so few professors, Yale’s department has no choice but to ignore entire areas of computer science. Our ability to offer classes at an undergraduate level is minimal. Core computer science classes at Yale are seeing enrollment numbers higher than ever before, but we barely have enough faculty to teach the basics. Moreover, fewer faculty advisors means fewer graduate students, and the faculty shortage also translates into a shortage of teaching fellows.
The situation is even worse for graduate students. It is rare for the department to offer more than a single graduate-level course on any subject. Yale has become a risky choice for graduate students who often have to hinge their entire degree on a single faculty member. Fewer and fewer students are willing to take this risk; this year, only two students accepted their offers to attend Yale’s PhD program, compared to five last year and 10 the year before. Despite excellent faculty and students, the faculty shortage has made it increasingly difficult for Yale to compete with other top-tier universities.
It is only the sheer quality and hard work of our professors that has kept our department one of the best in the country. However, among graduate students in computer science, there is a pervasive feeling that the administration simply does not care about the subject. Despite an excellent publication record, the small size of our department means Yale is not seen as an exciting place for computer science. We have ceded the battle to Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Princeton, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell. The list goes on. Most alarmingly, Yale appears to be satisfied with this future.
Yale needs a strong computer science department in order to fulfill its core mission of education and research. We are ready and eager to make sure that our department is among the best in the country. We do not object to experimentation with innovative teaching practices, nor to the responsible use of undergraduate labor. But Yale must face reality: hiring one or two professors is not enough. Our situation is beyond such palliative measures. Only a radical expansion of the computer science faculty will make it possible for our department to tackle the challenges ahead.
Computer Science matters to everyone! Check out the stats for undergraduates. Alumni signatures are at the end of the page.
I'm not going to argue about how essential computer science is today. As the administration of one of the world's best universities, I really hope you can already sense that. Computer science, computing and related fields are disrupting every academic discipline, and redefining the very norms of society. As a university that considers itself a world leader in education, and aims to provide a well-rounded education, Yale can't justify its criminal neglect of its computer science department. The faculty issue is a problem that needed to be resolved yesterday, and the Yale administration doesn't even seem to have started.The petition and comments have listed many reasons why the faculty needs to grow. I'd like to add to that with a few facts and anecdotes. Overflowing office hours Moreover, Yale students are starving for more and good computer science education, both within the major, and outside it. I have taken and peer tutored multiple courses where in office hours, a single tutor attempts to handle the questions and doubts of scores of students, often leading to hour long queues for a precious five minutesof help. Indeed, there have been times when I, and many of my peers, have walkedaway either without help or unable to offer help as tutors, because there's only so many hours one tutor can handle. Diluted courses Professors have literally started boiling down the rigorousness of their problem sets because they realize that they can't offer enough hours to guide students. In other places, professors are forced to make compromises on fundamental policies (like collaboration policies) that they know sacrifices learning and education in Computer science (where learning to do things on your own is a key skill). Missing courses Computer Science, in its current definition, has about as many sub fields as the size of our department, and about two and a half times as many knowledge areas. This doesn't even account for intro courses, design, web and mobile software development. So when our leading databases professor teaches the intro course for computer science, his class goes untaught, and several major firms refuse to hire us as interns because we don't have database experience. And may never do in our time at Yale. When one professor leaves the faculty, we lose our professor for operating systems and decentralised systems. That's the equivalent of offering IT/computer literacy in middle school, but not having anyone to teach about Windows or the internet. Bad programming practices in other disciplines This one is a more universal problem than just Yale, but when we can't offer good intro courses in CS concepts and programming, we are causing a decline in the quality of programs written in other disciplines. STEM majors, economists, psychologists and researchers in most fields have to deal with some level of programming at some time. Very often, students cannot understand or fully use the programming tools their discipline needs, because they have no education in basic computer science. Moreover, this also produces a lot of badly written and buggy programs. Thus, Having more faculty devoted to more and better introductory classes will have a positive impact on other fields at Yale too. Over-subscribed student run classes Some student-run classes are offered in parallel to Yale courses by some amazing groups like HackYale. These classes teach the very basics - such as web development and using basic tools as a developer. Undergraduate instructors don't receive remuneration for these classes. Enrolled students receive no credit for these classes. Still, these classes and workshops are over-subscribed with competitive applications CS alumni generate revenue Just look to Stanford and MIT for proof. With the growth of the tech industry, the net worth of their alumni has overshadowed Yale. And these schools earn through investing in and nurturing student run startups and enterprises, a culture that Yale is far from developing In short, there's need, there's demand and there's profit. All we need is faculty.
I am so happy to see this issue being brought to light. I'm a CS major, and I often feel torn about my decision to study the subject here at Yale. All of the lecture courses I've taken (201, 223, 323, 365) have had some amazing people teaching them. I'm always impressed by how much care is evident in the lectures that we attend and the assignments that we do. In spite of that, I am left with the feeling that my passion is not valued here. And it's not because my peers don't value the subject, or that the professors don't love it, or that my friends who don't study CS think it's not a worthy discipline. In fact, without any reservations, the opposite is true! But despite the fact that seemingly everyone agrees that it is a fantastic, interesting, beautiful subject to study, the actual experience of studying it is in a grotesque and ugly disharmony with what I expected a Yale education to be like. None of my CS courses have had a discussion section, because of the lack of graduate students. In fact, there are usually about 50 undergraduates for each TA. I remember vividly the night when I wrote my name into the 18th spot in a queue of students waiting to see the TA for CS365, and only got three or four minutes to speak to him, after two and a half hours of waiting. Despite the fact that I usually spend about 20 hours each on programming assignments, I've never received substantive, human feedback on the structure of my code, my style, or how I approached the problem at hand, whereas every time I write an essay for another course, I get more feedback than I know what to do with. Spending 20 hours on something (anything!) without anybody ever telling you "Good job!" or "Nice try, but this approach would have been more elegant" or really just any acknowledgement from someone that you did, in fact, complete the assignment is a weird reality to exist within, and eventually, after a few semesters of that happening every other week, to accept. Entire subjects that I eagerly dreamt of studying in high school (algorithms, machine learning) are enormously difficult to explore in any significant depth here. The courses just aren't offered, and the professors who possess knowledge on those subjects are already incredibly busy. It is painful to have arrived at Yale so enthusiastic about my course of study only to have to slowly adjust my expectations lower and lower. I feel even worse for the professors, who are knowingly allowing their research careers to suffer and their specialties to remain untaught here so that the introductory courses can maintain a standard of quality. It brings a smile to my face when I think of how much people like Dana Angluin, Stan Eisenstat, and Dan Spielman care about giving us the best experience they possibly can given the circumstances. This is a display of unbridled love and passion for the subject, so unfortunately framed within a tragic, hapless context. I fervently hope that this petition will be an instigator of change in the way the administration sees computer science. I certainly wouldn't be devoting my undergraduate education to this subject, especially here, if I didn't feel that an education in computer science is an important thing for me to have. It is about more than just writing code: it is a way to think, to approach the world and its issues with a confident and keen eye, to solve the problems that were once deemed impossible. It is a liberal art, in the truest sense of the term.
It is said that those who study history are doomed to repeat it. Ironic, then, that Yale, an institution that recently added 10 new history professors to an already world-class department did not realize that what has happened to its CS department has played out at this institution before. Once upon a time, as any scholar of Yale history will tell you, Yale arguably used to be the best scientific institution in the world. I don't mean as it is today - a world class institution with peers and betters - I mean bar none. To pick a field, our geology department in the 1800s included James Dwight Dana, Charles Schucert, Joesph Barrell, and Othniel C. Marsh. That's the equivalent of having Einstein, Feynman, and Hawking in the same department. And they were all like that. We were once that good. But then something terrible happened. From the 1910s to 1953 (from around about the Wright's first flight until well into the nuclear age) Yale invested nothing into the sciences. Under three successive presidents, the departments of what was once arguably the greatest scientific institution in the world languished and withered. KBT was a big deal because it was the first (the first!) building built for a science department in the 40 years that included Yale's biggest ever spurt of growth. It was a crippling blow. 60 years on, Yale science still hasn't really recovered. It probably never will. Tragically, the same thing appears to have happened to Yale CS. Computer Science, the direct inheritor a chain of departments that once trained the likes of Grace Hopper and Harry Nyquist has gone systematically underfunded and undervalued for at least 30 years. We still have our great professors, but its not enough. A faculty half that of our peers, CS classes where people have to sit on the floor, grad students choosing other institutions because of the paucity of knowledge and opportunities here spells game over. And not for just for now, but (if history has anything to tell us) for the next decade or two. Hiring more faculty will patch the bleeding, but only radical change - a doubling of the department (which, not well, wouldn't even bring us to median faculty size) has a chance at rectifying the problem. My analysis is the same as the one that President Griswold received in the 1950s - too much has already been lost - and even radical action will only arrest the problem some decades down the road. I encourage Yale to try. As we've seen before, success is likely a ways down the road. I want to CS/Astrophysics major. Outside my distributional requirements, I will never take a humanities class at Yale. Nevertheless, I've always felt that the a great many humanities students - and certainly the Yale administration - never really understood the humanities. History isn't something that you study in a book or take in seminar. It's something that you are - harmonics in life that you see and that help you understand - stories echoed over and over again through out the ages which act as road maps to follow. It is said that those don't study history are doomed to repeat it. Turns out the reverse isn't necessarily true.
I am a sophomore computer science major, and after this semester, will be about halfway finished with the major. I went to high school in the Silicon Valley, and by my senior year, I had learned enough to land me a solid software engineering internship before even starting college. Most of my friends and even some of my family members could not understand why I chose to go to Yale instead of a school with a better reputation in CS. While I could turn this into a "Why I chose Yale" segment, I won't, and I'll stick to what I think the school needs to do to improve. To me, a lecture with 60 people is not all that different from a lecture with 120 people. That is not the problem. The fact that I might have to wait for 2 hours to talk to a TA during his office hours is a problem, as is the fact that the computer science building only has enough workstations to accommodate students working on about one out of the four core CS classes, not to mention the electives. Never receiving more meaningful feedback than a computer generated 45/60 score is a problem. Not offering more than one level of depth in most fields of study is a disappointment. That being said, I don't have a big problem with the structure of the CS major itself. I am not looking for depth or practical skills in most of my classes. I don't think any of the classes have significantly improved my ability to code - this comes from my practice outside the classroom. However, the classes I have taken have certainly deepened my ability to think critically about problem solving in computer science. This is a skill that is not as easily self-taught as mere programming. This makes the program at Yale a great place for people like me, but an awful one for people just trying to learn the craft, or gain a basic exposure to the "mysterious world of coding". Yale simply does not have the course offerings for these kinds of people, nor does it seem to care much about adding courses for them. The university needs to have some more engaging and relevant CS classes and the faculty to support them if it wishes to truly provide the liberal arts education that it purports to offer. The heart of the problem is not that Yale has a bad program. It is just a program that appeals neither to the people who want to study the field in depth (there is not much depth to be found here) nor to the people who just want a base understanding. Unless Yale makes a significant change, it will continue to see its image degraded to a point where it can no longer attract the faculty to teach computer science, let alone convince students that want to study it to come here.
1) Computer science is a deep and diverse field, and there are some key areas that we don't offer electives in, that other universities might have several classes in. For example, we didn't have a Networks class this entire year, and with Bryan Ford's leave we might not have an Operating Systems class next year. Last semester we had a grand total of one algorithms course offered (Randomized Algorithms), and software engineering companies very commonly use algorithms questions to screen job applicants. With such a lack of algorithms training available at Yale, it becomes the students' burden to learn the education that should have been provided by the university. 2) It reflects very poorly on the university if the only move made by our administration is to allow CS 50 - which would be based on taped videos from Harvard. What would we tell future applicants to the university? Come to Yale so that you can watch videos of classes at Harvard? 3) In the recent years Yale's admissions department has had a STEM recruiting initiative, and with the opening of two new colleges in 2017 the number of computer science students can only increase. To not complement the STEM initiative with a respective increase of faculty is simply a recipe for disaster - a lack of electives, higher student/faculty ratios, and less research opportunities. 4) The future relevance of Yale as a university is hinged upon its status in Computer Science and other STEM fields. Look at the tremendous influence and impact that companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. have had. Technological automation of mundane, dangerous, or time-consuming tasks is going to define the next generation: Amazon deprecating local bookstores by allowing people to buy and sell from each other directly, automated programs replacing data entry jobs, and now Google's self-driving cars which could remove the need for taxi drivers and services such as Uber. By refusing to invest in computer science, Yale is severely hampering its ability to cultivate future tech leaders, which will inevitably pop up at peer institutions such as MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. To neglect such an important field as computer science is to neglect the future of Yale.
The Yale administration's complete lack of effort in developing the CS department over the last 25 years makes my blood boil. I love Yale and I wouldn't trade the friends I've made here and the incredible classes I've taken in other departments for anything, but the administration's apathy about the CS department is appalling and infuriating. Because the department has such a profound lack of capable faculty, students have little to no opportunity to explore specific CS topics in depth, and even less chance of developing the skills necessary to thrive in the dynamic tech industry. Because the core classes (CS 223 and 323) are only taught once a year, and many classes are only taught once every 3 semesters, many CS students don't even have the opportunity to take certain electives that require 323 as a prerequisite, and many more have to wait until junior year at a minimum to do so. And while 223 and 323 are extremely well-taught, the lack of TAs makes both classes much more stressful than they should be. Not only is the department failing to expand, it is hemorrhaging talent every year. While there are excellent professors among the core faculty, there are also established professors who deliberately teach poorly so as to make their students not come to class, and while professors like this remain, promising, enthusiastic, young professors are leaving for universities where they will receive adequate support from the administration. By failing to expand and modernize its CS department, Yale has undoubtedly lost many opportunities to cultivate promising future tech leaders (and Yale donors) to schools like Stanford and MIT and as long as Yale ignores its CS department's abysmal condition, it will continue to lose these opportunities and its institutional reputation will continue to decline. Investing in CS is investing in the future of the university.
Yale needs more Computer Science professors, and that is the bottom line. The university can no longer turn a blind eye to the students, both CS and non-CS majors, who demand more than what a stifled department can provide. How can we learn when even core classes struggle to find TAs? Where do we turn for inspiration when one of our most distinguished professors leaves out of frustration the year he gets tenure? Yale's neglect of the field with the greatest potential to shape this century puts the institution at risk of failing to prepare its graduates for challenges to come. Personally, I have struggled to understand Yale's perspective on this issue. We students speculate on how the administration could possibly rationalize the neglect of the CS department. Does the administration assume CS is a fad that will die out in the near future? Software has become such an integral part of communication, research, and productivity in the past two decades that I cannot possibly see how this is a valid argument. Is it that the school has no available funding? The Yale Endowment is larger than ever, with almost 1 billion dollars (3.5% of 23.9 billion in total) in cash waiting to be invested. If that isn't enough, what about the recent push to improve STEM offerings and attract more STEM majors--was one of the most accessible and widely beneficial disciplines under that category just left out? The success in recruiting STEM students is great, but continuing to limit capacity and current resources actually exacerbates the issue at hand. We have tried and failed to come up with a good explanation for the university's satisfaction with the current state of affairs, but it just doesn't add up. Yale, we are petitioning, we are asking, we are pleading; we need more professors just to get by.
Yale's computer science department has an extremely strong core curriculum. CPSC 223, 323 and 365 prepare students extremely well for what they will encounter after Yale. However, the lack of teaching staff means the department cannot consistently offer higher level electives. Furthermore, it means entire areas of the field are under represented, or not taught at all. Short of transferring, how can Yale computer science majors hope to compete with departments at other schools that have the support of their institution? Yale's outer committal to STEM is entirely farcical when inwardly, the administration completely ignores one of its fastest growing departments. Computer science majors at Yale deserve the same level of high quality education offered in other disciplines. We deserve detailed feedback on problem sets that we spend hours on, as many hours as a humanities student would spend writing an essay. We deserve section where we can learn in smaller groups, especially considering that core classes are becoming so large that students can barely fit in the classroom. We deserve engaging, innovative electives, relevant to new trends in the field. And finally, we deserve a response from the administration about the status of our department. Unless things change, I would not advise prospective undergraduates to come to Yale for a serious education in computer science.
The CS major at Yale needs work, but not because of the quality of the faculty. The problem is instead the quantity. A handful of extremely passionate professors keep the department afloat, providing students with the essentials of Computer Science in the form of a few well-taught core courses. Outside the core, however, there is much to be desired. The BS and BA degrees differ by two electives, which must be chosen from a selection that is limited at best. As a senior nearing graduation, I feel that my only takeaways from the major are are strong foundation in C, data structures, and algorithms. While these three things are extremely important, other institutions provide CS students with the opportunity to graduate with a much more diverse set of skills and experiences. As a Physics-CS major at one of the best institutions in the world, I should not have had trouble finding something interesting to take in my senior spring. Instead, I found myself looking outside of these departments for advanced electives and taking things like “Directed Reading” so that I could study things I actually want to learn. Alas, all of these problems can be easily fixed if Yale chooses to focus more on CS (and STEM in general), and for the sake of future STEM majors I hope it happens.
This year, in a cross-listed humanities/biology class, one of my TA's, a sociology grad student, told me about how she wrote a Python script to crawl websites and find the data about art she needed for some research she was doing. The other TA, a biology grad student, is working on his thesis using computational methods to simulate evolution and sexual selection. In my own (physics) research, I spend about 5% of the time thinking about physics, and the rest of the time implementing analyses in C++ and Python. Computer science is simply a crucial skill, in all fields. Neglecting computer science is neglecting something that should be a part of everyone's eduction, and whose importance is only increasing. One other note. The fact that there is not a "Physics and Computer Science" major is, in short, ridiculous. Experimental physics in this era is dominated by computing and programming - it is simply impossible to analyze the quantity of data most experiments generate without it. Further, control systems for experiments are all becoming automated, and this is where advances are being made. I strongly support the creation of this major.
As someone deeply interested in computer science, artificial intelligence, and the intersections of those two disciplines with neuroscience and psychology, I came to Yale thinking that as a liberal arts college, it would offer the resources needed for such interdisciplinary study, not just in breadth, but also depth. But with the growing number of people interested in CS without a similar increase in faculty numbers, I find myself becoming more and more doubtful as to whether I'll be able to study all the advanced subjects in these fields that I came here hoping to. Even if there are enough professors to merely offer these courses, the large lecture sizes that result from trying to accommodate everyone will still impede learning. Furthermore, I cannot overemphasize the importance of a well-trained and well-staffed and diverse CS department for groups historically disadvantaged and underrepresented in CS and other STEM fields, whether along the lines of race or gender or class. Without enough resources to support, encourage and affirm interest in and aptitude for CS, parity along such lines will never be achieved.
I really love Yale, and I firmly stand by the belief that choosing to go to school here was the best decision I made in my life, but the amount of support the computer science department has gotten has always left something to be desired. Yale is truly a world-class state-of-the-art academic institution with resources far beyond that of our wildest dreams, so it makes me sad to hear many of the stats cited on how our department is falling behind. If there is any institution out there that can turn it around, it's Yale with its network of resources it can invest in the department-- so why doesn't it? I beg you, Yale, please commit anything you can to make this a department that will make me even more proud to be studying computer science at Yale. Do it for the students in the "core" classes that have grown too big to fit in their original lecture hall. Do it for our great instructors who really give their all. Do it for the memory of Grace Hopper. Do it for the new generation of potential Yalies looking for a CS school. Do it for all of us.
As a Black Female in Computer Science, I am not surprised by the lack of people that look like me in any of my CS classes. However, there MUST be the support, faculty, and resources to KEEP people like me in the CS Major at Yale. I understand Yale is a liberal arts school first and will remain that way. Yet, that does not mean we cannot wholeheartedly put in the effort to meet the needs of the students, especially in the height of this technology age. I also understand how difficult it is for a humanities school like Yale to compete for faculty, but this university most definitely has the resources to have a fair fight. Lastly, as a current freshman, I do see change taking place and current professors doing what they can to aid the influx in interest. However, I do not want to see those invested professors spread thin and the changes being made implemented mediocrely (i.e. CPSC112 fall 2014). I do sense there will be change in the future and can only hope/push for it to occur during my time here at Yale.
Yale's computer science department offers a core curriculum of extremely high quality courses, but I was disappointed to find out how sparse the offerings are for electives and research. Many areas of research and application are covered by only one faculty member--and many more are altogether ignored--as a result of low faculty numbers. With applications from psychology to medicine to engineering and math, a strong computer science department benefits the entire Yale community; given how understaffed the department is currently, each additional hire would have a significant marginal impact on the university as a whole. Also, computer science has so many neat results! The student to faculty ratio has already impacted the way professors teach: I know of at least one teacher forced to cancel a final independent project because the class has grown so large in the last few years. It would be a shame for more students to miss out due to overenrollment limiting the abilities of our professors to educate.
I've had a lot to say about this in the past, and I love our department dearly. If I had to do it all over again, I'd still come to Yale for the friends I've made, the connections I have with my professors, for the second-to-none education I've received, and for all the fun I've had as a student here. Even so, it pains me to watch the administration hold our CS department's head under the water. I hope CS50 proves to be the impetus necessary to drive our department upward -- it's a bold experiment that has to work. I'm overwhelmed by the support this petition has enjoyed from the Yale community. I hope the administration takes note: CS is important to more than just the other STEM disciplines; it's important to ALL students. Whether it's business, economics, art, or music, understanding computers and finding applications to those fields has revolutionized both. It is simply unacceptable for Yale to neglect its fastest-growing department, or to misconstrue this as a bubble.
I came into Yale intending to be a STEM major, but I was offered a space in Directed Studies and took it. I love the program and am very encouraged to pursue the Humanities, but I appreciate that a large part of that desire is fuelled by the close support and wealth of opportunities given to students interested in the humanities. The amount of interaction I have with professors in humanities classes vastly outclasses the huge lectures with minimal contact or actual learning that I have had in the STEM classes I have taken. This is a serious impediment for students who are interested in exploring CS but have not had an expert grounding prior to coming to Yale, as the difficulty of the classes and the high student to faculty ratio gives off the impression that only those who are already CS experts have a shot at succeeding within Yale CS, discouraging many people, especially young women, who would otherwise be very interested.
Yale advertises its 6:1 student teacher ratio, and that 76.8 percent of its classes have under 20 students. In the computer since department these are closer to 25:1 student teacher ratio and 20% classes under 20 students. It is extremely deceiving to tell incoming students the first statistics when the 7th largest major is in such dire straights. Yale's computer science department is being left to wither to nothingness like the engineering department was before Levin. I hope the administration will realize that they have a booming center of innovation here and support it; otherwise they will have to rebuild it from scratch at great cost like they have done with the engineering department. Learning in the department has felt like working in a shoestring budget startup, brilliant and helpful fellow students and teachers, but with a tightly fixed set of opportunities.
Computer Science is arguably the fastest growing discipline in scientific academia, and has been for the last quarter-century. In that time, Yale's administration has failed to accurately reflect this growth, maintaining a faculty of only 20 professors (less than half the median of America's top 20 programs) -- the same as it was in 1989. Complete stagnation in the growth of one of our University's most important and far-reaching departments is appalling, and stands counter to Yale's storied history of being a leader in the American and global scientific communities. It's time to bring Yale CS into the 21st century. Advancements in the field have implications in everything from Biology to Physics to the Digital Humanities. The administration needs to reflect Computer Science's immediate importance to Yale in its respective allocation of funding.
Honestly, it's embarrassing for Yale to even have students create this petition. It doesn't make sense to not have more CS faculty, and while other universities are moving forward and making progress in a technological age, Yale is lagging behind and dragging down its students with it. By not investing further in CS, Yale is sending the message that computer science students here don't matter, and that it is okay with not trying to improve computer science education. At this point, why would anyone come to Yale to get a computer science degree? The class sizes are enormous. The faculty are overworked and have trouble offering their attention to students because of it (not to say that the faculty members aren't brilliant - they are, but they're spread extremely thin). Why is Yale okay with their CS department being in this state?
As Yale expands with the addition of new colleges, this is a perfect time to increase the size of the computer science department, along with other STEM majors. If you, the administration, are truly committed to improving STEM at Yale, then the computer science department is the best place to start. I am a member of the Yale College Council and inquired about Yale's reluctance to expand its computer science faculty. Dean Segraves told me that the administration believes the demand for computer science is a bubble. This is not true. The demand for computer science is growing and will stay high. It’s perfectly justified to hire more associate professors, (if not tenured professors) to meet this demand, just as our peer institutions have already done.
Yale is an institution that ought to be at the forefront of academia and research, particularly in majors of growing importance in a technology-driven world. It is deeply embarrassing to have to outsource to Harvard for lack of a robust computer science program at Yale. As a Global Affairs major, I believe that Yale should increase funding for the CS program and the number of faculty not only for the benefit of CS majors but also for the benefit of non-CS majors who can conduct strong interdisciplinary work using cutting-edge technology and computer programming languages. Yale has a great opportunity on its hands to make an investment that will pay dividends in academic innovation. What are we waiting for?
I've had the pleasure of watching a number of my friends build their own successful start ups from the ground up here at Yale. While they have utilized many of the opportunities here at Yale (particularly YEI), many of their achievements seem to be in spite of the Yale computer science department rather than through it. Although I enjoyed taking CPSC 112, I would have loved to take a more practical course that focuses on web development or creating apps. Even within the more traditional CS coursework, I often hear that the department is severely understaffed and that the quality of instruction has suffered as a result. Yale is an incredible institution and the CS major should mirror that.
CS Major here, and everything I'd say is already on this page. Yale's CS department is nothing to be sneezed at, and it's departmental philosophy fits well into Yale College's liberal arts mission. Unfortunately, it seems that, with all the funding that Yale's pouring into STEM, this gem of a department has fallen through the cracks despite student interest. We're lucky to get one class per year in each major area of the discipline; it's kind of like the history department having a single professor teaching two classes a year on America. I don't favor becoming more of a technical school, but right now, we don't even have the resources to do a decent job on an academic level.
While we can pretend that STEM at Yale is fine, it isn't. STEM at Yale obviously requires more faculty, more funding and more interest. Sure, Yale claims that a record number of freshmen admits expressed interest in STEM, but how long until they switch to become Economics majors (due to the lack of resources in STEM)? It doesn't make sense that the administration is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build 2 more additional residential colleges that don't add any value (aside from population) to Yale. Instead of trying to expand so aggressively (at the cost of diluting our current resources), why not start by improving STEM first? Incomprehensible.
The Yale CS department is an embarrassment to the name Yale. I'm a CS major going to work at a large tech company, and I can truthfully say that 90% of my knowledge had to be obtained outside of the Yale curriculum. Not only that, I've even taken off time from Yale to devote more time to teaching myself, because the curriculum at Yale was taking time away from learning valuable, employable skills. Yale administrators – good faculty will go 10x, 20x further than any amount of recruiting, advertising, or branding efforts ever will. If you want the name "Yale" to continue carrying the same weight it does today, we need to have a better CS faculty.
Yale's push for science and engineering is awesome, but what I really don't understand is how we can pursue cosmetic solutions without substantive structural and departmental change. Computer science is the bottleneck of our STEM growth, given that it is applicable in practically every quantitative field out there. Until we are willing to increase the amount of resources to it, we will continue to lose out to our peer institutions--Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton, schools of similar academic caliber who realize the relevance of computer science to a liberal arts education. Also, computer science is cool! We like learning about cool things!
As a student who came to Yale excited to take computer science courses and/or pursue a program in CS, I quickly became disenchanted with Yale's offerings in computer science. All majors must take the same core 4 classes (CPSC 201, 223, 323, 365) which sets students on a narrowly defined track; meanwhile, schools like Stanford have diverse paths to accomplishing a degree in computer science. I believe that a larger set of courses offered in the CPSC department will draw top students to Yale and strengthen the program 10-fold. However, of course, this can only be accomplished with increased funding and support for the department.
The CS department can hardly keep up when the number of CS majors is growing exponentially. Yet the number of CS professors has remained stagnant for decades. You cannot expect so few to do so much. Common sense dictates that this cannot continue. Unless Yale wishes to limit the number of CS majors in the future, and by extension its relevance in an world increasingly revolving around technology, change must be swift and strong. Yale has invested a billion dollars in resources like the CEID, but without investing in the departments whose students would use the facility, it is simply an empty gesture and a huge waste of money.
Excited to hear about the Yale CS announcement coming later this month. Yale has strong professors and an exploding interest among the student body - I'm sure if we could just allocate a more reasonable level of attention and funding, this program would thrive. A key point to keep in mind is that a strong computer science program is no more at odds with the liberal arts ideals behind Yale than a strong mathematics program, or philosophy program. CS can and should be a key part of the core curriculum, not a challenge to it. Let's make Yale the best program in the country for a liberal arts degree in computer science
Unclear why Yale shrugs in the face of CS. Not only are the "theoretical" areas of CS incredibly practical (*all* topics covered in CPSC 223, CPSC 323, and CPSC 365 are fair game for interviews at major companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook), but also this is a major that truly teaches students how to think analytically - to break down complex problems into individual steps and deliberately reason about them. It is a skill that is virtually absent in courses of all other departments (with the possible exceptions of Math and Philosophy), yet is fundamental to a true liberal arts education.
As a prospective CS major, Yale's handling of the CS department has placed a ton of doubt in my mind about whether pursuing a CS major at Yale would be worth the opportunity cost. The fact that the department isn't any larger than it was 25 years ago should be an embarrassment to a research institution that boasts itself as a leader among its "peer institutions". I guarantee that Yale's mistreatment of the department has persuaded and will continue to persuade prospective CS students and PHD candidates to choose better-funded programs at forward-thinking universities.
I come from a place drenched in computer science and programming, Silicon Valley. Coming to Yale I experienced culture shock at the lack of presence of the CS department. Computer science and technology are vital to the future. The department should be expanded not only for those who want to major in it, but also for those who want to participate in growing technologies. I believe everyone should take at least one computer science class whether or not they are STEM, but this is only possible if the number of professors and courses offered is expanded.
I didn't start out as a CS major, and I had some initial prejudice against majoring in CS. But some of the truly amazing research and people in the CS department here at Yale made me change my mind drastically. It showed me a world of beautiful theories and their applications, and it made me want more of what it has to offer. The CS department is truly amazing, but it pains me if Yale ignores the chance to make it even better, refuses to bring this mind-opening world to more people and fails to give proper support to professors in the department.
As the seventh most popular major in Yale College, Computer Science desperately needs more support and resources that what Yale is currently providing. We need more professors to teach electives so that students aren't put in the unfortunate situation of not being able to take an interesting class because it's only offered every other year. We need more graduate students to TF the classes we already have. The popularity of computer science is only going to grow, and we need the administration's help to sustain that growth.
This issue is bigger than just the CS department, and it reflects badly on the administration, the Yale Corp, and even us when we have to defer to Harvard for anything. C'mon son. That's like a UCLA fan asking a USC fan to jump their car battery, it just wouldn't happen. CS at Yale affects everyone, STEM, STEAM, or otherwise, and should be treated as such. The voice of a CS student here is the voice of a Yale student, and should be attended to as people who's voices matter. Get it together Yale!
Would be great if CS at Yale expanded. More professors, more classes to choose from, and more TAs. Many core classes can only be taken a certain semester which makes it hard to complete CS requirements if you start late. I personally know of a few friends who have no room for flexibility in their schedule if they want to finish the CS major in time. Also, I'd like to believe that the difficulty of getting sufficient coding help is part of the reason I'm failing my psets.
Yale is doing a disservice to both its professors and its students by systemically underfunding the Computer Science department. More than just teaching a skill, the discipline encourages sound logic and complete consideration, something that anyone can and should benefit from. I can only imagine what goes on in the minds of the administrators who are somehow able to justify these decisions. Perhaps they would benefit from studying a bit of computer science themselves.
I had a great experience as a CS major at Yale, thanks to the wonderfully talented and pedagogically focused faculty. I did not enjoy the overworked TAs, limited electives, and important classes only offered every other year. It baffles me that the administration has yet to realize the importance of computer science enough to fund it more. This is not just about overcrowded classrooms, this is about investing in a rapidly growing field that is shaping our future.
If it's not the money then what is it? Unless Yale wishes to limit the number of CS majors in the future, and by extension its relevance in an world increasingly revolving around technology, change must be swift and strong. Yale has invested a billion dollars in resources like the CEID, but without investing in the departments whose students would use the facility, it is simply an empty gesture and a huge waste of money.
As a second-semester sophomore who has recently found a keen interest in CS, I have been shocked to find out that the two of the required "core" courses in the major - CPSC 223 and 323 - are only offered once per semester. This means that sophomores like myself in the CPSC 201 will not be able to take the vast majority of electives until our senior year. The lack of faculty and graduate student TFs is unacceptable.
I'm from Berkeley, both my parents did EE/CS there. I've seen a good department, and Yale's department is pathetic. Courses are terribly designed, understaffed, and the department has near zero industry connections. It is sad to see this department, which is integral to establishing Yale's alumni presence in one of the fastest growing sector, suffer alongside so many other great nobel prize winning departments.
I took intro CS, and while I loved the topic, I hated the class. It was so overwhelmingly difficult and understaffed that I never took another CS class. There needs to be more intro classes for people who just want to get a foundation, but don't want to get crushed by a course. You're missing out on training a lot of potential students who could use small amounts of programming knowledge in their not CS jobs.
Computer science has had a very large impact on our society and daily lives, so it is imperative that we do not let it die. This major is already underrepresented by women and people of color, so we cannot afford to lose it completely. There is a lot of potential behind computer science, but it needs to have the appropriate funds to bring out its true potential and, quite possibly, attract more attention.
I tried to take CPSC 112 this semester, and it was a shitshow. Boring lectures, bad explanations, and an understaffed course led to me dropping it. CompSci is the sort of course that would work better seminar style, or with more sections, so that things actually end up getting explained to people who aren't STEM majors and have no past experience with programming.
Yale's administration's refusal to recognize the importance of its CS department, and the effects that refusal have on the University's academic and professional output in the field, is the single largest embarrassment for our school. History will mock this ignorance 10 years from now, unless Yale treats CS as critically as all other serious universities do.
When I talk with friends at other schools about their small CS classes, abundant teaching resources, and broad class choices, I can't help but wonder if I would be able to learn more effectively in that kind of environment. The sad part is that many CS professors work incredibly hard to provide us with the support we need, but the administration does not.
With the recent push for creating a more innovative and entrepreneurial Yale (i.e.: founding of YEI in 2007, opening of CEID in 2012), cutting back (yes, not investing in is equivalent to cutting back) on the Computer Science department makes absolutely no sense and is at best, naive. Let's not undo all the great work we've done. There are no excuses.
Technically, new professors should begin arriving next year. But I think Yale needs to reconsider its position of "hire only the best" if that so often defaults to "spend years hiring a single person", potentially stopping hundreds of students from taking the class that would turn them into tech founders, brilliant designers, or even CS professors.
I was saddened by Yale's decision to import the intro programming course from Harvard. I still find it hard to believe that a world-renowned university would make such a decision to deal with the fast-growing interest in the student body, instead of expanding the already-so-strained faculty which has been even losing professors. I feel embarrassed.
Computer Science is the field with the most potential nowadays. Yale needs to recognize that if it hopes to remain competitive (something it normally cares so much about - relative to colleges like Stanford). CS skills are a staple every Yale student should know and increasing funding is essential if more students are to be attracted to the field.
It is baffling, to say the least, that after Yale gets exactly the kind of interest in STEM that it has been trying to sow over the last few years, it is unwilling (bust most certainly not unable) to provide necessary resources to those students. Ultimately this will be a test of exactly how committed Yale is to improving in STEM fields.
Extraordinarily well-put; if there is any field in this day and age that is integral to the success of graduates in the future, it is computer science. Failing to prepare undergraduates in CS is a failure of the university to prepare its members for the realities of life in the digital age. Also, borrowing courses from Harvard? Absurd.
Yale seems content in its bottom-tier status when it comes to CS, but the students who attend, love, and identify with Yale feel differently. It's time for the interests, aspirations, and ambitions of Yale students be met by the funding that only the Corporation can provide. Improve our CS department now!
The world around us computerizes to a greater degree every day, yet the Yale Computer Science department has remained in 1989. If we want to compete, then the administration must increase funding and commit more resources. As amazing as our professors are, they can only do so much.
There are very little close offerings for basic programming, HTML, graphic design or other programs that are very useful (and sometimes required) in the working world. The opportunities to learn these basic skills are only student run! Why won't Yale prepare us for the real world?
There is so much demand for CS here at Yale, but we are importing classes from other universities to meet this demand. That just doesn't make sense to me. Why not create a strong CS program right here. We (the students) deserve it! We're paying $60,000+ a year for it too...
As one of the fastest-growing majors at Yale, it's an embarrassment that Yale's CS department is as understaffed as it is. CS is also a discipline that enriches the pursuit of every other field that uses quantitative methods, so investing in CS is certainly well worth it.
Our CS department has some of the best instructors this university has to offer. It's a shame they have to choose between teaching a core course and an elective in their field of specialty. CS50 isn't the solution to this problem; more professors is the solution.
This is getting ridiculous. Yale needs to hire more faculty, not just in Computer Science (though the situation here is particularly dire), but across the board. Furthermore, when we do hire new professors, ensuring faculty diversity should be a top priority.
I agree with my classmates who have signed this petition--it's embarrassing that Yale isn't putting more into the computer science department. I don't understand the mechanics of why this is still a problem, but I hope it gets fixed really soon.
Please consider supporting the CS Department, as I would like my peers in the major to enjoy as much freedom and ability to both benefit from what could be available and carve their own path by these means as I can in the History of Art major.
As a prospective major and someone extremely interested in applications of CS to other fields I really hope Yale picks up its game on this matter before it has broader implications for an entire generation of Yale graduates.
I find it very interesting that the majority of students who have signed this petition so far haven't declared their major yet. Who knows how many of them would choose CS if we had the extra class space to accommodate them?
This is long overdue. Yale needs to face the fact that CS demand is only going to keep growing every year. We desperately need more faculty and resources to stay competitive. Glad that this petition is happening!
That Yale insists on continuing its "STEM recruitment" and going through with the increase in undergraduate enrollment without expanding the faculty (especially in disciplines like Computer Science) is a farce.
CS is not an isolated science, but a highly versatile one. Thus, other departments in both the Humanities and the Sciences would greatly benefit from better resources in the CS field, within and beyond Yale.
I may never take a CS class, but the department needs to grow with demand. The same goes for all the departments that need it, especially given the new students who will be part of the two new colleges.
Between importing Harvard's CS classes and not funding the department, Yale is risking becoming irrelevant. Yale has a duty to fund all academic departments so students can have a fulfilling experience.
While not a CS major, I would love to be able to take a CS intro class without having to worry about being able to receive enough help...please, do the right thing Yale and expand the department!
I have personally seen and been affected by the disappearance of courses that would be considered part of the required core at other universities. I could not agree more with this petition.
Our professors have been champions--dealing with a ridiculous workload without buckling under the pressure. We need more professors, more TAs/TFs, and a much better funded department.
I wanted to take an introductory computer science course to supplement my biology major but was dissuaded by the inadequate resources available- most notably the poor ratio of TFs.
Let's all remember that CS is fundamentally vital to all STEM disciplines, and not funding your CS department is going to impede the success of students across all fields, Yale.
Yale is already irrelevant in the field of CS. Say 'bye' to all future Zuckerberg's as they attend Harvard, MIT, and Stanford -- unless you doing something about it now, Yale.
When CS majors complain not about the difficulty of their classes (like the rest of us), but the lack of options within their department, it's clear that something's lacking.
This is a field about which I know nothing. But one thing is clear: Computer Science > pretentious majors that teach us no skills *cough* EP&E. Let the funding reflect that.
I commiserate with all my CS friends at Yale. I hope Yale will announce a concrete plan of action soon for how it plans to grow the CS department in the foreseeable future.
Yale wants to bill itself to incoming students as a STEM school. Lol. Stop with the smoke and mirrors. If you build it, they will come, and if you don't, word will spread.
Computer Science is so valuable and needed nowadays. Why wouldn't Yale want the best department possible in what is currently such an amazingly important area of study?
I'm not interested in CS myself but sincerely hope that this petition will encourage the administration to pay more attention to such an important field! Best of luck!
I actually just left the Computer Science major almost exclusively because of the giant upper-level CS classes. It's about time Yale got some more professors.
A 21st century education requires 21st century resources. It's time for Yale to show the way on some of the most pressing technological issues of our time.
There are not enough resources for students here to dive into the CS major without feeling like no one's going to be there to catch them when they stumble.
I love my department, but Computer Science is a remarkably diverse field with so many areas. We need to open up more of these to all the students at Yale.
I'm not a CS major, but learning to code has been by far the most useful thing I've learned in this silly school. More CS, less Thucydides. Would be gr8.
Yale is great in many areas, but it also lacks in far more areas than it lets on. The CS department is one of those areas. Yale needs to stop slackin'.
Strong computer science is a must for any 21st century research center. If Yale neglects that, I should not brand itself "leading research institution'
Yale is falling behind Harvard and Stanford right now because our STEM majors and CS department are well known to suck relative to other top schools.
While Yale's Computer Science department has great, hardworking faculty, there are just not enough resources considering the demand for the major.
Though I don't intend to major in CS, I believe Yale should be doing its utmost to have a real, significant CS department. My peers deserve that.
I love Yale and this would only serve to strengthen the strength of Yale as an academic powerhouse and a school that I am proud to be a part of.
It's absolutely humiliating for Yale to have to borrow Harvard's classes. Yale CS must be improved, or it will be left behind in the dust.
Yale wants to bill itself to incoming students as a STEM school. Stop with the smoke and mirrors and just make it a better STEM school.
Yale wants to bill itself to incoming students as a STEM school. Stop with the smoke and mirrors and just make it a better STEM school.
All Yale students should have the opportunity to learn practical programming skills, since they're applicable to nearly every field.
A strong department that needs to get stronger to stay relevant. Would be in Yale's best interest to devote more attention to it.
This is a time-sensitive issue. Adding more faculty/money in 5 years will be useless--we'll get behind. Act now administrators!
Because Yalies deserve better. Why the drive for more STEM students without the expanded resources to cover us all?
CS is the future, and failing to address that and prepare our students for this is, simply put, a terrible idea.
When the number of computer science majors doubles, the number of faculty simply has to change to support it.
Yale is a top class institution that prides itself on being a leader in education. We can do so much better.
We shouldn't have to import classes from other universities. Please give more funding to the CS department!
Please, please, please, Yale! This department desperately needs more funding and resources!
I no longer feel completely confident in my choice of attending Yale because of this issue.
Yale is of the wealthiest institutions in the entire world. We can, and need to do better.
I am terrible at CS but we need a better and bigger department for people like me!
Yale Club Basketball won a national championship. Also Yale CS needs more funding.
Finally, people taking action on this! Yes, please to a better CS program at Yale!
Yale should have classes in other languages used by real companies, like Python!
Not enough electives. Need an infrastructure overhaul. Done with this school.
I sincerely hope a change is made to Yale's Department of Computer Science.
CS is important and Yale should value it as it values other STEM majors.
Poor, poor CS department. Get it together Yale, there's potential here.
We need automated theorem proving and another machine learning classes!
Not a comp sci major, but this is definitely important for everyone!
To be a competent University you need a competent CS department.
Yale, you can do so much better with your CS and STEM offerings.
CS is integral to STEM. Yale needs STEM. Do the math.
When Alex Reinking says it, you'd better believe it.
CompSci is the future. Let's act like it, Yale.
Please make this happen, it is long overdue.
Yale, your computer science department blows
I quit the CS major because of this problem.
The situation appears to be unjust
Enough said, it's time for action!
I think this is great! Good luck!
about time this happeend
comp sci is tight yo
This is important.
This is important.
get on it Yale
Come on, Yale.
yale - srsly
I am a cs alum from 1995. My experience from the perspective of an alumni recruiting for cs talent at Yale is ABSOLUTELY CONSISTENT with the comments and concerns voiced here, and I have seen other schools-- in particular Harvard-- go from being entirely off the radar, to being at the top of the list (in fact I just hired two Harvard students this year, and in the 20 years since I have graduated, during which time I have participated in perhaps a dozen on-campus recruiting events, interviews, resume screenings and similar activities, and during which time I have also sent separate email notices through the comp sci department to try to raise awareness of our recruiting efforts--- despite that, NOT A SINGLE CS HIRE IN THE LAST 20 YEARS SINCE I HAVE GRADUATED HAS COME FROM YALE. One suggestion I have for the folks behind this petition: Don't be shy about pointing out what Yale gains financially from this. The highest-paying post-college jobs are consistently ones that require the skills that CS teaches. So do the highest-job-satisfaction and "best jobs" per Wall Street Journal and similar surveys. I don't think you are going out on a limb by suggesting that more money + more job satisfaction, both more attributable to experience gained at Yale, is likely to lead to more donations. And if I can help making that argument for you, feel free to contact me. Thank you for making it apparent that I am not the only one seeing this problem. I will consider requesting further discussion on this topic when alumni giving comes across my desk.
How could Yale be so far wrong on something so pivotal. Computer Science is far less rote than biology, history, or any of a number of subjects that Yale embraces. Has Yale dumped its biology department because it is a feeder for "pre-Med", or history because it is a feeder for "pre-Law"? No. In the age of ideas, it would be difficult to find any more profoundly changing society than those coming from the tech sector. Teaching people to code does not relegate Yale to a 21st century vocational school. Just as with biology, understanding the rules beneath the tech sector is the foundation to grasping these profound changes it is creating in the world, and how it will shape our future. How many more tech-illiterate politicians will Yale pump out who will get to joke about not understanding how email works?
I owe Yale's CS department a great deal for surrounding me with some great professors and mentors and giving me opportunities to work on some of the most exciting problems at the forefront of technology. But as I progressed further in my CS education, I also recognized some grave shortcomings of the department, particularly the lack of dedicated faculty and consistently deep elective offerings in many important sub-fields of Computer Science. I sincerely hope that the administration will recognize that Yale's CS department needs the administrative backing and support necessary for a rapid and radical expansion NOW, so that the University (staff, students, and administrators all) can reap the numerous benefits of a vibrant and varied CS department for years to come!
There's nothing wrong with tradition, but tradition without vision is worthless. The 21st century is upon us and Yale University plods forward as if technology were a fad. While I do believe that Yale has some intelligent leaders at the top, they have succumbed to the petty inter-departmental politics that mandates any expansion of faculty in one department be mirrored across the university. Yale desperately needs leaders who have the courage to upset the status quo and who recognize that the formula which solidified Yale as one of the world's top universities in the 20th century will need to be adjusted in the 21st century in order to keep that position. And that new 21st century formula definitely includes 10 more computer science professors.
I did EECS at Yale, and I truly enjoyed (almost) all of my classes. While there was some difficulty in getting electives that I wanted (due to the mentioned issues), I found the teachers I did have to be engaging, informative, and most of all, supportive. However, I when I started applying to top-tier CS PhD programs, I was surprised by how many rejected me. Not due to my grades, but because I didn't have strong enough CS 'fundamentals.' No compilers, no operating systems, no databases - these classes just never fit into my schedule, so I never took them. Everything worked out well in the end, but I do wish I had had the opportunity to take these classes as an undergrad, rather than having to play catch-up in grad school.
As many others have said, computer science is becoming increasingly important in areas including law, medicine, humanities, architecture, engineering, the list goes on. This trend is only going to accelerate. In recent years, innovations involving computer science and technology have been primary drivers of growth and development around the world. For this reason alone, it's essential that Yale invest in the future of computer science. A radical expansion of the computer science department faculty is a crucial first step toward catching up with other institutions and attracting promising students who will go on to lead the businesses and organizations affected by the ubiquity of computer science.
As an undergraduate at Yale I failed to appreciate how deeply my life and career -- and the world around me -- would be impacted by technology. I found my way to technology-driven entrepreneurship only after graduation, and while I'm grateful for the broad and deep skills I took with me from Yale, I regret how separate the science and technology disciplines were -- both physically and culturally -- from Yale's other fields of study during my time in New Haven. It's long past time that Computer Science be brought into the fold of core academic disciplines, and that all students be offered greater exposure to the skills and habits of mind that will shape their later lives so deeply.
I'm convinced that I received an excellent grounding in Computer Science during my time at Yale, a grounding that has seen me through a productive career in Bioinformatics and my current position as a Staff Engineer at Google. Unfortunately, throughout that career I've found myself battling the poor public reputation of the Yale CS department. Future generations of Yale computer scientists should enjoy the same advantages as their peers in other departments, where the prestige of a Yale degree opens doors and acts as a strong signal of competence and accomplishment. A bold expansion of the Yale Computer Science department is the first step.
The worst part about this whole situation, for me, is a time I remember sophomore year; a friend had realized his passion was in computer science (after taking a couple courses), but was crushed at the thought that he had to take it at Yale - and spent a good few weeks extremely pissed he didn't choose Harvard when he had the chance. Harvard jokes aside, what killed me is seeing a friend find his passion - something that seems so delicate to begin with, and fraught with fear and anxiety - and then watch the realization wash over him that he will never be able to formally chase his passion during his undergraduate education.
I have been to many schools since Yale applied math(CS) including Stanford, UCLA, Tsinghua(In China) and Peking University(China). There are literally thousands of computer people at these other places. When I took my first job at Oracle there were only 2 other Yalies in the company. Given our status as one of the oldest and wealthiest universities in the US, would need to put more resources into our computer science and engineering departments. State schools with much less money than Yale have large,strong, and vibrant departments. Ray Han Yale 1991
The vision of a more innovative and excellent Yale seems unachievable without the investments required to scale Yale Computer Science for innovation and excellence. Stanford and Harvard are achieving distinctive success in Computer Science research and education, with an extraordinary percentage of undergraduates from across all majors now enrolling in Computer Science course offerings. The time has come to increase support for Computer Science and to achieve a model of interdisciplinary innovation and excellence that is uniquely Yale.
CS112 (fall '12, Prof. Zhong Shao) was one of the most engaging courses of my four years, and exposed me to a different way of processing and controlling information. This alone would be enough, but the course also gave me a foundation that was very helpful for learning R for my work in public health. It worked because Prof. Shao was generous with his time and we had a force of TAs to help us troubleshoot at group problem set sessions. I would hate to see that learning experience compromised for future students.
As a web development instructor at the Flatiron School, I wholeheartedly support this initiative. I started Yale as a Computer Science major but changed majors after a year, mostly due to the lack of variety within the department. Though Yale is a liberal arts institution, a Computer Science major should include both the theoretical AND the practical – there is a fine line between the traditional and irrelevant as far as technology is concerned.
When I graduated 5 years ago, Yale CS was seen as one of the more prominent departments nationally. That is decreasingly true. Other schools are ramping up massively while Yale is treading water. It's sad to see because I had a wonderful experience, but the undergrads I know now are having a less-wonderful experience due to overcrowded classes and lack of availability.
As a self-taught programmer who attended Yale and chose not to major in CS in large part due to the university's lack of focus, I wholeheartedly support this petition. CS is no longer just a niche course of study, and this petition isn't the result of a vocal minority. To the Yale administration: please do whatever you can to ensure that we're not left behind.
I live and work in Silicon Valley. I know several Yale graduates- undergrad, MBA and Ph.Ds. But until reading the Bloomberg article, I never consciously noted that none of them were CS majors. Yale may be late to the party but there's still time for Yalies to make their mark. Time to beef up the CS education at our wonderful alma mater.
I don't sign too many petitions but I find Yale's continued disinterest in supporting the CS program more fully disheartening. As many have pointed out, not supporting such an important field at a competitive level with peer institutions puts Yale's overall educational reputation at risk. Please allocate more resources to this crucial area.
I have many fond memories of CS, but almost all of Freshman/Sophomore year when the Zoo was much smaller and I knew everybody in the department. The major grew a ton in my time at Yale and I remember having non-stop office hours. Please get more faculty so students can get more attention and rekindle the tight-knit feel of Yale CS.
As someone active in the startup world (as an investor and public relations executive), I'd like to support this petition and the encouragement of ushering the brightest of Yale students into the most creative and innovative of industries. With a little further education and access, they can have a significant impact on the world.
I took a class with Alan Perlis! Peter Salovey, stop giving mealy-mouthed lame excuses and fix the problem immediately. It is not unsolvable. Harvard, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, Stanford, Chicago, Duke have all done it. Even Swarthmore has hired more, CS faculty. Just do the right thing.
I was a history major, but support this wholeheartedly - computer technology is arguably the most important factor in virtually all areas of educational and commercial endeavor of the past 30 years. For Yale to lag behind other major universities in this area is a huge strategic misstep in my opinion.
Think about what it means for the current and future state of the Harvard and Stanford endowments that there are many successful high-tech companies that were started by alumni of those institutions. Where will Yale be in 25 or 50 years if Yale doesn't step up its game in computer science?
The CS department was understaffed and lacked broader course offerings that would have been typical at other universities when I was a student, so it is disheartening to find out that the department has not expanded at all in the last decade.
My interactions with Yale CS since graduation are marked by the high quality of the people and work, but I agree the department has not grown to match the scale of CS' impact on society and hence need for further leaders in the field.
This has been a sad and disappointing part of the Yale story for a long while. In order to keep up as a truly progressive, respected intellectual institution, Yale MUST invest much more in its computer science program.
I'm probably one of the first Computer Science graduates from Yale, and am astonished and saddened to hear about this short-sighted lack of support.
I have wonderful memories of the Yale Computer Science program and faculty and hope that resources a provided to expand the program.
If you want to be the best you have to know what it takes to be the best, and today that means a good CS program, plain and simple.
I consistently contribute to the alumni fund because I want to support great programs.
It's sad that the department hasn't grown with the times since I was there.
I fully support this effort.
CS should be a top priority!
Yale should keep up!
We need this!