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Computer Science and Business program leads the way

Lehigh’s Computer Science and Business (CSB) degree program has become the first and only undergraduate program in the U.S. to offer accredited degrees in both business and computer science.

The groundbreaking interdisciplinary program, initially launched in 2001, recognizes the evolving and critical roles that technology and computer science play in the corporate marketplace, and provides Lehigh graduates with a distinct advantage in the job market.

The CSB offers students an understanding of computer forensics and corporate risk management by integrating computing and business skills at an unprecedented level. Lehigh surveyed 38 nationally recognized consulting companies, software development organizations and public accounting firms before developing the program in 2001. The result is the nation’s only four-year undergraduate curriculum dedicated to this area.

“The accredited CSB program not only prepares students for a career in business computing, which is so essential in today's marketplace, but it's also a full-fledged technological computer science degree,” says Peter Bennett, president of Liberty Trust and an advocate of the program. “Because there is an increasingly stronger relationship between technology and virtually every other field of endeavor in today's complex business environment, the combination of these two disciplines provides an excellent platform for a longer-term career in high-level general management.”

An accreditation means the program meets strict quality and educational standards outlined by professionals within the industry. The CSB program is now accredited as a computer science degree by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology/Computing Accreditation Commission. It has also been accredited as a business program by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

"A significant edge in the market"

"Technical and analytical thinking skills—the hallmark of an engineering education—prepare leaders and innovators who may not necessarily pursue engineering-focused career paths," says Hank Korth, the Weisemann Professor and Chair of Lehigh's Department of Computer Science and Engineering. "Similarly, management, financial, and marketing skills—the hallmark of a business education—prepare entrepreneurs who take new technologies to market.

“Simply put, the CSB major is perhaps the best example of Lehigh's ability to bring erstwhile distinct disciplines together to train students ready to take on the challenge of the emerging trans-disciplinary world."

James Hall, the Peter E. Bennett Chair in Business and Economics, agrees. “Earning the dual accreditation confirms the importance and uniqueness of our program. The experience, both in the classroom and in the field, gives our graduating students a significant edge in the market by providing them with a solid background in both computer science and business. It’s a four-year educational experience they can’t find anywhere else.”

The program offers a variety of integrative courses designed specifically for the dual major. Graduates of the program are uniquely equipped to analyze business-user information needs, to design computer-based information systems, and to implement system solutions—a skill highly desired by companies as they look to strengthen their corporate risk management practices.

Today, universities are developing courses around corporate risk management to educate students on Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and on critical changes to traditional corporate auditing and ethics practices. Lehigh continues to work directly with the Big Four accounting firms and Fortune 500 companies to address this growing demand.

--Thomas Yencho

Posted on Monday, October 10, 2005

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