The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Computer science seats cut in half

About 57 percent of seats in computer science courses have been cut since the spring semester, leaving 959 seats.

The department will also not offer teaching assistant positions to undergraduates, as the department did not receive adequate funding to match growing demand, said Kevin Jeffay, chairman of the computer science department.

“It was never the intent that this happened,” Jeffay said. “Students are trying to take our courses, and we’ve failed them.”

Computer science 116, “Introduction to Scientific Programming,” is not currently being offered in the spring, though it is a required class for three majors and fulfills a degree requirement for five others.

Computer science 101, a popular course for non-majors that offered 120 seats this semester and has 97 currently enrolled students, had already filled its 30-seat capacity for spring 2015.

Max Daum, a junior computer science major, said he couldn’t enroll in any computer science classes for the spring.

“I’m trying to get internships, but to them it’s, ‘Who has the experience? Who has the skills?’” he said. “I’m going through a semester where I’m going to have to teach myself.”

Diane Pozefsky, director of undergraduate studies for the department, notified all computer science majors Monday that courses would be restricted to majors until Nov. 15.

“This is very different than it’s been in past years,” said Joe Puccio, a junior and computer science major. “And that’s even compared to 2000, where there was a similar strain on the (computer science) department with the dot-com boom.”

Jeffay said he is working out arrangements with Kevin Guskiewicz, senior associate dean for natural sciences, to acquire more funding and expecting six to seven courses to gain additional seats by next week, as well as being able to offer computer science 116.

“It still won’t be enough, but it’s better than it is today,” he said. “This is pretty much all I’m working on right now. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see an increase.”

Jeffay said his priority is accommodating computer science majors.

“The number one goal is to make sure the seniors graduate. The number two goal is to get the folks in other majors into the classes they need,” he said. “The computer science department is seriously unhappy.”

Daum pointed out the danger in underfunding the department on the University.

“It’s crippling,” Daum said. “Computer science brings the University money through research. It’s doing the University a service.”

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.