ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine has merged its Department of Computer Science with its Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering to create a School of Computing Information Science.
The new school became an official UMaine academic unit on July 1.
“Computing and information science has emerged as a key discipline for the 21st century,” Susan Hunter, UMaine’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said in a press release issued Friday. “It is now a broad discipline that is at the technical core of our social interactions and relationship with the environment. This new structure will provide real value to our students while enabling new opportunities in research and public engagement.”
Hunter noted that the new school is well-positioned to help achieve the goal of doubling the number of graduates in these areas within four years that University of Maine System Chancellor Richard Pattenaude outlined in his March 30 address to the Maine Legislature.
Jeffrey Hecker, dean of UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said the merger brought together two outstanding, complementary departments.
“The Department of Computer Science is noted for its strong undergraduate programs, which the new school combines with the excellent graduate education and international research reputation of the Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering,” Hecker said in the press release. “[Computing Information Science] comprises experts in such diverse fields as robotics, information law, databases, virtual worlds, spatial information and climate change, all of which are exceptionally relevant as we explore the ideas and technologies that reach into all our lives.”
Michael Worboys has been appointed the school’s first director. He will focus his efforts on initiatives that will unify, strengthen and engage the university’s many academic and other units that have a computational focus.
“Highly skilled information technology workers are in short supply and will continue to be in high demand in Maine and across the nation,” he said. “Industry is looking for people who understand IT and systems as a whole. These are the systems on which small and large enterprises alike depend for their operation in today’s digital age. The new school provides the critical mass to meet these needs and make a difference to our state and nation. We will reach out to share the information revolution with all on campus and beyond. I am excited and optimistic about the school’s future.”