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A computer science student shows off his work in 3D gaming to faculty member Jaime Spacco.

Computer Science

Department Chair

Jaime Spacco

Associate Professor & Chair of Computer Science

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

B.A., B.S., Minor

How we work

  1. We think outside the box (and outside the computer lab). Our students have very diverse interests and don't want to be constrained by a rigid curriculum—and we think that's a good thing. They take areas of interest, from biology to creative writing to economics, and take the skills gained through their computer science coursework to take a unique view of the world around them. Cass Gutierrez '18 is taking her interest in anthropology to look at the portrayal of women in games. Political science major Anna Novikova '13 studied Twitter feeds to understand public attitudes.
  2. We work together and challenge each other. Our faculty work closely with students on impactful research projects and join them in presenting their work at conferences across the country. And because we offer so many research opportunities, our students are already tackling real-world problems as undergrads. In addition, students practice speed, efficiency, and teamwork through programming competitions. At the Mid-Central Association for Computing Machinery Intercollegiate Programming Contest, Knox was the smallest school to place in the top 30 in the 150-team competition.
  3. Education can happen on campus, in the community, or on the other side of the world. Our students participate in study abroad programs at one of the highest rates in the country. We send computer science students to Chicago, Aberdeen, Shanghai, Budapest, and wherever else the can dream up. A little closer to home, we come up with practical solutions to problems for organizations both on the Knox campus and the greater Galesburg community.
  4. We start businesses (yes really). During StartUp Term, students spend 10 weeks brainstorming, creating, and managing their very own businesses. Start-ups include a network between small farmers and businesses, an application to engage students and increase retention of new material, and a web interface to promote a sustainable, local sharing economy on college campuses.
  5. We go on to exciting futures in every industry. Our students have myriad interests outside of computer science, resulting in an alumni base working in diverse fields such as medicine, software development, and business consulting—and now, with our new bachelor of science degree, many of our students will be prepared for even more challenges right out of college. Paige Lowe '14 interned with Amazon and now works at Facebook. Matt Berg '00 was IT coordinator at Millennium Villages Project and most recently founded a startup called Ona (Oh—and he's also one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world!).

How We Learn

The computer science major and minor help students both understand the theory behind computational thinking and see how it can be applied in any field, from business to chemistry to journalism. And our students learn to communicate effectively in the language of the discipline, both in writing as well as in discussion and formal presentation.

In the classroom, we emphasize the development of logical reasoning and problem-solving skills using a variety of approaches, programming languages, and computer systems. We integrate the traditional and innovative, teaching the background that computer professionals are expected to know along with the current state (and possible future) of the science.

Coursework includes:

  • Introductory computer science courses in problem solving, data structures, and programming.
  • Core computer science courses in algorithms, software development, computer organization, information management, operating systems, and networks.
  • Advanced courses such as computer graphics, operating systems, compilers, artificial intelligence, networks, software engineering, and computer security.
  • Support courses in areas such as discrete mathematics, digital electronics, and symbolic logic.

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Professor John Dooley and student, in a computer science class.
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Printed on Monday, September 16, 2019