School of Computing celebrates 2-year anniversary

School of Computing faculty and staff at the school's annual retreat lunch in 2023.
School of Computing faculty and staff at the school's annual retreat lunch in 2023.

The Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln officially became a School of Computing in the fall of 2021, marking its two-year anniversary this year.

With faculty approval and university support, the School of Computing became fully housed in the College of Engineering (after previously being shared by the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences) following an endorsement this summer from Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education. The school received a nearly $10 million investment from the Chancellor’s Office to support new faculty and academic programs.

The School of Computing includes nearly 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 40 faculty members conducting research in major areas of computing, including data science, artificial intelligence, systems, software engineering and algorithmic

“In the last two years, substantial strides have been made in establishing our position as the central computing hub at UNL,” said School of Computing director Witawas Srisa-an. “During the 2022-2023 academic year, more than 2000 students enrolled in courses from our school, spanning across 103 different UNL majors.”

The school offers four undergraduate majors and several master’s and doctoral degree programs, including two new programs introduced in 2023: an undergraduate major in data science and an accelerated master’s degree in computer science or computer engineering.
The data science major is an interdisciplinary program geared toward computing students who wish to combine their data science knowledge with another complementary area of study. The accelerated master’s program allows students to take dual-credit graduate courses as undergraduates and earn their master’s degree in just one additional year of education.

“To enhance accessibility to computing, we introduced the new data science major and accelerated master’s programs,” Srisa-an said. “Our faculty's dedication and excellence resulted in securing over $8 million in new funding. Since the fall of 2019, we've expanded our team with the addition of 16 faculty members, and we anticipate welcoming several more in the coming years.”

Srisa-an was appointed the School of Computing’s new director in 2023. Srisa-an first joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in 2002 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and full professor in 2021. He became vice chair of the department in 2018 and served as interim department chair in 2019. He was named senior associate director when the department became the School of Computing in 2021, and served in the role until he was announced as the new director in September.

Since taking on his new role, Srisa-an has been committed to elevating the school and expanding its programs even further, and he is looking forward to the school’s future and impact.

"The School of Computing is a special place with fantastic growth potential, collaborative faculty, and unwavering commitments to research, education, and outreach activities,” said Srisa-an. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the School of Computing as we continue contributing to the computing mission of the College of Engineering and UNL."