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The Dominican University of Marin adds a lower computer code – Marin Independent Journal

Halle Champion already appreciates his graphic design work at the Dominican University of San Rafael.

But starting next year, the future employment prospects of the junior in graphic design could increase exponentially when she adds serious computer coding skills as a minor in the new Dominican society with Make School, a coding academy in San Francisco. Make School instructors will come to the campus to teach four units in coding techniques to some of the 1,264 Dominican students in a variety of specialties who want technical skills to improve their curricula.

"I want to dedicate myself to computer science because I want to pursue a career in video games," said Champion, 22, of Hayward. "Taking this minor will give me more opportunities to work and also create a community of people who want to enter the field of technology and learn coding."

Conversely, at the other end of the association, the 110 students now enrolled in Make School will be able to take general education classes from Dominican instructors, which allows them to obtain a degree in applied computing. Dominican will "incubate" and oversee the Make School degree program, the first of its kind accredited by the Dominican accrediter, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, said Make-School co-founder Ashu Desai.

"Students should not have to choose between earning a degree and developing the technology and leadership skills that have allowed our alumni to succeed in the modern economy," said Desai, noting that graduates from the school are currently working in those fields. heavyweights of Silicon Valley Like Facebook, Google, Apple and Tesla. "The university degree remains a powerful path for upward mobility."

More than 30 Silicon Valley employers helped design the curriculum for the curriculum, he said.

Beyond coding knowledge, liberal arts classes are thought to add the critical and strategic thinking skills that companies look for in long-term executives, said Nicola Pitchford, vice president of academic affairs for the Dominican Republic and coordinator of academics for The new partnership

She said the joint program is expected to last at least three to five years, or until both schools are able to develop their own independent piece of the liberal technology arts hybrid. For Dominicans, that would be the time it would take to build their own department of instructors and computer classes; for Make School, that would be the period of time it takes to get its own accreditation as a traditional university and change its brand to avoid the "coding training camp" movement, which some observers say seems to have stalled in recent forecasts .

Pitchford attributed to Dominican President Mary Marcy, champion of educational innovation, the connection, through mutual contact, with Desai and the co-founder of Make School, Jeremy Rossmann, to create the association.

The acquaintance, said Pitchford, knew about Make School's desire to become an accredited university, and also "knew (in the Dominican Republic) the reputation of being innovative and flexible, more than many institutions of higher education, which are notorious for being very cautious, very tradition-oriented and often slow to change. "

Along with that flexibility and innovation, he added, Dominicana "maintains a commitment to the value of liberal arts education, and a commitment to lifelong learning, for students who go to work in jobs that do not exist yet." solving problems that do not exist yet, as well as those that do exist. "

Pitchford said that offers of minor computer courses in the Dominican Republic will be available next fall, however, an early taste will be given in the spring semester, which begins in January, when Dominican will offer a course.

The association allows the Dominican Republic to add the high-tech training that its students need to compete in the current labor market, without having to build a completely new teaching unit from scratch.

Dominican spokeswoman Sarah Gardner said the university will offer the lowest to its students in all specialties, from nursing to science, business and graphic design, since the coding skills they can benefit workers in many different fields, not just software development or programming.

"The workplace is increasingly digitized," Gardner said. "Health, education, finances. We must provide students with the ability to interpret, create and strategically use digital information. "

Steve Polacco, a Dominican graphic design instructor and member of a faculty working group that oversees the new program, said that graphic design specialists may need specific skills in web interface design or character animation "where the code really becomes an important language, whether or not they are not developing the code themselves, or simply working with engineers".

Polacco said the program could improve gender equity because graphic designers will be better equipped to enter the male-dominated field of technology, of the approximately 12 students in their current advanced graphic design class, 10 are women, of which 10, three, including the champion and students Jaycee Maranan and Hanna Miller, are already interested in enrolling in the new computer science team.

"I think coding will be an important aspect that employers will look for," said Miller, 19, a student. second year of Kelseyville living in San Rafael. Maranan, 22, of Vallejo, who is working with other students on an instructional video project for the city planning department of San Rafael, said he feels coding "will really be useful once I graduate."

Although Make School is not accredited as a four-year university, the new program will allow the Dominican Republic to "incubate" the Make School accreditation process, Gardner said.

"(This is) a formal agreement authorized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of the West, the university and university commission," he said. "The WSCUC incubation policy allows an innovative or experimental educational entity that needs time to demonstrate long-term viability to be incubated by a well-established and accredited WSCUC institution."

According to Gardner, Dominican already has different academic partnerships with other institutions in Marin and the Bay Area, including a master's degree in biological sciences with the Buck Institute in Novato, a master's degree in biological sciences with BioMarin based in San Rafael and a Bachelor's Degree in dance with the Ballet of San Francisco.

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