The Cal Poly College of Engineering (CENG) is launching a task force to elevate the computer engineering (CPE) program to department status.

The computer engineering program is currently an undergraduate program within the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE).

According to an email statement to the CENG community, concerns about the “structure, systems, and culture” within CPE were voiced to the Dean’s Office last year.

Since then, CENG Dean Amy S. Fleischer has worked with staff and faculty from the CSSE, CPE and Electrical Engineering (EE) Department to explore potential solutions.

Throughout the last several months, open forums and retreats with outside moderators were provided to troubleshoot solutions. Fleischer also offered one-on-one consultations and encouraged anonymous feedback online.

According to the statement, a team of faculty from CSSE and CPE unanimously decided with Fleischer to elevate CPE to department status.

EE Department Chair Dennis Derickson, CSSE Department Chair Chris Lupo, CPE Director Lynne Slivovsky and Fleischer wrote an email to CENG faculty, staff and lecturers detailing this decision.

“We strongly believe that this will set the CPE degree program up for success and will simultaneously strengthen all of our programs,” the email read. “As part of the planning process, we expect to develop systems for collaborative interaction between departments that can serve as a model for the rest of the college and university.”

With hopes for the department to be operational by the 2021-2022 academic year, a task force will move forward immediately, according to the email.

Staff and faculty involved with the task force will develop an in-depth strategy to establish the new department, first laying out a broad vision and then addressing specific items, the email read.

“As we look out into the future, we see this opportunity possibly leading to future expansion to a School of Computing model with greater flexibility in degree planning for our students,” the email also read. “But most importantly, we truly believe that a stronger, more dynamic and interdisciplinary CPE degree program strengthens the experience of all our students now.”

Fleischer and others from the team declined to comment.

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