Dominican Welcomes Applied Computer Science Students

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Dominican University of California announced July 16 that it will assume direct delivery of the Applied Computer Science program offered by Make School, the San Francisco-based software and coding school that was operating under Dominican's auspices.

Costs associated with launching a startup university, particularly in light of the many challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, led Make School to reevaluate its capacity to become an independent, degree-granting institution. The Applied Computer Science program was officially handed over to Dominican on July 30.

Dominican will offer the required courses to allow the 150 students currently enrolled in Make School’s Applied Computer Science program to complete their degree and graduate from the University. The Applied Computer Science program will be housed within Dominican’s Barowsky School of Business, recently awarded AACSB accreditation as one of the top tier business schools worldwide. 

In 2018, Dominican and Make School entered into an incubation partnership with the expectation that Make School eventually would receive accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission to become an independent institution.

The partnership allowed Make School to develop and launch an innovative, accelerated BS degree in Applied Computer Science, with Dominican and Make School trading expertise in order to design a degree that combines a traditional liberal arts education with cutting-edge coding skills. In exchange, Make School faculty consulted with Dominican faculty to develop and offer a minor in Coding and Software Design for Dominican students.

“Dominican and Make School decided that the best outcome for Make School’s students would be for Dominican to take over the teaching of the Applied Computer Science program and invite the Make School students to complete their degrees at the University,” said Dominican University of California President Nicola Pitchford.

“This is not the outcome Dominican and Make School anticipated, but we are committed to ensuring students enrolled in the program enjoy a rich educational experience and graduate with a degree in Applied Computer Science,” President Pitchford added.

“When we entered into our partnership with Make School, we were determined that the degree program would enable our students to tap the insight and expertise of practitioners at the world’s leading tech firms without sacrificing the holistic student engagement that is a hallmark of a great liberal arts education, and indeed the hallmark of the Dominican Experience. This remains true today and will help guide our work moving forward.”

While many details are being finalized, Dominican anticipates hiring some Make School faculty to teach Applied Computer Science courses – as well as drawing on the industry expertise of Barowsky School faculty – and retaining a focus on hands-on learning. Dominican faculty will continue to teach the Science & Letters (CORE) curriculum, as has been the case previously. This curriculum includes communication, quantitative literacy and social issues, civic knowledge and engagement, artistic and creative expression, human behavior, and science – accounting for 36 of the degree’s 124 units.

As Make School students are already enrolled as Dominican students, no additional application is required. Shortly, Dominican will support Make School students in making a smooth transition if they wish to continue their education at the University. Dominican’s San Rafael campus, located 17 miles north of the Make School campus in San Francisco, will offer in-person learning and the University is exploring options for local housing for Make School students. Those Make School students who have elected to pursue their degree online will be able to continue fully remote instruction through Dominican.

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