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UW, Colleges Work with UK University, Industry on Software Engineering Program

January 25, 2021

Students in Wyoming may soon have access to an innovative program in software engineering through a partnership involving Cardiff University in Wales, United Kingdom; the University of Wyoming; Wyoming community colleges; and industry partners in the state.

UW has developed a memorandum of understanding with Cardiff University to cultivate academic and cultural interchange between the two institutions. This agreement will make available to Wyoming students an applied software engineering degree, based on a curriculum offered by Cardiff’s School of Computer Science and Informatics, possibly as early as fall 2021.

The online program will help UW and the community colleges accomplish their objective of preparing Wyoming residents to participate in the 21st century workforce and diversify the state’s economy.

“In many respects, the economies of Wales and Wyoming have much in common, including a historical reliance on natural resources production and tourism,” UW President Ed Seidel says. “Cardiff University’s software engineering program, part of an effort to help diversify Wales’ economy, is considered internationally to be particularly innovative and effective. We’re excited about the prospect of helping bring it to the people of Wyoming.”

The head of the School of Computer Science and Informatics at Cardiff University, Professor Stuart Allen, says he is delighted that his school is working with UW on this project.

“We have found this model of delivering our software engineering courses to be extremely successful. Employers value the ‘work ready’ graduates from our programs, as they can step straight into professional development teams. The students also benefit from seeing how their knowledge and skills are applied in the business environment while still studying for their degree,” Allen says. “We are very happy to share our expertise and experience with Wyoming, and have plans to expand this collaboration into broader areas through a more formal agreement between the two institutions.”

Cardiff’s program was established in partnership with Welsh government and industry leaders, with the aim of giving students “real-life” projects to work on throughout their studies -- and providing opportunities to engage with experienced professionals from industry. It was created in response to concerns from industry that software engineering graduates were lacking in a number of essential skills to make them ready for the workplace once they leave universities.

While discussions are continuing, UW and the state’s community colleges are working with Cardiff and industry partners toward initially offering a two-year degree in software engineering, then possible development of a bachelor’s degree. Students would take a series of online modules, studying within an environment that mimics the workplace in the software engineering industry.

“I’m very excited for this collaborative program. Working together, I feel the community colleges and UW can help transform the state’s economy, create new jobs and help revitalize all parts of the state,” says Brad Tyndall, president of Central Wyoming College.

Wyoming companies that have expressed an interest in participating include Laramie-based Trihydro Corp.

“Trihydro is excited to partner with the University of Wyoming to develop a software engineering program that provides students with a ‘real-world’ experience and prepares them to be part of the future workforce,” says Kristie Cowdin, leader of the company’s corporate information systems business unit.

Representatives of Cardiff, UW, community colleges and industry are working to finalize an initial curriculum. Those discussions will help determine if it’s possible to launch at least part of the program in the fall.

“The community college presidents and I are committed to collaborative efforts that will educate the next-generation workforce to support both our existing economy and promote an enhanced economy for our future,” Seidel says. “The program in software engineering is a great example of what we hope to accomplish by working together and with industry partners in Wyoming and beyond.”

“We are delighted to be able to share our successful National Software Academy model with Wyoming, and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with further collaborative initiatives in the future, to the benefit of Wales, the U.K. and the state of Wyoming,” says Professor Rudolf Allemann, pro vice chancellor of international and student recruitment, and head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering at Cardiff University.

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