New Computer Science Department Faculty, Accelerated BS/MS Program in Computational Science, and Accreditation Updates

By Dr. Brian Canada, Associate Professor and Chair, USCB Dept. of Computer Science

The Computer Science department at the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is proud to announce the successful recruitment of two new faculty members who are being supported by the MADE in SC project. Dr. Dean Bushey, tenure-track Associate Professor of Computational Science, joins the department with more than 30 years of experience across academia, the military, and industry. Dr. Bushey, a retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, has previously served on the faculty at Florida Polytechnic University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and at Duke University. His research emphasis is on unmanned systems and self-driving vehicle technologies, blending computer programming, software engineering, and electrical engineering.

Also joining the department is Dr. William (John) Thrasher III, tenure-track Assistant Professor of Computational Science. Dr. Thrasher recently completed his PhD in Computer Science at Florida State University, where his dissertation research largely focused on random walk-based Monte Carlo methods including applications to solutions of the Poisson-Boltzmann equation, which is widely used in materials science and engineering.

Drs. Bushey and Thrasher join another MADE in SC grant-supported faculty member, Dr. Kishwar Ahmed, a specialist in high performance computing (HPC) who was recruited to the USCB Computer Science department a year ago. All three new faculty members will help to support the MADE in SC project through research collaborations, broadening student participation, and the continued development of USCB's new Master of Science program in Computational Science (CSci).

The new M.S. CSci program has itself seen some changes since it was launched in August 2019. For example, USCB has recently developed an accelerated BS/MS program in Computational Science that will allow qualified senior undergraduate CSci students to take up to 12 credit hours of graduate-level coursework that can be shared between the B.S. and M.S. degrees. After earning their B.S. degree in Computational Science, eligible participating students who join the graduate program can potentially complete their M.S. degree requirements in just two additional full-time semesters.

Many of the “new” students in the M.S. program joined the new “4+1” accelerated program after having completed their B.S. CSci degrees in Spring 2020 and are on track to graduate in May 2021. These same students also have been participating in a new entrepreneurial partnership between the USCB Computational Science program and the Beaufort Digital Corridor. This new program, supported by a South Carolina Department of Commerce “Relentless Challenge” grant, pairs up talented USCB Computational Science students with local tech startups to develop an MVP (“minimum viable product”) software application or other digital technology that has the potential to attract additional capital that can lead to commercialization.

Finally, in other news related to its M.S. program in Computational Science, USCB is proud to announce that the SACS-COC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) Board of Trustees has approved the university's level change response report that effectively re-affirms the accreditation of the M.S. CSci program for another ten years and simultaneously will permit USCB, now officially a SACS Level III institution, to offer additional master's degree programs. Many of the USCB Computer Science department faculty and staff played an integral role in this milestone achievement for USCB that positions the university for numerous growth opportunities in its academic program offerings as well as its research infrastructure.

September 2020