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Dischiaves win IBM’s 2006 Faculty Award
Dischiaves win IBM’s 2006 Faculty AwardDecember 20, 2006Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
Most IT labs on college campuses provide information studies students with hands-on experience in dealing with laptops and personal computers, similar to a home computing environment. These students learn how to troubleshoot problems on individual computers or other small desktop devices. But for many Fortune 500 companies, computing and information system problems come in a much bigger and more complex package. These companies need information professionals who can respond to such computing problems as processing hundreds of millions of credit card authorizations and billing transactions during the holiday season.
School of Information Studies professors Dave Dischiave and Susan Dischiave are responding to this need for large-scale IT experts by creating a new course called Enterprise Systems Technology and by infusing large-systems thinking into their other courses. “We wanted to debunk the notion that enterprise problems can be solved by using `pieces and parts’ and start getting students to think about strategies and technologies for solving large, complex, interrelated problems using `industrial strength’ solutions that included large complex computing devices,” says Dave Dischiave. “IT managers from large organizations want future professionals who can think this way, and industry analysts predict as many as 20,000 open positions as baby boomers start to retire.”
In recognition of the Dischiaves’ efforts, IBM has awarded the couple its 2006 Faculty Award. “We’re very pleased the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University is moving forward with the development of its enterprise systems thinking course,” says Don Resnik, IBM academic initiative manager, System z. “IBM mainframe clients require students educated in enterprise computing — mainframe technologies. This new course will provide the framework for solving `enterprise-wide’ or large, complex organizational problems and will include labs where students will use large systems to gain hands-on exposure to large computers.”
System program manager Kathy Pfeiffer says the new course better prepares today’s students — who will become tomorrow’s IT managers — to bridge the gap between functional jobs and a larger business vision in enterprise computing. “By teaching future IT leaders to be more aware of enterprise-wide solutions, organizations can increase the business value of their IT infrastructure investments,” Pfeiffer says. The SU course will also serve as a model to members of the IBM Academic Initiative System z program worldwide.
IBM has granted the Dischiaves’ undergraduate and graduate classes access to a couple of its databases, so the students will be able to conduct lab exercises on large, comprehensive database management systems to solve complex problems. “This award allows us to continue making IST technology-oriented courses the most robust, experiential and enterprise-like as any course at any university,” Dave Dischiave says. “We now have access to unprecedented technology resources, including researchers, technology hardware and software, from IBM — one of the world’s most technology-advanced companies.”
The award, one of four given by IBM System z, comes with a $20,000 stipend, which the Dischiaves intend to use to purchase new teaching materials such as books, videos, a laptop computer and software; to attend faculty development seminars; and to fund a graduate assistant to help in creating and assembling materials for the new course. “We see this award as the beginning of a new era and renewed relationship with IBM — one that will continue to grow through collaborations between IBM and the School of Information Studies,” Susan Dischiave says. “We fully expect more exciting projects to follow.”
The IBM Faculty Awards program is a competitive worldwide program intended to foster collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development and services organizations. The program also seeks to promote courseware and curriculum innovation to stimulate growth in disciplines and geographies, which are strategic to IBM.