IT Faculty Welcome New, Returning Students

August 25, 2020

Screenshot of IT faculty and students at virtual town hall.

The Information Technology Program at Mizzou Engineering is a tight-knit community. That was one take-away from a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday, Aug. 20, welcoming new and returning IT students.

“It’s an interesting semester with current restrictions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to interact,” said Director of Undergraduate Studies Gillian Maurer. “We’re looking for unique ways in which we can give you the best environment and the best experience here to connect with faculty and other students. We really want you guys to feel like a community.”

More than 300 students are enrolled in IT, either on campus or through the 100% online program.

And they’re in good company, said Program Director Dong Xu, Paul K. and Dianne Shumaker Endowed Professor.

Alumni of the program work at companies such Apple and Cerner. And recent data shows that the average starting salary among new IT graduates from Mizzou is around $63,000.

Students will also learn from faculty members who are experts in their fields, Xu said.

“Our faculty are very dedicated and passionate about teaching,” he said. “Our faculty are highly qualified in teaching their content.”

The virtual town hall allowed one faculty member to demonstrate his expertise. Associate Teaching Professor Dale Musser swapped a traditional Zoom® camera view for video footage he captured with a drone near his home in San Francisco. The video showed footage as the drone followed Musser walking below.

Musser has expertise in autonomous systems. He invited anyone interested in drones and intelligent systems to be part of his ongoing research in the area.

IT students can also get involved in other events this semester, allowing them to socialize while still staying physically distant.

Assistant Professor of Practice Nickolas Wergeles will continue to host Developer Nights virtually this fall. There are clubs for those interested in computing and virtual reality. And Assistant Professor of Practice Ronny Bazan is developing a new club for those interested in cybersecurity. Any student can participate regardless of skill level.

The IT Program offers both in-seat and online classes, although many courses will be virtual this semester. The format works well for students interested in information technology, as they are tasked with coding, developing and working with computer apps and programs as part of the program curriculum.