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Neumont College of Computer Science was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2003, to fill the growing national demand for industry-ready technology professionals by offering bachelor’s degree in three years that immerses students in a rigorous, project-based curriculum. This blog serves as a platform to publish and share, news, reviews, and stories from Utah's best kept tech secret. 

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Blog

Neumont College of Computer Sciences's official blogs shares the stories of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff to illustrate the Neumont experience. 

 

Filtering by Category: President's Message

Inclusive and united

Neumont College of Computer Science

It seems fitting to celebrate inclusive and united as two of the values that serve as the foundation for the mission statement of Neumont College of Computer Science. “Improving lives through education,” lends itself to being inclusive and united. As LeeAnn Prince, director of student affairs, explained, “They really go hand-in-hand. Inclusiveness is not about accepting where we are the same, it’s about celebrating what makes us unique and ultimately understanding that by working together, we can accomplish exponentially more than by working alone.” 

Prince says part of her role at Neumont is to help foster a culture of respect that welcomes differences and celebrates diversity. “We should embrace the individuality and unique attributes of others, and that happens when we seek first to understand and then to be understood. Discussion is really the key.”

An important tenant of her job is to ensure that all voices are heard at every level of our institution, and works with Neumont’s various publics to develop the most effective channels and utilize best-practices for open and honest communication. “It can be something as simple as an open door, or even just a suggestion box,” she says, noting the new addition outside her office where the Neumont community (students, staff and faculty) can leave comments, suggestions and questions they’d like addressed.

In essence, inclusivity is not something that is ever wholly achieved; it is an iterative process. And it is through this process, recognizing the strengths and value of one another that we ultimately become united. At Neumont, students and graduates can have a positive impact on the world by leveraging the technical, career, and life skills gleaned at Neumont. Staff, faculty and administration are steadfast and unyielding in their passion to enhance the life of every student to help magnify their potential.

Ultimately, it’s not that Neumont or it’s people are perfect in embodying our new values and mission statement; but as Neumont president Aaron Reed, Ed.D. explained, “they serve to focus on what we believe is most important: making a positive impact on our students, essentially, improving lives through education.”

Innovative

Neumont College of Computer Science

Neumont College of Computer Science was built on a foundation of innovation. When other computer science programs focus on theories and lectures that don't provide adequate opportunities to develop the technical, project, and team skills needed to successfully transition from college to the workforce, Neumont’s founders took an alternative approach. They met with educators and industry leaders from across the country to design a curriculum that merges academic rigor, relevant professional knowledge, and exposure to cutting-edge technologies.

“At Neumont, we teach students to think critically and creatively to solve problems and to innovate,” said Jerry Pay, student innovations manager who oversees the college's Innovation Center. The Center connects students and graduates to resources beyond campus to help them turn their projects into businesses. These resources provide students with the tools they need to not only build prototypes of their ideas and then test those prototypes, but it also helps them build a business model around their product or idea to prepare them to launch a business. The Innovation Center also gives the students and alumni access to funding groups to help them complete the launch where necessary.

“Our commitment to innovation is something that is part of our foundation,” said Ben Fletcher, vice president information technology, “and innovative processes in the classroom should be second nature to our instructors." Prior to managing the institution's technology infrastructure, Fletcher helped develop the bachelor's degree in information systems and served as the program chair. 

He said, "We teach computer science in a wholly different way—constantly pushing the boundaries of how to educate. Our project-based approached to education, with real-time employer feedback, means that innovation is inherent in what we do. Our students are solving real-world problems. And realistically, what our institution aims to inspire in students is ultimately an extension of what every member of Neumont’s staff, faculty, and administration should also be striving for: embracing creativity, imagination, and inventiveness.”

Striving for Excellence

Neumont College of Computer Science

According to Tom Beatty, web design and development chair for Neumont College of Computer Science, striving for excellence is a nice ideal, but not necessary a goal that’s attainable (and thus, the constant striving). He says, “It’s hard to know when you’ve actually reached it.” Beatty shares his belief that everyone is better served by focusing on the best work you can do.

“It's good to push yourself,” he says. “Try challenging things. Learn more. Be curious, Do more, and don't give up. Decide you can do something, and then do it. If you fail, try again with the new knowledge you've obtained. Don't worry so much about achieving excellence at the start. If you continually work hard and do your best to be better than you were or to know more than you did, excellence is the inevitable byproduct.”

And Beatty knows about pushing himself: ever the life-long learner, he admits to spending a lot of time on both Udemy.com and Pluralsight completing online training.  

“I need to keep current on the ever-changing technologies associated with the industry. There is always another framework or library that will help my students be better prepared for their future careers. Beyond that, I love learning and then teaching new things. It keeps my job both challenging and interesting,” he said when asked how he strives for excellence in his own work.

When Neumont’s leadership, staff, and faculty—like Beatty—consider the impact their efforts have on students, the significance of the work becomes evident. Neumont staff and faculty strive to improve every aspect of our institution with the belief that the results of our efforts positively impact our community. We expect excellence from each other, and we try to instill that in our colleagues, students, and alumni.

We are constantly striving for excellence to improve lives through education.

Cultivating a Student-centered Approach

Neumont College of Computer Science

“Students who enroll at Neumont entrust us with their educational and professional future,” said Jeremiah Harrison, manager of academic systems and faculty chair for general education at Neumont College of Computer Science. “We do not take that great responsibility lightly.” Harrison says the College's entire focus is on each individual student and striving to fulfill our commitment to them, which he describes as  “providing [them] with life-changing educational opportunities that lead to fulfilling careers.”

Associate Director of Admissions Jasmine Peña echoes Harrison's sentiments. “We see the value in the Neumont model and the positive impact it can have on our students." When asked how her team is student-centered, she went on to say, “Our focus is not just current students, but we are also working to find future students who would benefit from our educational system. We look for ways to partner with alumni that benefit the entire student-cycle: from prospective students, to current students, and graduates.”

Director of Financial Aid Nate Blanchard says being student-centered goes well-beyond the classroom and the project-based curriculum: “It also has to do with understanding and recognizing the financial burden placed on today’s college students,” He says, noting that his team is tasked with discovering ways to support students and minimize their financial burden any way possible. Whether that’s through finding grants or scholarships, gaining an understanding of financial literacy, or helping students understand the importance of budgeting, ultimately his team is working for the student.

Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fullmer notes that every day choices in the workplace effect students, “The resources we oversee are directly related to tuition costs. So every employee is tasked with using those resources wisely, ultimately to provide the best services possible to our students—past, present and future.”

Announcing Our New Mission and Values Statement

Neumont College of Computer Science

“On numerous occasions I have shared with our staff, faculty and you how much I love Neumont because of my passion for computer science education,” said Neumont President Aaron Reed, Ed.D., this afternoon in an email to students where he echoed Monday’s announcement that Neumont had officially launched it’s new mission statement,

"Improving lives through education."

“A mission statement should inspire and drive action,” Reed said. “We are an institution full of people who are passionate about computer science education; it’s time our mission statement better represented who we are and what drive us.”

Over the next five days we’ll be taking a look at the supporting values that govern this new mission statement:

  • Tirelessly passionate about education
  • Student-centered
  • Striving for excellence
  • Innovative
  • Inclusive
  • United

We’re kicking off the week with our value “Tirelessly passionate about education,” because at Neumont, it’s a passion for education that drives our faculty, staff and administration. What many in academia (or any sector) may deem as the drudgery of work, the inspiring mission of “changing lives through education”  helps Neumont faculty to more fully recognize and embrace the potential impact they have on the lives of others.

We recruit faculty and staff who embrace and live the culture of life-long learning. Our most successful faculty members are passionate computer scientists and developers with comprehensive industry experience and a desire to share what they’ve learned with students.

We recruit students who have already made the bold decision to pursue an education in computer science. Many of our students will be the first in their family to attend college. With the knowledge and skills they’ve attained during their time at Neumont, they change not only their lives, but set a new course for their family and generations to come.  

A Message From Neumont's President

Neumont University

As we prepare to open our campus and classroom this weekend to prospective students and their families, I wanted to take a moment and address the unique situation Neumont University is in with changes and opportunities both inside and outside our campus. 

I want to note a few of the many accomplishments we should be celebrating. Our student outcomes continue to impress. With offers coming in from across the country, many of our upcoming graduates have already signed offers with companies from Google to Hewlett-Packard to Axxess and more. Six of our Enterprise Partners have also extended offers to students, illustrating the value of Neumont’s formula for career-ready graduates.

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Our faculty is key to preparing our students for success after graduation. I wish to congratulate Aaron Reed, chief operating and academic officer, on receiving his doctorate this past fall. I'm also delighted to welcome Kellie Thompson to Neumont. She is the first female chair of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree and joins the faculty with more than two decades of experience and teaching in the computer science field. I would also like to welcome Dr. Kevin Erickson who is currently teaching Decision Support Systems and Server Administration I & II. He has worked in the IT industry for the past 17 years and holds a Ph.D. in cyber security. Additionally, please welcome Jason Hammon who graduated and worked at Harvard University before completing a computer science teaching fellowship at Google. He now joins the Neumont team where he will develop online courses to help increase our offerings. 

Even with all this to celebrate, there is uncertainty. Changes in our country’s leadership have also meant changes to the administration at the Department of Education.
 
As I mentioned last fall, our current accreditor (ACICS) can no longer accredit institutions of higher education. However, because of Neumont's good standing, the Department of Education has granted the university temporary accreditation while the institution transitions to a new accreditor. ACICS’ status is currently working its way through the court system and what seemed to be a “final decision” may not be so final. Their future is uncertain. 

The good news in all this is that Neumont is officially considered “in process” with a new accreditor (as defined by the Department of Education). Staff and faculty are now at the critical stage of submitting a self-evaluation report.
 
The accreditation process notwithstanding, we remain laser-focused on student performance and outcomes; employer needs; and industry-proven curriculum.

I hope you will join me this weekend in welcoming new faces and families to see the best of Neumont. 
 

President's Message: 2015 Thanksgiving Gratitude

Neumont College of Computer Science

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”  --William Arthur Ward

I agree. As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for Neumont University and the community this institution provides to our students, staff, and faculty.

 I’m constantly impressed with the effort of the students here. Achieving a bachelor’s degree is not easy, and that is especially true at Neumont. The work our students put in each day is admirable. Many of our students also take the time to improve themselves and their community, it is remarkable to see these young men and women working each day to earn a degree while also finding the time to volunteer, tutor, and help their peers.    

This year, I’m especially grateful to be at Neumont. The warm welcome I have received from the students, staff, and faculty here is touching. Furthermore, everyone’s commitment to an extraordinary computer science education encourages me daily. Thank you for your continued support of our small community working so hard to make a big difference in education and technology.

Whether you are traveling or staying close to campus for the break, I wish you all a safe, enjoyable, and relaxing holiday. 

Shaun McAlmont: Neumont University President at the Epicenter of Progress

Neumont College of Computer Science

From his office on the fourth floor of the historic Tribune Building on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City, Neumont University President Shaun McAlmont, can see and hear progress. 

Next door to the computer science-focused university, the $110 million, 2,500-seat George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater is under construction – set to open in 2016, with an additional $12.8 million facelift for Regent Street and Orpheum Avenue creating a new arts district, right in the institution’s back yard.

“We’re smack in the middle of progress,” McAlmont muses, and you get the feeling he’s talking about more than the adjacent construction.

Although McAlmont is relatively new to his post at Neumont, it hasn’t taken him long to settle in. He brings a unique skill-set to the university, where students earn bachelor’s degrees in three years. His résumé includes more than 20 years of experience in the field of education and training, including roles at Stanford University and Brigham Young University. He was most recently the CEO of Lincoln Educational Services—a technical education institution with campuses in 15 states.

McAlmont’s enthusiasm for his new position is hard to miss, especially when he speaks about the connection he feels to Neumont students. Originally from Canada, McAlmont says he knows what it’s like to be different – something a lot of Neumont students can relate to. He attended Brigham Young University on a track scholarship in the late 1980s – arriving at the predominantly LDS campus as one of the school’s few minority students and a Catholic. To say he was not a typical student seems almost laughable.

It’s the experience of being the odd man out that gives McAlmont insight into Neumont’s students– and his role as a leader. He empathizes with students who often feel they did not “fit in” in high school, and he shows them a path for success in spite of those differences. To this day, he holds BYU’s sixth-fastest time in the 400-meter hurdles. Currently, he is a memeber of BYU's Marriott School National Advisory Council.

Showcasing Neumont’s current success and leveraging the resources of his past are two keys for growing the university’s presence along the Wasatch Front. “There’s a reason Forbes consistently names Salt Lake a top five city for tech in the U.S., and Neumont continues to play a key role in growing the technology sector and economic prosperity of the state.”

Neumont’s numbers prove the institution is making an impact: 97 percent of Neumont University graduates are working in their chosen field within six months of graduation and earning an average first-year salary of $63,000.*

“We know companies are looking for more than theory because we ask them,” McAlmont says. “We tailor our curriculum to fill a need in the tech industry. That’s why our graduates get hired at companies like Google, Oracle, Microsoft, eBay, Towers Watson, Vivint and Rio Tinto.” The university offers a project-based curriculum that goes well beyond traditional models of higher education in preparing students for the workplace.

“We owe it to our community to help them understand the impact of our outcomes. I’m excited about the opportunities for us here,” he says over the sounds of constructiona nd students moving to classrooms. Indeed, it sounds like progress. 

* Employment and salary statistics are calculated using data from the 2011-2014 Neumont University graduates. Neumont verifies employment and first-year compensation by employers in writing. Neumont does not guarantee employment or first-year compensation for future graduates. 

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