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7/12/2002 Computer science professor bolsters software inventory

When Martin Dwomoh-Tweneboah arrived at Linfield in 1996, the computer science department had no servers or software for teaching. Dwomoh-Tweneboah’s own office was without a computer – a startling revelation for the assistant professor of computer science.

Today, Linfield students have access to multiple operating systems and a software inventory worth more than $10 million, thanks to the efforts of Dwomoh-Tweneboah and a number of technology programs, which provide software at minimal cost to the college.

“These programs provide computer science students with all the resources they need to make them the best in the industry,” Dwomoh-Tweneboah said. “We are teaching with industry-strength software used by large companies to build computer applications. So when our students leave here, the software they have been working on is what they will use. We want to expose our students to what they will meet when they go out to the industry.”

Dwomoh-Tweneboah has almost single-handedly revamped the computer science department. Upon arrival, his first priority was to acquire a server, the backbone for the entire hardware structure. Sequent donated a UNIX server valued at $450,000. Since then, the computer department has accumulated another UNIX server and four Windows servers. All have been donated or built by Dwomoh-Tweneboah to curb costs.

Next, Dwomoh-Tweneboah turned his attention to software and discovered various academic alliance programs, which provide institutions with teaching software. The most significant of these is the Togethersoft Corporation Academic Program, which provides Linfield with 1,000 user licenses and retails for nearly $7.2 million. In 1997 Linfield became a member of the Oracle Academic Initiative, which enables the department to use Oracle products with a market value of over $1.6 million. Participation in similar programs followed suit, including the Rational Software Engineering for Educational Development Program, the Sun Microsystems Scholarpac Program, and most recently the Microsoft Corporation Academic Alliance Program.

“Microsoft Software entitles us to a large amount of software with unlimited user licenses,” said Dwomoh-Tweneboah, as he leafed through a binder containing hundreds of CDs. “It’s a package for which you cannot set a value.”

Linfield has been among the first institutions in Oregon to tap these alliances, programs usually reserved for large universities. The software is used in computer science classes, labs and students can also install programs on their own computers at home.

“There is no way our students can afford this software on their own,” he said. “When they go home they can do the assignments and create an environment on their machine that will be similar to what we have in the lab.”

In addition to readying graduates for the work world, the software is instrumental as students prepare for professional certification exams, which enable them to earn certificates of expertise in various areas such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle or Java while still in college. A certificate, the equivalent of four years of work experience, is a valuable tool to make students more marketable.

“We have achieved a lot,” Dwomoh-Tweneboah said. “It is my intention to take the Linfield computing science program to a level that will make it one of the best liberal arts institutions. And we are moving there.”