Academic journal article Education

MIS Program in Smaller Colleges: Politics and Other Problems

Academic journal article Education

MIS Program in Smaller Colleges: Politics and Other Problems

Article excerpt

I. Introduction

A phenomenon among colleges and universities in the last ten years has been the offering of a Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. The interdisciplinary nature of this type of program is reflected by the fact that different departments administer this program from institution to institution. Also, the curriculum varies widely among schools.

It was assumed, at the outset of this study, that the level of diversity in the operation of CIS programs would be greater in smaller colleges and universities than in larger institutions. It was felt that political conflicts would be greater in these smaller schools due to the consolidation of classes in one department. An example of this would be a computer literacy class which could be offered by either Business or Computer Science.

This paper summarizes the results of a survey on undergraduate CIS programs in small colleges. More specifically, the survey considers 1) the CIS programs and courses in different institutions, 2) perceived political contention among related departments, and 3) other related problems.


A sample of 203 ACBSP (Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs) member institutions which provide four-year college education was selected. The sampled colleges and universities have less than 4,000 students individually as of June 1, 1991.

A total of 72 usable responses were received (35.5%). Fifteen, or slightly over 20 percent, answered they did not offer CIS programs. Therefore, approximately 80 percent of the responding institutions has CIS programs. About 70 percent of those responded had the institutional enrollment ranging from 1000 to 3000 students.


A. CIS Program

Four major groups were identified that housed a CIS program; 1) Business; 2) CIS/Management Information Systems; 3) Computer Sciences, or Mathematics/Computer Sciences, and 4) Mathematics or Natural Sciences. As shown in Table 2, Business departments or schools housed about 45 percent of the sampled CIS programs, while 21 percent were in separate CIS or MIS departments. There were no significant cases where Computer Sciences had the CIS programs.

The CIS concentration or major was labeled by many different names which included Management Information Systems, Computer Information Systems, Computer Information Sciences, Business Information Systems, and Information Management. Among those, however, Management Information Systems and Computer Information Systems were dominant. Interestingly, Business departments preferred MIS (54%) to CIS (23%), while the rest preferred CIS (57%) to MIS (7%). Does this imply anything?

Table 1

Size(*)                           Responses

Less than 1000              7       (9.7%)
1000 - 2000                27      (37.5)
2000 - 3000                23      (31.9)
3000 - 4000                15      (20.8)

Total                      72     (100.0%)

* Institutional enrollment
Table 2
Housing of CIS Programs by Departments

Department(*)                         Frequencies

Math./Natural Sciences           4       (7.0)
Computer Sciences, Math/CS      12      (21.1)
CIS, MIS                        15      (26.3)
Business                        26      (45.6)

Total                           57     (100.0%)

* Slightly different names were combined to the closest.
Table 3
Minimum Required Credit Hours

                            (In semester equivalent hours)

Department                 Sample      Sample      Standard
                            Size       Mean(*)       Error

Business                     24          24.93       1.54
CIS/MIS                      14          32.93       2.02
CS/Math/Nat Sc               15          29.13       1.95

Overall                      55          28.23       1.04

* ANOVA shows significant mean differences at .05 level. Scheffe's multiple
comparison showed significant mean difference between Business group and
CIS/MIS group at . … 
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