Online Tour

Normally we love giving students tours of our departments and getting to meet them in-person. Since visits to campus are somewhat limited now, we are offering this page as a virtual alternative to physically visiting our facilities.

The computer science department is located in James Farmer Hall which is on campus walk, the main thoroughfare of UMW’s campus. Campus walk is lined with trees, and planters, and is very picteresque.  This picture shows campus walk with James Farmer on the left, as you approach our building:

The front of James Farmer Hall, which houses the computer science department:

The center of James Farmer Hall contains a large, open rotunda.  We hold a few events in the rotunda, such as the annual celebration of our graduating computer science majors.  The rotunda contains a golden seal in the center of the floor.  UMW students say that it’s bad luck to step on the seal while you’re a student since it means you won’t graduate.

This photo shows the second level of the rotunda:

And this photo shows the view of the very top of the rotunda when you look up, complete with a stained glass window to the sky.

Here’s a closer view of the seal.  You can see the old name of UMW: Mary Washington College, along with a logo and Latin motto.

Next on our tour is some of the classrooms we teach our computer science courses in.  First up is B6.  Like all of our classes, it is relatively small.  Unlike bigger state schools, our classes are almost all limited to around 25 students. While the seating is limited, this room is rather large making it easy to reconfigure the seating to facilitate collaboration and group work, which are key aspects of our curriculum. Software developers typically work in a team environment and we provide plenty of experience with collaborative projects throughout the major.

Next is B7, which is right next to B6.  These classrooms both have moveable chairs for group work, and three walls of whiteboards.  Computer science involves lots of sketching ideas, so the white boards come in handy for teachers and students working on projects.

Our third and final classroom is B52 on the other end of the hallway.  This class has lots of natural light and rowed seating, which makes it a great room for breadboard work and other hands-on projects.

Next on our tour is our two computer labs.  First up is B12 which contains 27 computers.  These machines run Windows, and come with several programming tools pre-installed.  We teach classes with a hands-on component in these computer labs, but they are also open 24/7 for computer science students to work on projects.  You don’t really need a laptop to be a computer science major because the lab is available to you (though many students do use laptops too).

Here is our other computer lab, B13.  It’s much the same as B12, but gives us another teaching space.  If there is a class in B12, you can work on your homework in B13, and vice versa.  B13 is the main place our students hang out and work on projects between classes.  Often a peer tutor is on duty to answer questions about coursework and to provide tech support. If you look closely, there’s a framed photo of Nicholas Cage on the lectern at the front of the room. A student left that here several years ago and it’s been there ever since. Students put their own special touches on this space to make it feel like home!

Next on the tour is the office suite where most of the computer science faculty offices are (there are a few more not visible in this photo).  You can also see the couch where our students sit while waiting to see us.  Sometimes students play games on the large TV across from the couch, though it’s mainly for displaying student projects, and other information.

If we go out the backdoor of James Farmer, we can see the Zen garden out back.  James Farmer Hall also houses the Asian studies department.  There is also a meditation room in the building.  Some of our students take the meditation course as a nice break from their coding classes.

Here’s another view from the back of James Farmer Hall:

As you walk past the Zen garden, you come to the amphitheater which was recently renovated.  It has a stage with seating for performances.  Sometimes we hold class outside in the amphitheater on nice days (when we don’t need technology anyway).

Here’s another view of the amphitheater from the other side of James Farmer Hall:

Thanks for coming on this online tour, and seeing the Computer Science department’s spaces.   If you have any questions about the computer science department, please feel free to reach out to the chair, Ian Finlayson, by email at ifinlay@umw.edu.