Neumont University is devoted to pumping out a steady stream of experts in computer science -- the only major that students can choose. The 6-year-old school places its graduates in high-tech jobs at such companies as EBay Inc., Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. If trends hold up, more than 90% of the 59 students graduating with bachelor's degrees today will find work within three months.
But surrounding introverted computer programmers with other introverted computer programmers creates unique challenges for school administrators. Employers praise the skills of Neumont's graduates but complain about their computer addictions and difficulty socializing with colleagues. For their part, some students grumble that their peers spend too much time playing video games and too little time in the shower.
So in addition to the intricacies of computer science, Neumont is trying to teach its students how to get along better in the real world. Administrators forced them to close their laptops in class, established social clubs and required them to take courses in interpersonal communications and public speaking.
The efforts have met resistance. After all, students ask, what's the purpose of attending a place known affectionately as "Geek Heaven" if you're not free to geek out whenever you choose?