Onondaga Community College
Syracuse, New York
(1976 - 1980)

Logo of Syracuse's Onondaga Community College
Teaching Computer Science as Adjunct Instructor at OCC

Course Taught:

  • COBOL Programming

OCC staff at my farewell lunch
OCC staff at my farewell lunch

Jack Milligan - OCC Computer Center Director
Jack Milligan - Computer Center Director

My Experience Teaching at O.C.C.

         When I realized that community colleges do not
require PhD, I checked with a couple junior colleges
near Kalamazoo and found they had no openings.
When I returned to Oswego, a friend told me of a
teaching opening at Onondaga Community College
(OCC) in nearby Syracuse.  Their only Computer
Science instructor was taking a one-year sabbatical
and needed a substitute.  I visited him and we agreed
that I would take his place in September.  At the last
minute, he called me to say that he had changed his
mind and would not be leaving.  But he suggested I
talk to the head of the College's computer center
where there was an opening for a programmer.  The
Director, Jack Milligan, challenged me to do some
work in the "real world" to help my perspective in
future teaching, and I accepted the job.  His
Computer Center had an IBM 1130 that I was
experienced in programming.  It was used mostly for
administrative data processing for the registrar and
bursar, and for some student training laboratory
classes.  The biggest project was scheduling student's
classes at the beginning of each semester.  I found
programming the 1130 to help administrators and
students quite enjoyable.  But the hour-long drive
from Oswego was tedious, especially during the lake
effect snowstorms.  I occassionally stayed in my office
all night due to bad driving weather or to an urgent
programming need.
           But the processing power of the 1130 soon
became inadequate as needs of administration
increased, and a team was formed to find a new more
powerful computer system with networking
capabilities.  A new Burroughs "minicomputer" was
purchased as the least expensive alternative. The
1130 programming was in the FORTRAN language,
but Burroughs programming was mostly in COBOL.
We faced a huge project of writing new COBOL
programs to replace our Registrar and Bursar
systems.  I was the leader of three other Computer
Center programmers assigned to that project. Some
Burroughs programmers assisted us.
New Burroughs "mini" computer sytem of many large machines.
        After learning the COBOL programming
language to create the new system, I began to teach
a COBOL night class as an adjunct faculty member.
I insisted that the students use the new (then)
"Structured Programming" style that avoids using
the common GOTO statement.

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