A unique academic-community collaboration is underway in Chicago that will result in non-profit organizations and small businesses across the country being able to access accounting software for free.
Loyola University computer science professors, students and neighborhood residents will work together on building the web-based software thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
"It's perhaps the largest NSF grant we've ever had", notes William Yost, Ph.D., associate vice president, research services, and dean of The Graduate School. "It's a little unusual in that it integrates computer science, the arts and sciences, and the business school. We don't often have the opportunity to build programs that broadly. It's kind of exciting."
The program is designed for those organizations that might not otherwise be able to afford a more robust accounting software system. The program will be rolled out over a three year period as follows:
- Summer 2003: Students will learn the skills they need – both technical as well as business – to build the software
- 2004: Students will build the software along with faculty assistance
- 2005: Faculty will take over the program, including modifications and documentation
Loyola University is one of the largest Jesuit universities in the United States. Grants from foundations and government agencies help Loyola develop a new model of teaching and research that stresses knowledge exchanged between the university and community.