Douglas Mitcham: Associate professor of Computer Science
June 8, 2012
Douglas Mitcham has been teaching computer science courses at Evangel since the fall of 1993. He also serves as Evangel’s faculty athletic representative.
Mitcham attended Evangel from 1977-1980, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Also a skilled athlete, he was a member of the first Evangel football team. In 1990, Mitcham earned his Master of Science in Computer Science from Boston University.
Mitcham’s expertise stems not only from his educational background, but also from years of work experience. Prior to teaching at Evangel he spent 13 years in the Boston area working as a computer scientist and project manager for two companies in the defense industry. During this time he received a letter of commendation for his work on North America’s air defense system.
In his free time, Mitcham enjoys playing music. For the past 15 years he has been an active member in multiple award-winning bluegrass gospel groups. He is currently a member of the trio “Bob Hammons and the Wildwood,” which was voted Midwest Vocal Group of the Year in January 2010.
What sparked your interest in computer science?
When I was working on my undergraduate degree in Mathematics , I took some programming classes and also programmed in one of my math courses. I really enjoyed that and realized that it went hand in hand with my math skills. When I graduated and went back to the Boston area, I sought out computer programming/software-related jobs. While working for Logicon, I completed my master’s work in computer science at Boston University and also had management training at Logicon.
What is the most memorable thing that happened to you as a student at Evangel?
I don’t think I had a single most memorable thing. I remember several things such as the times I had with new friends, the amount I learned while studying here, the evangelistic crusades that I participated in as a member of the football team, etc. With regard to the football program, a highlight was defeating Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University). To defeat such a large NCAA II school was quite an accomplishment.
What brought you back to Evangel to teach?
In 1993, while working for Martin Systems, Inc., the defense budget was drastically cut and new defense projects were scarce. Our small company could not find new projects and while I was searching for a new company to go to, I received a letter describing the qualifications for a computer science teacher that Evangel was in need of. I really felt the Lord was calling me to come to Evangel and teach. With prayer and fasting, that call was confirmed in my heart, and the job was opened up for me.
What are some interesting extracurricular opportunities that computer science students have at Evangel?
There has been an increase in local companies contacting me with regard to student internships. Some are paid and some are not, but either way an internship can be done for course credit. There is an increasing network of computer science graduates staying in the Springfield area. We all get together for lunch periodically. Additionally, the students can take advantage of Evangel’s ministry opportunities and the local attractions this area has to offer.
What is your favorite part about teaching at Evangel?
I love the people. That includes my students as well as the wonderful colleagues I work with. It is a tremendous atmosphere. Also, the IT department does a wonderful job of keeping our technology current which is important to our computer academic programs.
What is your most memorable professional accomplishment?
My biggest joy comes from seeing my graduates succeed in their post graduate life and pursuits. While teaching here, I was also proud to have started the Computer Information Systems (CIS) degree program.
What advice do you have for prospective computer science students?
Computer Science involves much more than being able to use a computer or playing video games. It requires good math and logic skills. Future Computer Science students should take as much math as possible. In computer science the rewards are great, but you need a good work ethic and good logic/math skills.