“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” states James 1:2. This Bible verse means a lot to Stephen Frezza, the new professor of software engineering at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Frezza came to Steubenville in June to lay the foundations for the future success of the new software engineering program at the university. He is a permanent deacon, currently on loan to the Diocese of Steubenville.
Before he came to Franciscan University, Frezza taught software engineering at Gannon University for 26 years.
Frezza’s vision is to facilitate a quality engineering program with virtue at its very core. Software engineering programs that are founded on virtue are very rare, Frezza said. There is only one other university that he knows of with a software engineering program that has virtue as its fundamental center: Wake Forest University, North Carolina.
Frezza said Wake Forest’s program has helped inspire him to do the same at Franciscan. He hopes that the concentration on Christian virtues will improve the overall quality of the students who graduate with a degree in software engineering.
Frezza said he would like future software engineering students to reflect on what it means to be Catholic and how they can utilize important points of their faith to be good engineers.
“We must understand that goodness starts from the internal and reflects in the external,” said Frezza.
Frezza wants his students to practice virtuousness and apply it into their field of study. He hopes that they can answer questions like: “What is a virtue that’s valuable in topics like Requirements Analysis?” or “How can I practice intellectual humility?”
By the end of the four years, Frezza said the hope is that future software engineering students are “competent” and can apply the foundational virtues they have learned, and/or picked up along the way, in their future vocations. He hopes that they may use their education to be happy and holy evangelists, touching the hearts of those they serve.
As everyone should know — especially in accordance with the theme for this year — without God, any plans made will collapse. Tying virtue more directly and intentionally into education at the course level is Frezza’s definition of “living ethics” and putting God first in the field.
Even though he is one of the new additions to Franciscan’s faculty, Frezza is very enthusiastic for the implementation of this program. He hopes that all future students that enroll in the course share the same vision.