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Computer science

Faculty milestones for August 2014

See a list of faculty milestones for August 2014.

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Endowed Professors, Faculty Fellowships and promotions

ironwork.200x250Congratulations to the College’s newest endowed professors, this year’s Wake Forest Faculty Fellows and those faculty receiving promotions.

The Wake Forest Professorship award is an endowed chair position and is among the University’s highest honors. The selection criteria include exceptional skill and sustained dedication in the classroom; outstanding commitment to student learning and growth beyond the classroom; a wide-reaching and significant record in scholarly and creative work; a sustained exemplary service to the department, the discipline, the College, the University and the broader scholarly community.

Recipients of the Wake Forest Professorships are:

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CS4HS workshop findings to be presented at conference

While most kids have been using computers their whole lives, they generally don’t get the opportunity to learn exactly how they work until college. Wake Forest computer scientists teamed up with Google over the last two summers to develop a comprehensive approach to reversing this trend.

Sam Cho

Sam Cho

Samuel Cho, assistant professor of computer science and physics, led the project. He and computer science professor Paúl Pauca hosted two Google-sponsored CS4HS summer workshops in which Wake Forest computer science students trained middle and high school teachers how to write simple computer and Android based programs. They also worked with the teachers on ways to integrate computational thinking exercises into their curriculum.

Paúl Pauca

Paúl Pauca 

Cho and Paúca sent follow-up surveys to the teachers who participated in the workshops and found the workshops were effective. They helped teachers integrate computational thinking into the classroom and improved teachers’ abilities to mentor young students interested in learning computer skills before attending college.

Cho and Pauca, along with Winston-Salem State University Professor of Education Denise Johnson and Hanes Magnet School Spanish teacher Yu’Vonne James, compiled results from the workshops and surveys. Cho and Pauca will present these findings at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education’s 25th International Conference, March 17-21, in Jacksonville, Fla.

External support for WFU research remains strong

The following letter is adapted from director of Research and Sponsored Programs Lori Messer’s introduction to the October issue of Research News:

Reynolda Campus research had an excellent year. For fiscal year 2013, total external support for projects exceeded $9.8 million, the second-highest amount in campus history, and that was not including five fellowships for scholarship in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The total is even more remarkable when you consider that $8.4 million, about 86 percent, comes from federal sources limited by sequestration budget cuts.

FY13 saw 22 departments and centers receive sponsored research funding, and nearly all increased its total over FY12. Health and exercise science received the most, with physics running a close second.

Faculty and staff in 32 departments and centers submitted 152 external proposals, requesting more than $38 million. Chemistry submitted the most proposals and requested the most funding.

We would like to recognize two of our former CRADLE program participants, Oana Jurchescu and Timo Thonhauser, both in physics, who received prestigious CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation. WFU has received five such awards, with Patricia Dos Santos and Rebecca Alexander in chemistry and Dave Anderson in biology already gaining that distinction.

CRADLE (Creative Research Activities Development and Enrichment) is a two-year program that helps Wake Foresters develop competitive external funding proposals.

The NSF CAREER Award is a $400,000 award given to the nation’s top junior faculty members and is meant to support their research, encourage excellent teaching, mentorship and community outreach.

Another graduate of the CRADLE program, assistant professor of chemistry Lindsay Comstock-Ferguson, received her first independent federal funding. The following faculty and staff also received their first individual external grants at WFU:

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Proposals funded: Messier, Burg

Stephen MessierCongratulations to Stephen Messier, professor of health and exercise science, whose proposal entitled “Strength Training and Arthritis Trial (START)” has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number 5R01AR059105-03. In addition, Messier’s research was recently featured on the ElderBranch website. Read the article here »

Jennifer BurgCongratulations to Jennifer J. Burg, computer science professor, whose proposal entitled “Collaborative Research: Computing in the Arts – A community Building Initiative” has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Thomas named CSAB Fellow

Stan Thomas, professor of computer science, has been awarded the CSAB Fellow designation.

The award is given in recognition of individuals who have given sustained, quality service to the computing profession and to computing education through the activities of CSAB. Thomas was recognized for his long service to the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of ABET. Thomas is currently the vice chair of operations for the CAC.

ABET is the organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for its leadership and quality assurance in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology education.  ABET’s membership is composed of 33 professional societies including AIChE (Chemical Engineering), ASCE (Civil Engineering), ASEE (Engineering Education), IEEE (Electrical/Electronics Engineering), SPE (Petroleum Engineering), and CSAB.  CSAB represents the interests of the computing profession with respect to ABET accreditation of programs in computer science, information systems, information technology, and software engineering.

“Visiting and reviewing academic computing programs with respect to accreditation standards has been a highlight of my professional career over the past 17 years,” Thomas said. “The commitment of the numerous volunteers with whom I have served has been outstanding. My respect for these peers makes recognition as a CSAB Fellow extremely rewarding. I am truly honored by this recognition for service to computing education.”

Thomas has been part of the Wake Forest faculty since 1983. He served as department chair from 2004-2011.

August 2013 faculty milestones

See a list of employment milestones reached by faculty in August 2013: Continue reading »

Proposals funded: Pauca, Miller

Paul PaucaCongratulations to Victor Pauca, associate professor of computer science, whose proposal entitled “Implicit Geometry and Linear and Nonlinear Tensor based Compression and Restructuring of High Dimensional Multimodality Datasets” has been funded by the US Department of Defense and the Boeing Company (WFU funding agency).

Ellen MillerCongratulations to Ellen Miller, associate professor of anthropology, whose proposal entitled “Paleontological exploration at Buluk, early Miocene, Kenya” has been funded by the National Geographic Society.

Congratulations to retiring faculty, staff

The following is a message from President Nathan Hatch: 

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While commencement season always brings about a sense of new beginnings and opportunities, it’s also a time to say thank you and bid farewell to many of our friends, colleagues and mentors who have called Wake Forest University home.

Please join me in congratulating and commemorating a marvelous class of Reynolda Campus faculty and staff retiring from Wake Forest this year. We are grateful for the many contributions from this remarkable group of individuals, who together have more than 800 years of service to the University: Continue reading »

Plemmons selected as SIAM Fellow

Bob PlemmonsBob Plemmons (’61), Z. Smith Reynolds professor of mathematics and computer science, has been selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

The fellowship honors SIAM members who have made outstanding contributions to the fields served by the organization.

“Being selected as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics means a lot to me in terms of accomplishments as I retire from teaching at Wake Forest, although my research activities will continue for a few more years,” Plemmons said. “This Society has been my home professional organization throughout my academic career, spanning forty-seven years and four universities, with the last twenty-three spent at my alma mater, Wake Forest.”

The focus for SIAM is applied, computational and industrial mathematics, and the society often promotes its acronym as “Science and Industry Advance with Mathematics.” It was founded in 1950 in Philadelphia and currently has more than 15,000 members worldwide.

“My research is centered around applied research directly addressed by SIAM,” Plemmons said, “and I’ve been a very active member over the years in terms of administration and conference organizing.”