Archive for February 15, 2011

Georgia Tech seeks new Chairs of CS and IC

Since Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing has a track record of innovation in computing education (including the Institute for Personal Robotics and Media Computation), a search for a new Chair of that School is relevant for this blog.  Anybody want the job of being my boss?

Four years after the formation of the School of Computer Science and the School of Interactive Computing, it is time to launch national searches for the people who will lead these Schools to their next level of excellence. I’m writing to announce that such searches will commence immediately, and to thank Ellen Zegura and Aaron Bobick for the superlative work they’ve done in leading the Schools since 2007. Both stayed on as chairs to ensure the College’s smooth transition to its new dean, and I appreciate the dedication they’ve shown since my arrival last summer (truthfully, since Rich DeMillo’s departure in 2008).

Under Ellen’s leadership, the School of Computer Science has significantly strengthened its faculty in such areas as Networking, Theory, Architecture and Information Security, while providing the College with a solid CS foundation to our overall computing curriculum. Also, Ellen has been one of the driving forces behind our Computing for Good initiative, which already has done such wonderful work in Atlanta, across the Southeast and even internationally, and which also has truly distinguished the College from our peers

Under Aaron’s watch, the School of Interactive Computing became a national leader in areas such as HCC, Augmented Reality, Graphics & Animation, Games, Computing Education, Vision and Robotics. Beyond that, the School has played an integral role in helping us to expand the very definitions of Computing, working with partners both inside and outside Georgia Tech to “redefine the human experience of computing.” That IC is seen to have a cohesive academic identity is due in no small part to the expansive vision Aaron brought to his job.

Our distinguished colleagues Henrik Christensen and Dana Randall have agreed to lead the two search committees. Henrik will lead the CS committee, while Dana will head the IC committee. I want to encourage all of you to participate in every step of the process: by inquiring of your colleagues around the country to see who might be interested, by submitting possible candidates to the search committees, by meeting and evaluating the candidates who visit campus, and by communicating your opinions of the candidates to the committee. Finally, I also encourage all College faculty to consider whether you have the vision, desire and commitment to lead your School—both searches will be open to any and all internal candidates.

Let me close by thanking Ellen and Aaron again for their leadership and for agreeing to continue serving as chairs during this search. Whoever the next CS and IC chairs will be, they will lead fine Schools ready to step into elite company, and that is due largely to the energy and vision Ellen and Aaron demonstrated.

Best regards,

Zvi Galil
John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing

February 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

CE21 is all about evaluation

NSF’s budget request to Congress is now out, and what it tells us about how CISE thinks about CE21 has a somewhat different emphasis than in the call for proposals which is more flexible about evaluation (e.g., “Different methods of research and/or evaluation are appropriate.”)

Evaluation is a vital part of CISE’s STEM education programs such as Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) which is a partnership with EHR and OCI. Each CE21 award will provide a rigorous research and/or evaluation plan designed to guide project progress and measure its impact; the plan will also include a description of the instruments/metrics that will be used. The overall CISE education portfolio will be assessed with an appropriately rigorous evaluation process.

Within the CNS Division, there’s a clear focus on BPC:

CNS supports the Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) program that seeks to increase computational competencies for all students, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, disability status, or socioeconomic status, and regardless, too, of eventual career choices.

Just some interesting clues as to what the upper levels of NSF administration are going to be looking for from CE21.


February 15, 2011 at 10:44 am 2 comments

More Students Fail AP Tests –

I’d like to see more on socioeconomic status and teacher preparation in this study.

  • When more students starting taking the SAT, the lowest quartile SES students got really low scores.  Those scores rose, but for awhile, more people coming in at the bottom drew down the average.
  • Similarly, I would expect the students of new AP teachers to be lower, then improve as the teacher improves.  As AP test-taking grows, we grow the AP teacher pool, and we can expect  those initial grades to be poor.

Neither of these explanations for more students failing AP tests is immediate cause for alarm.

As record numbers of high-school students are taking and passing Advanced Placement exams, a rising percentage are scoring at the lowest level possible, according to national data on 2010 graduates released Wednesday.

Students posted 1’s, the lowest score possible, on 23% of all AP exams. Ten years ago, that number stood at 14%, according to the College Board, the nonprofit group that administers the exams. The tests are scored on a 1-5 scale, with most colleges offering credit to students who earn a 3 or higher.

The sharp uptick in the basement-level scores was seen on 26 of 31 exams given over the 10 years, and was especially pronounced in math and the sciences. The latest graduating class posted the lowest possible score on 37% of biology exams, and 34% of calculus AB exams, the data show.

Education experts attribute the low scores to the recent national effort to push more students—no matter how ill-prepared—into AP courses, hoping to get them ready for college. They also blame school districts that have watered down the AP curriculum to accommodate lower-performing students, and students who sign up simply to pad their college applications.

via More Students Fail Advanced Placement Tests –

February 15, 2011 at 9:24 am 2 comments

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