During the 2017 and 2018 academic years, I chaired a high-visibility Faculty Senate initiative to survey and report on how administrators, faculty and staff see the Identity and Mission of the College. The results of this survey have been presented to the Faculty Senate, Board of Trustees, and Presidential Search Committee. At the department-level, my leadership has improved the quality of the Computing in the Arts Program and validated its success in retaining and graduating women. In reaching beyond the College campus, my outreach efforts have excited and engaged new generations of pre-college age students with creative hands-on activities that introduce computing concepts. It is important to note that many of my service efforts build upon and complement my research and teaching work that explores how to change the field of computing so that it is more welcoming and inclusive.
Service to the College
As chair of the Faculty Senate ad hoc Committee on Institutional Identity and Vision during the 2017-18 academic year, I led work to hold a series of in-person discussion sessions and two online surveys which produced data and reports which have informed the Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee on attitudes on the College’s mission. The committee received many supportive comments from Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee members who said that information on institutional identity would be invaluable to give prospective presidential candidates an understanding of the College and to inform decisions of the new College leadership team.
During the 2016-17 academic year I served as secretary of the Faculty Educational Technology Committee, which secured MATLAB licenses for faculty and consulted regularly with Chief Information Officer (CIO) Mark Staples to communicate faculty perspectives.
On numerous occasions I have welcomed students and faculty from across the college and have taken time to show them how to use the Virtual Production Lab equipment. Notably, Erin Butcheck and her dance students filmed video used in the 2014 production of Out of Control, Kathy Kaufmann’s French students have used the space to film projects, and Jack Wolfe of Teaching, Learning, and Technology has used the HTC Vive Virtual Reality system to develop a virtual tour of college landmarks.
My service for the College also supports special needs students who have an interest in computing since much of what we teach is very hands-on and multi-sensory (visual or auditory). I taught one REACH student in fall 2014 Building Virtual Worlds, two REACH students in spring 2015 Game Programming, and one in fall 2015 Animation and Virtual Worlds.
Service to the Computer Science Department
Yearly snapshots of declared majors in our department told us that CITA was attracting a large proportion of women, which led to further questions such as whether CITA was attracting different students, who might not otherwise have considered Computer Science and to what degree the women in CITA persist to graduation. Results of a study that I led to answer these questions found that the CITA curriculum is attracting students from different academic backgrounds than our mainstream B.S. in Computer Science degree. These results are significant and notable since nationwide women represent only about 20% of computing majors but CITA graduates 46% women. In collaboration with CITA Director Dr. Bill Manaris, I contributed to curriculum changes to improve the quality of CITA. In the past, there had been multiple capstone projects which fell short, largely due to a lack of programming experience. To address this issue, we required completion of CSCI 221 Computer Programming II before CITA Seminar and CSCI 230 Data Structures and Algorithms before the Capstone Practicum. Since these changes were implemented, all senior projects have demonstrated competency in coding and synthesizing art and computing. In collaboration with Christine Moore, we designed a Digital Media concentration to prepare students for careers that apply computing and design skills to communicate on the Web. We designed the Game Programming and Interaction concentration to appeal to students with stronger math and physics backgrounds who seek careers in computer game development.
Service to the Community
In serving the community and State, I apply the creative appeal of CITA to recruit pre-college age students and to make research connections with the community. At the Charleston International Film Festival, I presented workshops on virtual cinematography in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and involved CofC students from my Animation and Virtual Worlds class to assist participants in using animation software. I have hosted four high school students from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and two local students participating in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute summer program. My recent service activites include outreach efforts that apply results from my Computer Science Education research to motivate interest in math and computing via visual arts and film. During the 2018 academic year, I hosted three sessions to teach animation and coding concepts to the Charleston Young Artist Guild. I have offered STEAM outreach camps Computing in the Movies (summer 2018 for high school students) and Coding Movie Magic (summer 2019 for grades 4-7).