Colleagues Celebrate 25 Years, Bid Farewell to Departing Professor Mark Guzdial

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After 25 years of service to Georgia Tech, longtime College of Computing Professor Mark Guzdial is heading back to his home state to teach and continue his research at the University of Michigan.

Guzdial, along with his wife and College of Computing research scientist Barbara Ericson, leave lasting academic impacts on the College for their revolutionary research into computer science education, developing innovative technology to improve learning and leading a charge in examining and increasing equity – specifically with regard to women and minorities – in computing.

During his time at Georgia Tech, Guzdial has led such initiatives as Georgia Computes, a National Science Foundation Broadening Participation in Computing alliance focused on increasing the number and diversity of computing students in the state of Georgia. His work has reached beyond Georgia, leading a national conversation in equity and education at conferences such as the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education and International Computing Education Research conference, among others.

Ericson, who recently completed her Ph.D. in Human Centered Computing, was the Director for Computing Outreach in the College. Her work, in conjunction with the national CSforAll initiative established by former president Barack Obama, improved the quality and quantity of secondary computing teachers in the state.

Guzdial and Ericson were awarded the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award in 2010 and Guzdial the IEEE Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2012 for contributions to computing education. Guzdial became a Fellow for the Association for Computing Machinery in 2014. Ericson also won the 2012 A. Richard Newton Educator Award for efforts to attract more females to computing.

“Mark and Barb’s work has helped position the College of Computing as a thought leader in computer science education,” John P. Imlay Dean of Computing Zvi Galil said. “We are extremely appreciative for their service and will miss them greatly. I wish them great success at the University of Michigan.”

PHOTOS:  Click here for photos from Guzdial’s 25 Years of Service Reception

Georgia Tech colleagues celebrated Guzdial’s 25 years of service to the Institute at a reception earlier this month. Many praised the impact on Georgia Tech and shared stories of long-lasting friendships. Professor Amy Bruckman said Guzdial was “the reason (she’s) here” at Georgia Tech.

Professor John Stasko shared how he, Guzdial, and Professor Gregory Abowd have had a standing monthly Saturday lunch and how much the camaraderie has meant to him.

“Probably most of you all know about Mark’s contributions in CS Ed and, in many ways, he gives us the presence in that area,” Stasko said. “There are things beyond that, though. Gregory, Mark and I have been having breakfast together on Saturdays for years and years. Kind of like a bunch of old men getting together – well, I guess now it’s not really ‘like’ old men.

“But that’s been great. We’ll miss him certainly for all of his academic contributions, but many of us miss him as a close friend, too.”

Abowd echoed Stasko’s words, calling Guzdial a “brother” and lamenting the fact that he, a Notre Dame graduate, now has to like something about the University of Michigan.

“I’m really angry at Mark and Barbara because I grew up in Detroit and went to Notre Dame, and all my family went to Notre Dame,” he joked. “I grew up despising everything to do with the University of Michigan. And I’m so mad that now I have to love some piece of that university. But I think I’ll get over it.”

College of Computing Professor Emeritus Jim Foley, a Michigan graduate, said he was happy that his colleagues could bring their “great spirits” to his alma mater.


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