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Making a Difference in Computing and Information Technology

October 2014 President’s Letter

10/28/2014 12:40 PM | B. Eugene Jones (Administrator)

Dear Academy Members –

With the help of our Executive Committee, the Arkansas Academy of Computing has a number of important initiatives underway – all of which are aimed at making a difference in computing and information technology within our state. A couple of these efforts impact our Annual Meeting so please read below. In this update:

Making a Difference (Annual Banquet Moves to the Fall)
Computer Science Leadership Summit
AAoC Launches CSCE Chapter
Scholarship/Fundraiser Update
Annual Dues
Mid-America Science Museum
History Project

Making a Difference (Annual Banquet Moves to the Fall)

As you may recall, our core mission is to (a) recognize individuals for their computing contributions to the State of Arkansas by the requirements set forth in our bylaws and (b) utilize the Academy’s membership to influence and advocate computing education and jobs within our state. The later part of this mission has received a great deal of attention by a number of Academy members the last few months and might be better stated as, “how can we leverage the prestige and influence of our membership to make a difference in computer science education and jobs in Arkansas?” This dialog has yielded two decisions –

1) The Academy’s Annual Meeting will move from the spring to the fall beginning next year. Therefore our next Induction and Banquet Meeting will be in the fall of 2015. In addition, based on a survey of this membership earlier in the year, a significant majority of you asked to have our annual meeting in central Arkansas on a permanent or rotating basis to better serve our statewide interests. As such we are currently working on a venue in the September/October timeframe in the Little Rock area.

2) In addition, we would like to attach our traditional induction and banquet meeting with an event to promote computer science education (K-12) and jobs across our state. Our slice of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) has several groups working to advance computer science and we believe the Academy is in an excellent position to help this cause.

Hopefully we will be able to lock down the timing and location for our Fall event in the next month or so and will send out a “save the date” to the membership. As we have done in the past, we will do our best to add a golf outing and possibly some other activities.

Thanks in advance for your understanding of these changes and if you have any questions or concerns please call me or send me an email.


Computer Science Leadership Summit 

The Arkansas Computer Science Education Leadership Summit will take place on November 19, 2014, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the University of Central Arkansas in the Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center. The conference is designed for teachers, organizations and businesses within the state interested in improving computer science and information technology education.

Your Academy is a sponsor of this event and several of our members will be leading and participating in sessions throughout the day.

Click here to register for the event.

According to code.org (code.org/promote/ar), Arkansas has

  • 1,998 open computing jobs (growing at 3.6X the state average),
  • 525 computer science graduates,
  • 19 high schools that teach computer science,
  • One of 25 states that does not count Computer Science as a math or science credit, and
  • Lacks sufficient computer science teacher pathways

This summit is designed to foster collaboration among K-12 schools and with our colleges and universities. In addition, the goal is to work jointly on state policy positions to advance computing science education.


AAoC Launches CSCE Chapter

Created in 2006, the Arkansas Academy of Computing began within the University of Arkansas Computer Science and Computer Engineering Department in Fayetteville. Since its formation, our organization quickly expanded its charter to be a statewide resource. This change created the only Academy within the Engineering Department at Fayetteville with a focus beyond that of the school. To help fill this void, I am pleased to announce the Computer Science and Computer Engineering (CSCE) Chapter of the Arkansas Academy of Computing. The CSCE Chapter is a subset of our Academy membership whose goal is to support the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Computer Science and Computer Engineering Department.

Our new CSCE Chapter will engage with the other Academies during the spring Engineering Weekend as well as provide support and insight to the CSCE Department Head (Dr. Susan Gauch) throughout the year.

Currently, we have seven graduates of the CSCE program in Fayetteville among our existing Academy membership. These seven, Dr. Gauch and Dr. Craig Thompson will become the founding members of the new chapter. If you are interested in supporting the CSCE Department in addition to the Academy, please send Dr. Gauch (sgauch@uark.edu) a note. We welcome the help!


Scholarship/Fundraising Update

Our fall scholarship/fundraiser is in full gear. To date, we have raised just over $16,000 toward our goal of $25,000. If you have already made your donation, thank you! If you have not, please donate now at araoc.org/scholarships/scholarship-donations.

Your donations are tax deductible and if you contribute $500 or more you may designate the funds to a school of choice within our state. The above website will guide you through the process.

Many thanks to Tracy Black for leading the Scholarship Committee! Please help her by donating today!!!


Annual Dues

While I am hitting you up for money, we need your annual dues as well. The $200 academy fee is among the lowest of all the Academies and funds a portion of our annual banquet, several scholarships and general operating costs. We are all volunteers here so your dues will go a long way! You can pay at araoc.org/members/membership.


Mid-America Science Museum

If you visited the Hot Springs area in the last 35 years, you probably made a stop at the Mid-America Science Museum. And, if you went more than once during that time frame you probably noticed many of the exhibits, albeit pretty cool, were almost the same as your first visit. Well, that’s all changing… Thanks to a $7.8 million capital grant from the Donald W. Reynolds foundation, the Mid-America Science Museum is undergoing a major renovation – keeping some of its best exhibits and adding a lot of new exhibits. The construction is scheduled for completion in the spring with a grand re-opening slated for March 2015. You can learn more about the museum at midamericamuseum.org.


History Project

The Arkansas Academy of Computing has initiated a History Project to preserve many of the stories and artifacts of the founding of the computing business in Arkansas. Most of the true computing industry pioneers in Arkansas had no idea they would make a career and significant contributions in this new field and their stories are fascinating, informative, and inspirational.

The Academy’s intention with this project is to record the stories of these pioneers for posterity, where possible in their own words. We believe these stories may be valuable for research as well as passing on the knowledge of what really happened to future generations. The evolution of the computing industry is one of the most important business stories of the 20th century, and these early participants formed the Arkansas story into one of successful businesses, changes in education and lifestyle that impact all of our lives today.

The Academy is proud of the accomplishments of these Arkansas leaders and intends to make sure they are not only recognized, but their experiences and accomplishments are not forgotten!

The Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has agreed to archive all of these recordings and other computing artifacts we accumulate in perpetuity. In the interim, and as a service to our members and other interested parties, the videos are available on YouTube via our website at araoc.org/history.

Many thanks to Collins Andrews and John Chamberlin for their ongoing efforts on this important project!


It is with continued pride to represent our organization.



Gary Dowdy
Arkansas Academy of Computing

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