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Making a Difference in Computing and Information Technology

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  • 05/15/2015 12:43 PM | B. Eugene Jones (Administrator)

    AAoC President’s Newsletter – May 2015

    Dear Arkansas Academy of Computing Members, 

    On behalf of the Executive Committee, I am pleased to provide our membership an update on the following:

    * Governor’s Task Force on Computer Science / Input Needed
    * Save the Date!  October 9th & 10th is our annual meeting in Little Rock
    * Call for Membership Nominees – Due June 15
    * UALR signs MOU with the Academy
    * Changes at U of A CSCE Department
    * The Academy Launches New Chapter for The University of Arkansas


    Governor’s Task Force on Computer Science / Input Needed

    In February, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law an act requiring all public High Schools in the state to offer a Computer Science class.  Along with this new law, the Governor formed a public/private Task Force to help execute on near-term priorities, as well as create a five year vision for how the state can leverage the Computer Science Initiative to have the greatest impact.

    Academy member James Hendren is the Task Force Chair and members include Gary Dowdy and Carl Frank.  Here’s proof the mission of the Academy as a statewide resource to make a difference in computing is working!

    Very important:  As your representative on the Task Force, I would greatly appreciate any input to maximize our contribution on this important initiative.

    Read more about the Law and Task Force:

    Act 1183 (Computer Science Law)

    Task Force Members Press Release


    Save the Date! 
    The Academy’s Annual Banquet and Business Meeting is set for October 9 and 10 in Little Rock


    Our annual banquet and business meeting has moved to the fall.  Please make note of our new meeting date and location.  On Friday, October 9 at 6:00 PM, we will have the Annual Banquet and New Member Induction at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.  On Saturday morning, October 10, we will have our Annual Business Meeting in the EIT College Building on the UALR campus.  A formal invitation and agenda will be mailed this summer.  Please save the date now.

     

    Call for Membership Nominees

    The nomination process for new membership into the Academy is now open. The nomination form is located on our website at http://araoc.org/members/nominate

    Please take some time to consider potential members in all corners of our state and help us to be more inclusive.

    Membership requirements are for persons who are:

    * born in or educated in Arkansas who have made a sustained and substantial contribution to computing, or

    * not born in or educated in Arkansas but who have made a sustained and substantial contribution to computing in Arkansas.

    The nomination process closes on June 15, 2015.  By the end of July, the Executive Committee will review nominees, rank and vote for the 2015 membership class.  Membership is normally limited to ten new members in a given year.  Membership decisions will be communicated via the sponsoring member.

    Rex Eads is our Membership Chair and can be reached at rex.eads@comcast.net.

     

    UALR signs MOU with the Academy

    On February 20, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and the Academy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish and define a long-term relationship and division of responsibilities between UALR’s EIT Department and the Academy.  The intent of the MOU is for UALR to provide administrative and related support to the Academy, particularly around our annual event in Little Rock. 

    With the UALR EIT agreement and our strong relationship with the CSCE Department at the U of A, the Academy should have the support required to be a statewide resource.

    Please thank Don Hatfield and Collins Andrews for leading this effort.

     

    Changes at U of A CSCE Department

    In June, Dr. Susan Gauch steps down as Head of the Computer Science and Computer Engineering (CSCE) Department.  Susan joined the department in 2007.  Under her leadership, enrollment of CSCE students, undergraduate and graduate, has increased from 262 to 492 while maintaining about the same number of faculty.  That’s pretty impressive given the department’s budget constraints!

    Susan and her husband, John, are taking a yearlong sabbatical to teach in Barcelona, Spain.  In 2017, Susan will return to the U of A as a tenured professor in the CSCE Department. 

    In recognition of her support of the Academy, we presented Susan with a plaque.  You can see a picture Susan and her plaque at our website at www.araoc.org.  Thank you Susan and safe travels!

    Starting July 1, Dr. Xiaoqing “Frank” Liu will be the new Department Head of CSCE and will hold the Rodger S. Kline Leadership Chair.  Dr. Liu comes from the Missouri University of Science and Technology where he served as professor of computer science and associate chair for graduate studies and external affairs in the computer science department.   We look forward to working with Dr. Liu and hope you all will be able to meet him at our annual meeting.

     

    The Academy Launches New Chapter for The University of Arkansas

    On April 25, we officially launched The University of Arkansas Chapter of the Arkansas Academy of Computing.  The new chapter will focus on the past history, current activities, and future goals of the University of Arkansas’s CSCE department (Fayetteville only).  The chapter’s members will be drawn from our broader Academy membership – e.g. the chapter will be a subset of the Academy, not a separate entity.  In addition, the membership will consist mostly of CSCE graduates from the Fayetteville campus.

    The University of Arkansas Chapter of the Arkansas Academy of Computing inaugural class includes the following members:

    * Tracy Black
    * Charles Blackstock
    * Steve Brothers
    * Gary Dowdy
    * Kim Clower, Treasurer
    * Rex Eads, President
    * Lang Zimmerman
    * Dr. Robert Crisp (Academic Member)
    * Dr. Craig Thompson (Academic Member)
    * Rodger Kline (Honorary Member)
    * Charles Morgan (Honorary Member)

    The Chapter will meet annually during the Engineering Weekend at The U of A campus each spring.

    Thanks for making a difference in computing!

    Sincerely,

    Gary

    Gary Dowdy
    President
    Arkansas Academy of Computing

  • 03/03/2015 12:42 PM | B. Eugene Jones (Administrator)

    Presidents Newsletter – March 2015

    Dear Arkansas Academy of Computing Members,

    On behalf of the Executive Committee, I am pleased to provide our membership an update on the following:

    * Save the Date! October 9th & 10th is our annual meeting in Little Rock

    * Call for Membership Nominees

    * Computer Science Summit to be held on October 8th

    * New CSCE Chapter

    * Dues and Scholarships

     

    Save the Date!
    The Academy’s Annual Banquet and Business Meeting is set for October 9 and 10 in Little Rock

    Our annual banquet and business meeting has moved to the fall. Please make note of our new meeting date and location. On Friday evening, October 9, we will have the Annual Banquet and New Member Induction at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock. On Saturday morning, October 10, we will have our Annual Business Meeting in the EIT College Building on the UALR campus. A formal invitation and agenda will be mailed this summer. Please save the date now.

     

    Call for Membership Nominees

    The nomination process for new membership into the Academy is now open. The nomination form is located on our website at http://araoc.org/members/nominate.

    Please take some time to consider potential members in all corners of our state and help us to be more inclusive.

    Membership requirements are for persons who are:

    * born in or educated in Arkansas who have made a sustained and substantial contribution to computing, or

    * not born in or educated in Arkansas but who have made a sustained and substantial contribution to computing in Arkansas.

    The nomination process closes on May 31, 2015. During the months of June and July, the Executive Committee will review nominees, rank and vote for the 2015 membership class. Membership is normally limited to ten new members in a given year. Membership decisions will be communicated via the sponsoring member.  Rex Eads is our Membership Chair this year.

     

    Computer Science Summit to be held on October 8th

    In our continuing effort to “Make a Difference in Computing and Information Technology” for the State of Arkansas, the Academy supported and participated in the 2014 Computer Science Summit for High School and Collegiate teachers in our state. We view the annual meeting as an opportunity to leverage the prestige of the Academy’s membership to advance computer science education through all levels of K-12.

    In 2015, the Annual Computer Science Summit has been set for October 8th to coincide with our Annual Banquet and Business Meeting. The STEM Coalition and members from the Academy’s Executive Committee have already begun planning for this year’s summit. One key component of the summit is to ensure schools make the most of the recent bill signed by Governor Hutchinson requiring all public High Schools to teach Computer Science. http://araoc.org/hutchinson-signs-measure-expanding-computer-science-classes.

     

    CSCE Chapter

    The Arkansas Academy of Computing is forming a University of Arkansas Computer Science and Computer Engineering (CSCE) chapter.  This chapter will be focused on the past history, current activities, and future goals of the University of Arkansas’s CSCE department (Fayetteville only).  The chapter’s members will be drawn from our broader AAoC membership – e.g. the chapter will be a subset of the Academy, not a separate entity.

    Most, but not all, members of the new chapter will be CSCE alumni.  We hope that this chapter will provide an environment in which CSCE alumni and friends can share memories, reach out to current CSCE students, and build strong ties to all the CSCE faculty and staff.

    The inaugural chapter meeting is set for April 24 and 25 in Fayetteville as part of Engineering Week.

     

    Dues and Scholarships

    Thanks to your scholarship contributions in 2013, the Academy awarded fifty (50!) $500 scholarships to Computer Science students at the following schools this past fall: University of Arkansas Monticello, University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas Tech University, Southern Arkansas University (Magnolia), University of Arkansas (Walton College of Business & Computer Science Computer Engineering), University of Arkansas Little Rock, Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University and University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. Nice work!

    You can view profiles of most of the scholarship recipients on our website at http://araoc.org/2014-2015-scholarship-recipients.

    Our 2014 scholarship fundraiser ended a couple of months ago and achieved its target of $25,000. Allocation of these funds will begin with the start of the school year in August. Thanks goes to Tracy Black for leading this successful effort!

    From a dues perspective, we have collected $8500 covering the 2015 calendar year. Your dues helps fund our annual banquet, website, scholarships and STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) support/advocacy.

    The below people have paid their dues for this year. If your name is missing, you can still pay via our website at http://araoc.org/members/membership/.

    Dues paid for 2015:

    Mr. Jerry B. Adams
    Mr. and Mrs. Collins Andrews
    Ms. Cynthia J. Ashcraft
    Dr. Billy L. Ashmore
    Mrs. Tracy Black
    Mr. Jerome Blackburn
    Mr. Steven Brothers
    Mr. William K. Bruton
    Mr. George K. Burnett
    Mr. John G. Chamberlin
    Ms. Kim Clower
    Mr. and Mrs. Gary Dowdy
    Mr. Matt Dozier
    Mr. and Mrs. Rex Eads
    Mr. Carl V. Frank
    Mrs. Jennifer B. Glasgow
    Mr. John Haley
    Mr. and Mrs. Scott Hambuchen
    Mr. David W. Hardt
    Mr. Robert T. Harriell, Jr.
    Mr. and Mrs. Donald B. Hatfield
    Mr. Eugene Jones
    Mr. and Mrs. Drew P. Kelso
    Mr. Rodger S. Kline
    Mr. and Mrs. George Knight
    Mr. and Mrs. Joe M. McDoniel
    Mr. Randall D. Mott
    Mr. Gary A. Norcross
    Ms. Susan Norton
    Dr. Paula K. Norwood
    Ms. Kay Palmer
    Mr. and Mrs. Daniel F. Phillips
    Mr. Ron Robison
    Mr. Randy Salley
    Mr. Walter V. Smiley
    Mr. John Steuri
    Mrs. Alese J. Stroud
    Mr. John R. Talburt
    Dr. and Mrs. Craig W. Thompson
    Mr. Thomas B. Walker, Jr.
    Ms. Peggy Wilcox
    Mr. and Mrs. James T. Womble
    Mr. Kevin R. Zaffaroni

    If you have any questions about the dues or anything else in this newsletter, please feel free to contact me at 614.404.4358 or gdowdy@yahoo.com.

    Sincerely,

    Gary

    Gary Dowdy
    President
    Arkansas Academy of Computing

  • 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.

    Sincerely,

    Gary

    Gary Dowdy
    President
    Arkansas Academy of Computing

  • 04/18/2014 12:34 PM | B. Eugene Jones (Administrator)

    Dear Academy Members –

    The Annual Banquet and Business Meeting this year was, once again, exceptional. During the banquet we inducted seven people into the Academy. French Hill, CEO Delta Trust and Bank, gave a great presentation on the economy of Arkansas juxtaposed to our historical strengths and new opportunities as a more diverse state.

    The Business Meeting the following day included interesting and quite educational talks by Phil Mui, Chief Product & Technology Officer of Acxiom, Dr. Tingxin Yan, Asst. Professor CSCE in the College of Engineering at the U of A, and Randy Mott, Senior Vice President, Global Information Technology & Chief Information Officer of General Motors Company. In addition, Jerry Adams led a discussion on the University/Business research gap in our state with an impressive group of panelists – Dr. John English, Dean of the College of Engineering at U of A, Dr. Ranil Wickramasinghe, MAST Center, NSF/U of A Research Center and Dr. Cynthia Sides, Ignite Program at the Fulbright College, U of A.

    Dr. Craig Thompson’s Capstone Class presented their projects via their Capstone Posters just before our formal business meeting. If you had a chance to view these posters or talk with the students, I am sure you would have been amazed as to their intelligence and the fact that many of the projects could lead to viable business. It really was impressive. Thanks Craig!

    A very special thanks goes to Collins Andrews for leading the two-day event, as well as the CSCE staff for making it all come together (Susan Huskey, Cindy Pickney, George Holmes, Jamie Stafford and Jason Crawley). Nice job!

    Action Items:

    1. In March, several members of the Executive Committee and invited guests held a planning session as to the future of the Academy. You can read a summary of the discussion, key take-aways and the supporting information at http://araoc.org/2014-planning-session/. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

     

    1. During our planning session, we discussed the possibility of having our annual banquet and business meeting in central Arkansas. Please take this brief survey to help us gauge membership interest. Take the Survey Now.

    Please read:

    • Check out the photos from the 2014 Annual Banquet and Business Meeting by visiting http://araoc.org/2014-new-members/

     

    • Please congratulate our new members: Jerry Blackburn, Carl Frank, Eric Heil, Paula King Norwood and Alese Johnston Stroud. You can view their bios at http://araoc.org/tag/2014-inductee/. If you need an email address or phone, please contact Sue Huskey at srh@uark.edu

    Below is a complete listing of our 2014 inductees and the 2014-2015 Executive Committee.

    Sincerely,

    Gary

    Gary Dowdy
    President
    Arkansas Academy of Computing
    gdowdy@yahoo.com

     

    2014 Arkansas Academy of Computing Inductees:

    Danielle Bunton Berry *
    Jerry Blackburn
    Carl Frank
    Eric Heil
    Winford “Joe” Miller *
    Paula King Norwood
    Gary Speas
    Alese Johnston Stroud

    * Posthumous Award

     

    2014-2015 Arkansas Academy of Computing Executive Committee:

    Tracy Black
    John Chamberlin
    Kim Clower
    Gary Dowdy, President
    John Haley
    Scott Hambuchen
    Charlie McMurty
    Allison Nicholas
    Susan Norton

    Ex-officio Former Presidents

    Collins Andrews
    Don Hatfield
    George Knight
    Dan Phillips

    U of A, CSCE Staff

    Suan Gauch
    Susan Huskey
    Craig Thompson, Secretary/Treasurer

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