Director (Head), School of Computer Science

2000 – 2003 and 2006 – 2008. Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Reporting to the Provost for all academic program development matters, and reporting for all financial and operational matters to the Dean of Science, I was responsible for: (i) an academic staff of more than 30 professors, five administrative staff, four technical support staff and over 100 teaching assistants; (ii) an undergraduate program with over 500 Computer Science majors; (iii) graduate programs with over 100 Master’s and over 50 PhD students; and (iv) the development and operation of more than 60 courses. The School of Computer Science (SCS) has its own graduate student admission office and also operates its own offices for graduate and undergraduate student counselling. These offices reported to me through the SCS Administrator. SCS is designed as an interdisciplinary school and has faculty status with its own SCS Faculty Board. The Director of Computer Science is a member of senior management (together with the Deans and Vice Presidents). This is to facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary programs with any other unit on campus.

During my first term as Director (2000-2003), I negotiated with senior management a major expansion of Computer Science, based on a strategic research and teaching plan. In addition to new tenure track faculty positions to match large enrolment increases, the university also agreed to a 25% teaching load reduction and a special salary increase for Computer Science faculty members. The goal was to be more competitive when hiring strong researchers in strategic areas of importance, and thereby strengthen the School's research program. The outcome was a significant measurable increase in research impact. For example, the 2009 Thomson Reuters Science Watch ranked SCS for the first time among the Top 5 in “Canadian Universities: Highest Impact in Computer Science” (together with UBC, U. Toronto, Western, and McGill). I also led the creation of new Computer Science programs in Bioinformatics and Information Systems Security. In addition, I built an IT re-training program to compete with private IT re-training organizations. This academic “business venture” provided better quality re-training for the students and raised additional funds for the university.

My second term as Director (2006-2008) was devoted to managing the impact of the “dot-com crisis”. Worldwide enrolments in Computer Science had decreased sharply, and the size of Carleton’s incoming first year Computer Science class had decreased by more than 60%. I was asked to serve a second term as Director because the School needed experienced leadership. Anecdotal and focus group data indicated that in addition to the dot-com jobs crisis, student perception of Computer Science had changed. Interest in core computer programming had decreased. However, we realized an increased interest in computer applications. Therefore, we re-organized and re-branded the entire program into five specialization streams (Computer Game Development, Network Computing, Information Systems Security, Software and Computing, Software Engineering) and four interdisciplinary streams (Biomedical Computing, Management & Business Systems, Law, Psychology). The result was impressive. While other universities (e.g. our local “competition”, the University of Ottawa) suffered further enrolment decreases in subsequent years, our enrolment fully recovered during 2007-2009. By 2011, our enrolment had grown beyond pre dot-com levels. We also observed a significant improvement in the quality (high school averages) of our applicants.