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April 2013

UPSILON PI EPSILON CHARTERING AND INITIAL INDUCTION

Thanks to the efforts of Jonathan Lartigue of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, SPSU has become the 14th chapter of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) honors society in Georgia. UPE (http://upe.acm.org) is the only international honors society for the computing and information disciplines.  The chapter was formally chartered on April 4th.  Both our president, Dr Lisa Rossbacher and our Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr Zvi Szafran spoke at the ceremony, which was also attended by UPE executive director, Dr Orlando Madrigal. Some 40 students were inducted. Given that we enroll around 1,600 students in computing, this is clearly a select group.

I wanted to express my deep appreciation to Professor Lartigue for making all of this happen, and congratulate all our inductees.


STUDENT AWARDS

On April 12th, SPSU held its annual student award banquet. This event, which is hosted by the Student Government Association, honors our many outstanding students. Approximately 100 students were recognized at this year's ceremony.

CSE recognized three outstanding graduate students, namely Yang Zhang (Computer Science), Olurotimi Opawole (Information Technology), and Deepak Chhabra (Software Engineering). 

We also recognized four outstanding undergraduate students:  Joshua Skelton (Computer Game Design and Development), Boshko Knezevic (Computer Science), Vito DeGennaro (Information Technology), and Koon (Steven) Ng (Software Engineering). Josh Skelton also received the Julian Joseph Award for Service for CSE.

Congratulations are, of course, due to all of the winners.


BERNAL AWARDED EMERITA STATUS

As many of you know, Professor Barbara Bernal took early retirement from SPSU at the end of last year, after many years of sterling service to CSE and SPSU. It is therefore fully deserved that Professor Bernal was awarded the title of Professor Emerita. The award of emeritus status is based on a recommendation of the faculty in the department with which the emeritus is associated, and I wanted to thank Dr Sheryl Duggins for taking the lead in this. And, of course, I also wanted to congratulate Professor Bernal on this well-deserved honor.


GRADUATION

On May 11th, SPSU will be holding its 106th commencement ceremony. Dr. Helmuth Ludwig, CEO of the North American Industry Sector of Siemens, will be the commencement speaker. We are expecting approximately 500 students to graduate, including almost 100 from CSE.  As has become customary, CSE will host a reception for its spring and summer graduating students and their family and friends. The reception is sponsored by Aventis Systems, Arkleton and Bravepoint.  I would like to express my appreciation to all three for making this event possible.


SERVICE LEARNING

On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 14 students from SPSU participated in a Service Learning Project at CFY in Atlanta. CFY (http://cfy.org) is a national organization which collects donated equipment and refurbishes it for the purposes of providing middle school students at participating schools with their own computers at home and the educational software necessary to keep pace with today's digital world. The students cleaned up peripherals and imaged drives of donated computers for students in the Gwinnett County school system. I wanted to thank the students involved and our adjunct faculty member, Dawn Tatum.


KANEVA HACKATHON

On March 28th and 29th, we hosted a Kaneva Hackathon. Kaneva (www.kaneva.com) is an online Game Development Platform. The objective of the Hackathon was to create so-called smart objects that allow non-programmers who want to build games on Kaneva assets whose behavior can be more easily modified. Kaneva also made significant cash prizes available.  Further details are at http://spsugames.blogspot.com/2013/04/kaneva-hack-thon-winners.html.

I would like to express my appreciation to Jon Preston, Jeff Chastine, and, of course, the Kaneva folks to making all of this possible, and to congratulate the first prize winners Jeremy LeBlanc and Josh Skelton (kaneva://The Legend Of Kaneva), the second prize winners Paul Bartlett, Jonathan Howard, Alex Sparrow, and James Tuxbury (kaneva://Piltover), and the third prize winner, James Neumeister (kaneva://Shig_Test).


GAME DEVELOPMENT AND CAREER FAIR

On April 18th, the Georgia Game Development Association held its first Spring College Fair and Portfolio Show at the Georgia International Convention Center. As the name implies, the event had two purposes, namely (a) to introduce high school students to careers in gaming, and (b) to allow students to demonstrate their portfolios of games.

Some 200 high school students from the Atlanta metro area attended the event, and Dr. Jeff Chastine gave two presentations to the students about our program in Computer Game Design and Development (CGDD).
We also had six current CGDD students present their portfolios and help Dr. Chastine in his recruitment efforts. They were Chris Iserman, Henry Moss, Nathan Murray, Jared Sanchez, D. Scott Williams, and Zach Schneider. Dr Chastine tells me that our students stood out with their ability to demonstrate polished working-games.

I wanted to thank all for their efforts to advertise our CGDD program, not just by talking about it but also by showcasing the type of work our students produce.


CSE DEAN'S BLOG

Thanks to the effort of Jack Zheng, I have finally bitten the bullet and started a blog. Initially, I intend to use the blog pretty much to keep you updated about developments in CSE, hence creating a more timely way of disseminating news to you than the monthly newsletter, which we will continue to publish. However, eventually I may start using the blog to share my thoughts on more general developments in higher education, and, of course, solicit your feedback. The blog is at http://cseatspsu.wordpress.com.

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