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Dean's Update - February 2012


As many of you know, SPSU has been searching for a new CIO.  The search has now successfully concluded and Dr. Sam Conn will become SPSU’s new CIO in mid-March.  Dr. Conn is currently Vice President for Information Technology and Director of Online Learning at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville.  His other higher education experience includes serving as Director for the Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning at Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech) and as chair of the Computer Information System Department at Regis University in Denver.  He also has extensive experience in the corporate world, having worked with a wide range of organizations and clients, including include mortgage/real estate services, health care information systems, a Russian-American software development company, and the parent company of NASCAR.  Sam holds an A.A.S. degree in meteorological technology, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a master's degree in Computer Information Systems, and a Ph.D. in Information Systems.  Having been intimately involved in the search, I believe that Sam will make an excellent CIO for SPSU and I look forward to working with him.  I hope you will join me in welcoming him to his new position.


Just as the CIO search was successfully concluded, CSE successfully concluded its search for a new assistant lab manager.  It is with great pleasure that I can announce that Ron Sweatland started in this position earlier this month.  Ron graduated with a BS in Information Technology from SPSU in December 2011 and had been working as a student lab assistant for a few semesters.  He has therefore been able to hit the ground running.  I have no doubt that Ron will enable CSE to further improve its lab operations and the support it gives its students.


Through his work with the NSF/TCPP Parallel Computing Curriculum group, Dr Jon Preston has received a donation from NVIDIA for parallel graphics cards, including two Tesla 2070 cards and two GeForce GTX 480 cards with a total value of around $4800.   Jon will use these cards to better integrate parallel computing into courses as needed.  This obviously enhances CSE's and SPSU's status and provides external recognition to Jon’s work in the teaching of parallel computing.  Congratulations are of course due to Jon for this important donation.


As you know, we have been working for a few months on the new CSE Data Center.  The project was finally concluded and on February 17 the Data Center was officially opened.  After brief speeches by our President Dr Lisa Rossbacher, our Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr Zvi Szafran, Ron Skopitz from the Division of Information Technology, and the CSE lab manager, Greg Scott, the facility was officially opened by our former, recently retired, lab manager Ray Walker.  The opening was followed by a reception, which was sponsored by Howard Technology Systems, our partner in building the Data Center.  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all who worked so hard to make the Data Center and the official opening possible.  A special thanks to Howard Technology Systems for its sponsorship. 


As I reported in last month’s Dean’s Update, SPSU was the co-organizer of the Georgia site of the Global Game Jam, which was held at SCAD Atlanta from January 27-29.  The event, which was sponsored by Eyes Wide Game, Coca-Cola, Kaneva, Tripwire Interactive, Hi-Rez Studios, and Songster (Mowgli Games) attracted just over 200 jammers, surpassing the total we attracted last year, and making the Georgia site the largest in the US and the third largest in the world.  By all accounts, this was a successful event, not only because of the number of participants but also because of the quality of the games they produced.  Jon Preston and Jeff Chastine, as well as their counterpart at SCAD, Tony Tseng, deserve our congratulations.  Thanks are of course also due to the sponsors of the event.


On December 9, 2011, Dr CC Hung gave a keynote address at the ICACM 2011 conference at Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hydrabad, India.  The title of his address was “Computational Intelligence in Remote Sensing Image Analysis: Silicon-Based vs. Nature-Inspired Algorithms”.


Lisa McVey, a member of the CSE Dean’s Development Council, was recently awarded the POW! award by womenetics. The POW! award is awarded to women in Georgia who "have stirred the status quo and advanced their organizations, celebrating their excellence in leadership as a fresh standard for business and the community."  Lisa will formally receive the award on April 17 at the Georgia Aquarium.  Details about the award are available at  Lisa, of course, deserves our congratulations for this impressive achievement.


On February 25, SPSU hosted a regional high school Science Olympiad.  Thanks to the efforts of the Science Olympiad Executive Committee, Lance Crimm (Electrical Engineering), Stephanie McCartney (Chemistry) and Susan VandeVen of CSE’s Department of Information Technology, and 60 volunteers, 360 high school students competed in 23 events such as Tower Building, Experiment Design, and Robot Arm. Lance, Stephanie and Susan and Kelly Price of Forsyth County School are currently working on the next event, the middle school State Science Olympiad.  The middle school state science Olympiad will be on Saturday March 24 at SPSU and 360 preteens will compete in 23 events.  If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Susan VandeVen at