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World’s largest computing society honors FIU engineering professor with top education award

World’s largest computing society honors FIU engineering professor with top education award

May 4, 2022 at 1:12pm

Mark Allen Weiss, an associate dean of the College of Engineering and Computing and distinguished professor of computer science at FIU, is being honored with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for advancing the art and science of computer science education. ACM is the world’s largest computing society.

The award is presented annually to an outstanding educator who is appointed to a recognized educational baccalaureate institution; recognized for advancing new teaching methodologies or effecting new curriculum development or expansion in computer science and engineering; or for making a significant contribution to the educational mission of the ACM. The recognition comes with a prize of $10,000, supplied by Pearson Education.

Weiss’s most significant contributions to the evolution of the data structures and programming curriculum have been through his textbooks, which have been used in numerous countries and published in multiple editions over three decades (from the 1990s to the 2010s). Per, he is one of the most widely adopted textbook authors in computer science.

“This is a tremendous honor, and I am very excited to be recognized for the work that I’ve been doing at FIU,” said Weiss. “Computers impact all aspects of our lives, so ensuring we continue to educate highly-skilled computer scientists is in turn ultimately ensuring a productive and prosperous future.”

Weiss has also led and contributed to important education projects. Beginning in the late 1990s, he was part of the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Development Committee, which designed the AP curriculum and wrote the AP exams taken by U.S. high school students. He chaired the committee for four years during the early 2000s, during the period in which the exam design was changing from C++ to Java, and the underlying curriculum was putting greater emphasis on object-oriented design and abstraction principles. He is also co-leading a project to help the US National Science Foundation set priorities for CS education research.

“Dr. Weiss exemplifies what it means to be a computer scientist and educator,” said John L. Volakis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “From his textbooks to his research and curriculum design, Weiss has positively impacted thousands of instructors and students around the world.”

Notably, he has also been a champion for increasing diversity in the computing field, especially through partnership programs with other universities in the state of Florida. These programs include pooling courses to improve access to relevant subject matter, providing support for especially challenging courses early in the computing curriculum, and increasing financial support for high-ability students with economic needs. As Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Florida International University, Weiss’s leadership in these kinds of programs has significantly increased the four and six-year graduation rates in his college.

Among his many honors, Weiss has received the ACM SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education, the IEEE-CS Taylor Booth Education Award, and the IEEE Sayle Education Achievement Award.