March 2020 – Updates from the Chair

I rarely write these updates far in advance, and that’s a good thing for this month! The changes in our professional and personal lives during this health crisis are monumental, unprecedented, and several other big vocabulary words.

Dan Herrick's Home Office
Dan Herrick’s Home Office

You all continue to inspire me, working hard to ensure your campuses are running smoothly while changing your own work environment. If you have not yet joined the Slack discussions in our workspace, I encourage you to Join our SIGUCCS Slack Team. We are sharing our successes and even a few laughs!

Continue reading March 2020 – Updates from the Chair

SIGUCCS Presentation Formats

SIGUCCS offers a number of different presentation formats. How do I know which format will best share my material with the community to suggest when I submit my proposal? SIGUCCS has an opportunity for everyone!

The most common option is the standard presentation. This is what you typically think of when you think of a conference presentation. Its pretty standard – at the conference, you have an hour long time slot in which to give your presentation and answer questions of your attendees. This is likely the best option if you’d like to tell the story of a project or experience from start to finish, covering the inception, planning, execution and results. It also is a format that excels at highlighting a particular process. This format involves writing a short (2-6 page) paper that outlines your presentation prior to the conference. The cool part is that this paper gets published in the ACM digital library. For information about the paper process, see this article.

If you have colleagues at other institutions that you partnered with to accomplish great work, or you have consulted while working on similar projects and many of you are planning to attend, suggest a panel presentation. This is a presentation format where each member of the panel would present their perspectives on a common topic and discuss similarities and differences in approaches. The audience benefits from multiple perspectives. This presentation type takes the variety of school sizes and types which make the SIGUCCS community so valuable and puts them on a stage together. Not sure how to find co-presenters? Use the SIGUCCS-L email list! If you are not a member, join today (http://www.siguccs.org/lists.shtml). A paper is optional for this type of presentation.   

If you have a great process to share and it can be an interactive session, submit a proposal for a facilitated discussion. This type of session allows you the flexibility to present for a few minutes before asking the attendees to get involved. You may ask attendees to work together, brainstorm solutions, etc. You become the moderator/facilitator of the session after introducing the topic. At the end, everyone comes away learning something. A paper is also optional for this type of presentation.

Don’t want to present to a large group? Submit a proposal for a poster. The poster session provides you an opportunity to discuss your topic/project one-on-one with other attendees. This format also involves writing a short (2-6 page) paper. For more information about the poster session and how beneficial this can be to you and your career, visit the Present a Poster article.

And what the heck is a lightning talk? This is a very short presentation – 7 minutes. Lightning talks are arranged around a common theme and generally cover a narrow portion of a topic, perhaps an anecdote about a particularly teachable support call, day or week. A reminder about the importance of MFA, a glimpse into how computer repair has changed with Apple’s adoption of soldering everything together or how to design a better process to reuse/recycle aging equipment are all great examples.  Writing a paper is optional for this type of presentation. Read more about lightning talks at this newsletter article.

While we understand the commitment that comes with writing a paper, this seems like a great opportunity to remind you that writing the paper also provides a great opportunity to collect your thoughts and start giving yourself some hard deadlines as you start preparing for the conference. Publishing your work also means you’re filling out your resume.

The Call for Proposals for SIGUCCS 2020 is open! This is your opportunity for presenting session talks, panel discussions, posters, and/or Lightning Talks during the conference. Submit by March 29, 2020

#SheIsWhyICode Women’s History Month – Evelyn Boyd Granville

Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924 – present)

Evelyn Granville Ph.D

Evelyn became only the second black woman to hold a PhD in Mathematics, graduating from Yale University in 1949. She was responsible for developing computer software that examined satellites for the Mercury space programs. She later conducted research on calculating orbits for the Computation and Data Reduction Center of Space Technology Laboratories and on the Apollo Project for NASA. She remains a strong advocate for women’s education in technology.

During Women’s History Month this March, ACM is encouraging computing professionals and students to use the hashtag #SheIsWhyICode to share stories of women in computing who have inspired them at any point in their career or education. The stories might range in topic from one’s earliest introduction to computer science to overcoming a recent professional obstacle, and the subjects could vary from luminaries of the computing field to someone’s high school computer science teacher or current boss.

Communication Award Winner – Golf Cart Pedagogy

As instructional technologists and IT professionals, we often look for unique ways to capture our communities’ attention, competing with their ever-overloaded inboxes. We never expected that this oddball idea born from a lack of sleep and a lengthy car ride could take us from the narrow campus walkways to the bright lights of New Orleans, LA. Golf Cart Pedagogy, our higher-ed take on the popular hit Car Pool Karaoke, engages our College community.

Golf Cart on Campus

The core idea isn’t anything new: record and share interviews. We needed something different. At the time, it seemed like the strangest, silliest thing imaginable: take guests about campus on a humble, often-seen golf cart; drive around at super-slow, laughable speed; and converse about pedagogy, technology, and often humanity. Since its launch in April 2019, the ride-along has become an episodic campus cult classic, inviting guests from all walks of college life to share their experiences in higher education.

As we continued to see its popularity grow on campus, we were looking for a way to share the idea on a grander scale. On the encouragement of a colleague, we entered the first episode of Golf Cart Pedagogy for a SIGUCCS Communication Award. Honestly, the thought of others seeing our work from around the country was very exciting, yet scary. With a deep breath and a high-five, we decided to submit our work to SIGUCCS for consideration.

Then word came: we won a communications award for long format video. Imbued with the newfound pride and acceptance of our oddity, we really leaned full tilt into the silliness. And a little secret for those of you that know, one of the perks to winning this award is that you are given a poster session slot at the annual meeting to promote your work. Insert maniacal laugh… Our plan work for worldwide media domination began.

Golf Cart on Campus

As with most things we do, we find the most non-traditional way of going about it and commit fully. We turned our poster into the inside of a golf cart, and our session into a chance to interview our extended community of IT professionals. We even turned our session into an episode!

Reflecting back on our experience with SIGUCCS, we are left with fond memories, new friendships, and a wider view of higher ed. The real strength of a conference like the SIGUCCS annual conference is in the conversations and connections with a welcoming community of fellow professionals. We’re all able to come together, let our hair down (figuratively for some of us), and really dive deep into our institutional successes and opportunities. Furthermore, being an award winner allowed us to show off our inner rockstars for at least a few hours. This award now hangs with pride in our office and serves as a reminder that creativity and silliness do have a place in IT.

Anthony Dalton and Thomas Sciarrino
Muhlenberg College

#SheIsWhyICode Women’s History Month – Jean Bartik

Jean Bartik (1924 – 2011)

jean bartik

Jean Bartik is credited with developing the technology known as “software”. She was a mathematics major who worked at the Aberdeen Proving Ground after graduation and was tasked with manually calculating ballistics trajectories. While working there, she was one of the first groups of women programmers (a total of six were selected) selected for ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). This group developed a program for calculating the firing of trajectories for artillery shells. She and Betty Holberton (https://siguccs.org/wp/celebrating-women-in-computing-frances-elizabeth-holberton-sheiswhyicode/) are credited with providing the first hugely successful demonstration of the ENIAC to the public and larger scientific community in 1946. Her major accomplishment however was converting the ENIAC into a stored computer program – software.

During Women’s History Month this March, ACM is encouraging computing professionals and students to use the hashtag #SheIsWhyICode to share stories of women in computing who have inspired them at any point in their career or education. The stories might range in topic from one’s earliest introduction to computer science to overcoming a recent professional obstacle, and the subjects could vary from luminaries of the computing field to someone’s high school computer science teacher or current boss.

#SheIsWhyICode Women’s History Month – Frances Allen

Frances E Allen (1932 – present)

Allen mg 2528-3750K-b.jpg

In 2006, Frances became the first woman to receive ACM’s Turing Award. She was also the first female IBM Fellow. She joined IBM in 1957 after working as a teacher and earning her master’s degree in mathematics. She planned to return to teaching once her student loans were paid off, but ended up staying with IBM for her entire 45 year career.  She is known for leading developments in the field of optimizing compilers. She is recognized for her accomplishments in development of compilers, parallelization and code optimization. She also played a role in intelligence work on programming languages as well as security codes for The National Security Agency (NSA).

For more information, visit https://amturing.acm.org/award_winners/allen_1012327.cfm

During Women’s History Month this March, ACM is encouraging computing professionals and students to use the hashtag #SheIsWhyICode to share stories of women in computing who have inspired them at any point in their career or education. The stories might range in topic from one’s earliest introduction to computer science to overcoming a recent professional obstacle, and the subjects could vary from luminaries of the computing field to someone’s high school computer science teacher or current boss.

#SheIsWhyICode Women’s History Month – Barbara Simons

Barbara Simons (1941 – present)

Barbara Simons at a lectern

The 2020 Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote”, and in this article, we celebrate Barbara Simons, a retired computer scientist who believes that paper is the only safe voting technology. She began her career at IBM in their research division and worked on compiler optimizer, algorithm analysis, and clock synchronization. After 17 years there, she became president of the Association for Computing Machinery. She served as president of ACM for 9 years and focused on policy associated with technology regulations. After leaving ACM, she began working on voting technology policy, specifically the dangers of unverified voting via technology.

Learn more: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/guardian-of-the-vote/544155/

During Women’s History Month this March, ACM is encouraging computing professionals and students to use the hashtag #SheIsWhyICode to share stories of women in computing who have inspired them at any point in their career or education. The stories might range in topic from one’s earliest introduction to computer science to overcoming a recent professional obstacle, and the subjects could vary from luminaries of the computing field to someone’s high school computer science teacher or current boss.

What to Expect When You’re Proposing (a Conference Session)

After attending my first SIGUCCS I realized I wanted more, and getting more from my next conference meant putting more in. I needed to present! I had only recently started in higher education computing support and had no idea what to present or how to get started. I felt that a poster was a reasonable start to my professional presentation career and picked a project I worked on with a colleague to be sure I had a support network while preparing the poster. 

Eric Handler, 2020 Conference Program Co-chair
Continue reading What to Expect When You’re Proposing (a Conference Session)