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Media Advisory 07-020

National Science Foundation to Announce First CISE Distinguished Education Fellows

Honor recognizes outstanding innovations in computing education; two recipients will receive NSF awards for community outreach

July 10, 2007

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On Friday, July 13, 2007, Jeanette Wing, assistant director for Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF), will present the recipients of the first CISE Distinguished Education Fellows. The two recipients will be on hand to discuss their efforts to improve the quality of undergraduate computing education in the United States.

What: Announcement of the CISE Distinguished Education Fellows (CDEF); discussion about improving undergraduate computing education

Who: Jeanette Wing, assistant director for Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at the National Science Foundation; two recipients of the fellowships, to be announced at the event

Where: National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230, Room 110

When: Friday, July 13, 2007, 10:00 a.m.

The United States is the world leader in computer science and engineering. But other nations are quickly catching up to our level of excellence, and U.S. enrollment in computer science programs has declined in recent years.

NSF has developed several initiatives to engage the next generation in computer science, including the CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education Program (CPATH) program. The fellowships are a component of the CPATH program and are meant to raise the profile of this endeavor and recognize some of the leaders in this area.


Computing has permeated and even transformed almost all aspects of our everyday lives. As computing becomes more important in all sectors of society, so does the preparation of a globally competitive U.S. workforce. Unfortunately, despite the deep and pervasive impact of computing and the creative efforts of individuals in a small number of institutions, undergraduate computing education today often looks much as it did several decades ago.

Through the CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education (CPATH) program, NSF's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) is challenging its partners--colleges, universities, businesses and other stakeholders committed to advancing the field of computing and its impact - to transform undergraduate computing education on a national scale, to meet the challenges and opportunities of a world where computing is essential to U.S. leadership and economic competitiveness across all sectors of society.

The CPATH vision is of a U.S. workforce with the computing competencies and skills imperative to the nation's health, security and prosperity in the 21st century. This workforce includes a cadre of computing professionals prepared to contribute to sustained U.S. leadership in computing in a wide range of application domains and career fields, and a broader professional workforce with knowledge and understanding of critical computing concepts, methodologies and techniques.

To achieve this vision, CISE is calling for colleges and universities to work together and with other stakeholders in undergraduate computing education. By developing partnerships with industry, professional societies and other types of organizations, academic institutions can create and implement new plans to revitalize undergraduate computing education in the United States.

Common challenges--such as fluctuating enrollments in traditional computer science programs, changes and trends in workforce demographics, the imperative to integrate fast-paced computing innovations into the curriculum, and the need to integrate computing concepts and methodologies into the undergraduate curriculum at large--must be identified, and goals and strategies developed to address them.

One particular component of CPATH, the CISE Distinguished Education Fellow (CDEF) awards, focuses on creating visible national leadership for revitalizing computing education. CDEF awards recognize accomplished, creative, and talented computing professionals who have the potential to serve as national leaders or spokespersons for change in undergraduate computing education. CDEF awards are made to individuals who have achieved distinction in the computing profession, who are committed to transforming undergraduate computing education, and who have innovative ideas on how to do so. CDEF recipients may spend significant time and effort on projects focused on innovative, original, and possibly untested ideas that will benefit undergraduate computing education on a national scale. In addition to conveying a vision for revitalizing education, CPATH CDEF recipients serve as ambassadors for change.


Media Contacts
Dana W. Cruikshank, NSF, (703) 292-7738, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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