When it came time for a technology upgrade last summer in the computer lab (Riley 203), computer science department chair Kevin Treu and his colleagues seized the opportunity to totally revamp the space. Prior to the remodel, computers, lined up like neat rows of crops, made the confines difficult for professors and students to move about and collaborate. Ditching the traditional classroom look and feel, Treu, in concert with folks from his own department, IT and facilities, transformed the lab by installing six clusters of three-person workstations armed with the latest in computing technology.
Treu says the updated configuration lends itself to better group dynamics and creativity. Increasingly, students have been bringing in their own laptops which gave Treu and crew a chance to pare down the number of computers from 25 to 14. By reducing the numbers, the remodel squad fashioned a more sustainable workspace, and funneled resources into better computers (complete with dual, high-definition monitors) and peripherals, more jacks for laptops, and roomier, modular workstations that, when fully equipped, look more like jet consoles than humdrum desks. Whiteboards hanging on every wall provide a convenient place for ideas, making the lab even more team-friendly.
While planning for the new digs began in May 2012, Treu say the actual redo was accomplished in a three-day window, just in time for fall semester– pretty amazing when you consider the lab had to be rewired, recarpeted, and outfitted with all new equipment. Treu credits a whole posse of folks with a job well done – Steve Long and Tim Hightower from facilities, Van Bennett in IT, and lab manager Ted Riley. Just how well did they do? “It has been unanimously praised,” says Treu. “We’ve invested in a better, collaborative learning environment, and we’re really excited about it.”
AUGUST 21, 2012
by John Roberts, Newspage Editor
Faculty appointments to one life-time and four limited-term endowed professorships were announced last week by John Beckford, vice president for academic affairs and dean.
“These outstanding professors were selected in recognition of their record of teaching, scholarship and service to Furman,” says Beckford. “And we are fortunate to have the support of generous donors who understand the value of a strong faculty and the resources needed to help in its development.”
Tom Allen was named Daniel Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, a life-time appointment. Allen joined the university in 1987 and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.
Jeff Petty and Eli Hesterman were named to the Henry Keith and Ellen Hard Townes Professorship in Science, two-year appointments. A professor of chemistry, Petty earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and joined the university in 1995. Hesterman, associate professor of biology, joined Furman in 2003 and earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Kathleen Player was named to the Robert E. Hughes Professorship in Business Administration, and Tami Blumenfield received the James B. Duke Professorship in Asian Studies. Both are three-year appointments. Player and Blumenfield are assistant professors, joined the university in 2012 and earned their Ph.D degrees from Clemson University and the University of Washington, respectively.
Gifts from donors and foundations support 24 endowed life-time professorships and eight rotating (limited term) professorships at Furman.
When Kevin Treu isn’t serving as chairman of the computer science department at Furman, he could be acting, directing or even writing a play for local theater companies. But then again, he might be coaching a youth swim team. “Theater is my creative outlet. Coaching is my athletic outlet. And obviously Furman is my academic outlet,” Treu says.
Read the article in The Greenville News
MAY 22, 2012
by Tina T. Underwood, Contributing Writer
GREENVILLE, S.C.—Furman University computer science professor Kenneth Abernethy has co-authored a new book that explores the fundamental concepts of information technology (IT) management in a business environment.
Picasso on a Schedule: the Art and Science of Managing IT is co-written with Stephen K. Wiggins, chief information officer at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
The book is designed for IT managers and decision makers, and offers ideas and concepts gleaned from a10-year collaboration between the authors. In the book, Wiggins and Abernethy draw from their experience creating professional development programs to support and enhance the Information Systems (I/S) Division of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
Abernethy is the Herman N. Hipp Professor of Computer Science at Furman and director of Furman’s Institute for the Management of Information Technology. He has authored or co-authored several textbooks and more than 60 professional articles in the field of computer science.
Wiggins is executive vice president and chief information officer of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, where he oversees all corporate systems strategic planning, development, programming and enhancements.
Picasso on a Schedule is available online at Amazon.com and other channels. For more information about the book, contact Stephen K. Wiggins at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ken Abernethy at email@example.com.
Dr. Christopher Healy
In a New York Times story about graduate school and the likelihood of failing grades, Furman computer science professor Christopher Healy offered his expertise on the matter. Healy, who researches and compiles grade distributions, said “about 75 percent of grades in master’s programs are A’s, 22 percent are B’s and 3 percent are C’s. Less than 1 percent are D’s or F’s.”
Read the article
In an technological era when everything from daily communication to shopping, networking and banking is done online, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of passwords that are required. Furman computer science professor Tom Allen was quoted in a Greenville News story about how to create secure passwords, even ones that a hacker couldn’t crack in 400,000 years.
Read The Greenville News article
A study about grade inflation in higher education, co-authored by Furman computer science professor Christopher Healy and retired Duke University professor Stuart Rojstaczer, was cited in various news outlets, including Inside Higher Ed, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.