Dr. Nell B. Dale, Senior Lecturer and member of the UT Department of Computer Sciences since 1975, received the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)'s prestigious Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for "changing the study of computer programming to focus on problem solving and software engineering principles, and away from language syntax."
Always an innovator and trailblazer, Nell received her Ph.D. in Computer Sciences at The University of Texas, being one of the first three Ph.D. candidates accepted in the department's Ph.D. program. She was originator and director of the Women in Science Program in the early '80s at the university and has been a mentor to students and colleagues throughout her career. Her research interests focus on computer science education as an academic discipline, having co-chaired five dissertations in the area. She has authored or co-authored 16 Computer Sciences textbooks, many in multiple editions. Although currently retired from full-time teaching, she continues to write and has two more textbooks due out in February 2002.
Nell has been active in the ACM's Special Interest Group (SIG) on Computer Science Education, serving as board member, vice-chair, and chair. In 1990 and 2000, she served as general chair and general co-chair respectively of the SIGCSE Technical Symposium. In 1996, she received the prestigious SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education, and gave the keynote address at the ACM/SIGCSE Technical Symposium in Philadelphia. This award, presented annually, recognizes distinguished contributions to the field of Computer Science education throughout a career. Edsger W. Dijkstra, UT Computer Sciences, is a past winner.
In discussing this year's Karlstrom award, John R. White, Executive Director and CEO of ACM, stated "Professor Dale has improved the lives of many women by retraining them for successful careers in Computer Science." The awards committee noted that her textbooks are now the standard models for Computer Science textbooks at universities and colleges nationwide. The committee also praised Nell for organizing courses and conferences throughout the world that have prepared and developed high school and post-secondary educators.
ACM will present the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award to Nell at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on April 27, 2002, at the University of Toronto's Hart House. The $5,000 prize is supplied by the Prentice-Hall Publishing Company. Nell is the first woman to receive the award.