As the new chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Dr. Barrett Bryant brings a distinguished record of teaching and service, including advising 14 Ph.D. and 36 M.S. students and publishing more than 130 refereed articles in books, journals, and conferences.
He joins UNT as the department celebrates its 40th anniversary. “It’s an exciting time for us in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering,” Bryant said. The anniversary “gives us an opportunity to do something to publicize the department.”
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering was founded as the Department of Computing Sciences in 1971. When the department moved to the newly formed College of Engineering in 2002, the name was changed to what it is today.
The department, which already had a 40th Anniversary Celebration Picnic (see photos here and here), plans to celebrate the milestone this year and next year with a number of special events. Bryant said that the plans include at least one plenary speaker or a distinguished speaker series, as well as alumni activities. “Hopefully, it will give a lot of visibility to our department and we’ll be able to reach out and have some contacts with alumni we haven’t had contacts with in recent times.”
Bryant comes to UNT from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he served as associate chair of Computer and Information Sciences since 1996 and as the undergraduate program director since 1998. He was an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Lecturer from 1993-2006 and twice was awarded "Distinguished Lecturer of the Year." Additionally, he has received the Special Interest Group on Applied Computing (SIGAPP) Outstanding Service Award, the Award for Distinguished Service to SAC (Symposium on Applied Computing) and two University-wide teaching awards. He also was PI or co-PI on research grants totaling more than $9.3 million.
Bryant said that he wanted to work at UNT because he “really liked the growth that is planned for UNT particularly in the College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.”
Bryant received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University in 1983 and 1980, respectively. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1979. His research interests are programming languages and compiler design, component-based software engineering, and formal methods in software engineering. He has taught at all levels, including middle school camps.
While UNT already has Robocamp to interest middle and high school students in computer science, Bryant also said one idea being discussed is the launch of a North Texas High School Programming Contest, which would help raise the awareness of the department’s offerings to area students. Other initiatives the department is considering are programs to enhance the educational environment for graduate and undergraduate students. “We want them to feel like this department is their home,” he said.
These plans include providing encouragement to student organizations in computer science and scholarships for undergraduate students. For the graduate students, the department is working on improving the way that the teaching assistants and the teaching fellows are managed, as well as striving to make the grader position a much more attractive position for recruiting and retaining graduate students. “At the same time, we feel that is a good support for the undergraduate students who are taking those classes,” Bryant said.
Bryant also is working to establish a study abroad program in China primarily for undergraduate students. The program would “give students a chance to interact with professors at one of the leading engineering universities in China, as well as give them a chance to see the local IT scene there in Beijing and how the companies work from both a technical and business point of view,” he said.
The program is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students to:
* Provide exposure to the information technology sector in China, both with respect to technical management and business model
* Understand cultural factors in the Chinese information technology industry
* Tour companies developing software for the local and international markets
* Experience the environment at Tsinghua University, an internationally renowned university for engineering in China
* Attend lectures on software engineering for cloud computing, requirements engineering for global/local markets, and service-oriented software engineering
* Visit historical sites in and around Beijing, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City
The program is scheduled for Maymester 2012 (May 14-June 2).