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Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012

IU informatics dean receives top honor for promoting diversity within computing community

July 24, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University School of Informatics Dean Bobby Schnabel has been awarded the A. Nico Habermann Award by the Computing Research Association for his outstanding work increasing the presence of underrepresented groups in the computing research community. The award is considering the premiere recognition for promoting diversity in the U.S. computing research community.

Robert B. Schnabel

Bobby Schnabel

Print-Quality Photo

Schnabel, along with Lucy Sanders and Telle Whitney, received the award July 23 for their joint efforts to establish and sustain the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a national resource dedicated to encouraging greater participation of women in the development of computing technology. Sanders is CEO of NCWIT and Whitney is CEO and president of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

Each was recognized as playing an essential role in NCWIT's creation and success, beginning in 2003 when Schnabel, Sanders and Whitney had a vision of creating a national center that would bring together institutions, organizations and individuals committed to the goal of increasing the participation of women and girls in information technology. They were recognized during the biennial Computing Research Association Conference at Snowbird Resort, Utah, an event that also recognized the association's 40th anniversary.

Stakeholders in NCWIT now span academia, industry, K-12 educators and entrepreneurs, and its impact on the computing research community has become especially evident in the activities of its Academic Alliance and Workforce Alliance. NCWIT's Academic Alliance, composed of nearly 200 colleges and universities, has focused on recruitment and retention of female undergraduate and graduate students, as well as making the overall climate within their departments more supportive of female students and female faculty. The Workforce Alliance, whose members include corporations with premier research labs, is dedicated to recruiting and advancing technical women in corporate research and development efforts.

Schnabel, who is also chairing a plenary session titled "A New Future for K-12 Computer Science Education: Why You Should Care" during the conference, is co-founder and executive team member of NCWIT. He also serves as chair of the Association for Computing Machinery Education Policy Committee and chair of the advisory committee for the Computing Alliance for Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and he was a co-founder of the Alliance for the Advancement of African-American Researchers in Computing. He served as founding director of the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society Institute at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the headquarters of NCWIT, from 1997 to 2007.

Computing Research Association is an association of more than 200 North American academic departments of computer science, computer engineering and related fields; laboratories and centers in industry, government and academia engaging in basic computing research; and affiliated professional societies. Its mission is to strengthen research and advanced education in the computing fields, expand opportunities for women and minorities, and improve public and policymaker understanding of the importance of computing and computing research in our society.

The A. Nico Habermann Award honors the late Dutch computer scientist who was head of the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. Habermann, also a co-founder of Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, was deeply committed to increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in computing research.

To speak with Schnabel or for more information, please contact Steve Chaplin, IU Communications, at 812-856-1896 or