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Two UMSI faculty honored as Distinguished Members of the Association for Computing Machinery

Thursday, 12/17/2020

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has recognized two members of the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) faculty as Distinguished Members for outstanding contributions to the field.

Associate Professor Kevyn Collins-Thompson and Assistant Professor Barbara Ericson join an incoming class of 64 inductees, selected by their peers for a range of accomplishments that move the computing field forward.

“The active participation of ACM members, in our organization, and in the field more broadly, is the foundation of a global scientific society,” explains ACM President Gabriele Kotsis. “With the Distinguished Member designation, ACM celebrates specific contributions of these members and their career growth as reflected in a long-term commitment to the field, as well as their collaboration with peers in supporting a global professional association for the benefit of all.”

Collins-Thompson joined the UMSI faculty in 2013, and shares a joint appointment with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering. His area of research is at the intersection of information retrieval, human-computer interaction (HCI) and machine learning. His primary research goal is to develop algorithms for improving information systems that can reliably and automatically adapt to users and their information needs, especially to help human learning. A key component of his work involves modeling and understanding users' information-seeking behavior and how people interact with information in different contexts.

Ericson joined the UMSI faculty in 2018, and shares a joint appointment with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering. Her research interests include computing education, learning analytics, artificial intelligence, and user experience. Her work to improve the quality and quantity of secondary computing teachers has become a national model for professional development. She helped lead the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) NSF Alliance, which has helped 16 states and Puerto Rico improve their computing education efforts and policies. She holds two patents for her work in case-based reasoning. Her recent work has focused on helping underrepresented high school students succeed in their Advanced Placement Computer Science courses.

The ACM Distinguished Member program recognizes up to 10 percent of ACM worldwide membership based on professional experience as well as significant achievements in the computing field. To be nominated, a candidate must have at least 15 years of professional experience in the computing field, five years of professional ACM membership in the last 10 years, and have achieved a significant level of accomplishment, or made a significant impact in the field of computing, computer science and/or information technology. In addition, it is expected that a Distinguished Member serve as a mentor and role model, guiding technical career development and contributing to the field beyond the norm.

- Jessica Webster, UMSI PR Specialist