David Reed, PhD, has spent much of his life trying to crack the code of K-12 computer science education.
Over the past 25 years, Reed — Creighton professor and director of Computer Science and Informatics for the Department of Journalism, Media and Computing — has developed a singular expertise in the area.
He wrote a book, A Balanced Introduction to Computer Science, that’s been widely adopted by colleges and high schools across the country. He’s contributed to the AP Computer Science program for more than two decades. And up until recently, he served as chairman of the Computer Science Teachers Association.
Because of his leadership in the area, Reed was invited to attend the first National Computer Science Summit for State Leaders in Little Rock, Arkansas. Hosted by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the event brought together governors, legislators and educators for two days (June 9 and 10). The summit’s purpose: to find the right path forward for K-12 computer science education in America.
“We’re coming together to speak with all these policymakers about the state of where things are,” Reed says. “What are the best practices? What’s been working? What hasn’t?”
The summit itself is free to attend. But, of course, travel and hotel are not. Fortunately, there’s a fund for that.
The Susan and George Haddix Fund for the College of Arts and Sciences supports a variety of initiatives, including funds for faculty research and travel, as well as renovation, research grants and mentorship programs.
The fund was established in 2017 with a $10 million gift from the Creighton alumnus and his wife. It’s the largest gift to academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences’ history.
George Haddix, MA’66, PhD, taught math at the University before shifting to a career in business.
It’s opportunities such as Reed’s that the Haddix travel funds were designed for — a way to support and enhance Creighton faculty while extending the University’s reach in the wider world of academics. Such support ensures that faculty and staff have the requisite processing power to keep going out into the world and debugging its problems.
Computer science distinguishes itself from other areas in education both in its expense of resources and the rapidly evolving nature of its curriculum, Reed says.
Nationally, the push for K-12 computer science education is gaining traction. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Education has prioritized computer science and other STEM fields through grant funding. Certain states are doing better than others in computer science education, Reed says.
“Nebraska is on the right path,” he says. “There certainly is still work to be done. But we have people who are working on it and doing the right things.”
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