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Computer Science Professor is Named a Distinguished Educator

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Barbara Boucher Owens is one of six computer science educators selected for a nationwide honor

Recently retired computer science professor Barbara Boucher Owens has been named a Distinguished Educator by the Association for Computing Machinery, a 100,000-member professional computing organization. The award recognizes ACM members who have achieved significant accomplishments or have made a significant impact on the field of computing, computer science, and/or information technology.

Owens was one of six computer science educators nationwide selected to receive the award. The other recipients were Joel Adams of Calvin College, Wanda Dann of Carnegie Mellon University, Lillian (Boots) Cassel of Villanova University, Dan Garcia of the University of California, Berkeley, and Stephen Cooper of Stanford University.

Owens retired from Southwestern in 2012 after serving on the faculty since 1999. She taught at St. Edward’s University in Austin from 1988 to 1999.

From 2007 to 2010, Owens served as chair of the ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education, the primary professional society for computer science education. During this period, she started a project called the Computing Educators Oral History Project that was designed to collect oral histories of individuals with careers in computing education. Owens received a grant from the National Science Foundation to plan the project.

Owens also is a past president of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, and co-founder of its South Central Conference.

Throughout her career, Owens was particularly interested in trying to attract women to the field of computer science. For many years, her computer science classes at Southwestern served as a beta test site for a programming language called ALICE that was designed to attract middle school girls to computer science. She has served on the ACM’s Council on Women since 2006.

Owens holds a Ph.D. from New York University, an M.A. from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University.