SIGCSE Annual Report 2009

1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009
Submitted by: Barbara Boucher Owens, SIGCSE Chair

By-Laws Revision
The revised SIGCSE By-Laws have finally been approved by all levels of ACM and are now in place! Many thanks are due to past and present SIGCSE boards for their tireless work in this process.

Historically, SIGCSE has had a very loyal membership. Recent initiatives to attract more members seem to be connecting well with many in the computing community. At the end of the 2008 fiscal year (the last year for which we have complete data), SIGCSE has 2671 members, an increase of 85 members over last year, with strong gains in both professional and affiliate members, against a 50 member decrease in the subscriber-only category. 54% of the one-year members have renewed, but 84% of those who had been members for at least 2 years have renewed, showing a loyal membership. However, we are not resting on our laurels. The membership committee of the Board is looking at ways to (1) increase membership, (2) improve communication with members, particularly new ones, and (3) improve publicity and visibility of SIGCSE.

Each year, SIGCSE gives awards to those who have been particularly helpful to the computer-science-education community. SIGCSE gave two awards this year, both officially at the Technical Symposium which was in March, 2009. Elliot Koffman, Temple University received the Outstanding Contribution award and gave the opening keynote address. The SIGCSE Award for Lifetime Service was presented to Michael Clancy of the University of California at Berkeley who addressed partakers of the first-timers luncheon.

Conference Highlights
In 2008-2009, SIGCSE sponsored three main conferences: the Technical Symposium, the summer (Northern Hemisphere) ITiCSE conference and the September/October research conference known as the ICER workshop. The SIGCSE Technical Symposium and the Digital Library revenues continue to generate additional revenue to support our many endeavors.

Our homegrown online submission and reviewing system for the technical symposia has streamlined the process and allowed reviewing to involve all interested SIGCSE members. Most papers for the Symposium and ITiCSE are now sent to six reviewers, giving significant input to program committees, and both submitters and reviewers can view the reviews of their papers after acceptance decisions are made. With over 1000 reviewers in the SIGCSE conference databases, some variation among reviews can be expected, and conference leadership and the SIGCSE Board are exploring how to best utilize reviewers and promote consistency. This year for the Symposium, the program chairs instituted a meta-reviewing process which seemed to work quite well.

There is much work to be done in this arena, and the Board is considering more intensive revisions as well as the possibility of utilizing an outside software review system, such as EasyChair.

Technical Symposium
SIGCSE 2009 was remarkably successful, with very strong attendance and a healthy surplus to support other SIGCSE programs (without raising conference fees) in spite of a struggling world economy. This year’s Co-Chairs, Mark Guzdial (Georgia Tech) and Sue Fitzgerald (Metropolitan State University) were incredible. Mark utilized his extensive blogging skills to blog about the conference and issues surrounding computing education. Sue kept a tight eye on the budget and all the details surrounding a conference. Last year's Symposium co-chair Susan Rodger was particularly effective in her new role as vendor liaison. Our second annual Kids’ Camp at the Symposium blended a childcare service with efforts to engage the next generation with computing. Children attending the camp wrote programs in both Scratch, a new graphical, multimedia language from MIT as well as in Alice, a 3D animation software from CMU. This effort was a sell-out.

Special thanks are due the 2009 Program Committee, led by Program co-chairs Steve Wolfman and Gary Levandowski who will be chairs of the 2010 Technical Symposium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Additional keynote speakers at the conference were Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Craig Mundie, who excited the audience with the potential for development of new applications and Greg Abowd, Distinguished Professor, School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech who electrified the audience with his personal story of his research shift to aiding persons with disabilities.

ICER 2008
The International Computing Education Conference (ICER) originally began through the vision and guidance of Richard Anderson, Sally Fincher, and Mark Guzdial. New leadership began for ICER conferences starting in 2008 when ICER was held in Sydney, Australia. The number of papers submitted was double that in previous years and this conference also had two co-located events, the second 2008 doctoral consortium and the BRACElet research group workshop to study novice programmers. The former was held the day before ICER and the latter the two days following.

The 2009 conference will be held at UC Berkeley in August (trying an earlier date). Numbers of registrants were not available at this time, but it does seem that the number of participants in the doctoral consortium is down significantly. We will watch the planning of the 2010 conferences in Aarhus, Denmark, carefully and reflect upon the advisability of the co-location of the DC with ICER rather than the Symposium.

Other Conference Information and Issues
Behind the scenes, Bob Beck (Villanova University) and Scott Grissom (Grand Valley State University) have continued outstanding service as Symposium Site Coordinators; and Mats Daniels (Uppsala University) continues fine work as ITiCSE Site Coordinator -- with the help of Bruce Klein from Grand Valley State University. Michael Goldwebber will be joining the ITiCSE Site Coordination effort as an understudy for Bruce Klein.

SIGCSE's 2009 winter/summer conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education will take place 5-8 July in Paris. This conference's attendance is expected to exceed previous ITiCSE attendance. Patrick Brézillon is the conference chair and Jean-Marc Labat and Ingrid Russell are the program co-chairs.

Conference leadership has been procured through 2012, with the 2010 Symposium held in Milwaukee under the leadership of Steve Wolfman and Gary Levandowski, the 2011 Symposium will take place in Dallas under the leadership of Ellen Walker (Hiram College) and Tom Cortina (Carnegie Mellon), and the 2012 conference in Raleigh under the leadership of Laurie Smith King (Holy Cross) and Dave Musicant (Carleton College).

ITiCSE 2010 is set for Ankara, Turkey under the leadership of the seasoned SIGCSE leader John Impagliazzo and the ACM-W stalwart advocate Reyyan Ayfer. ITiCSE 2011 is set for Darmstadt, Germany under the leadership of ITiCSE regular Guido Roessling We have at least two proposals in various states of development for future ITiCSE events; so we expect all to go well.

One major concern the SIGCSE leadership holds is within the confines of a devastated economy. The SIGCSE leadership is working with our registration team and with ACM to procure pricing in the local currency for the non-US conferences and for curtailing expenses for all operations, where possible.

John Impagliazzo became Editor-in-Chief of the SIGCSE Bulletin in 1997. The consistent high quality of inroads led to the approval by the ACM Publications Board for SIGCSE to transition inroads to ACM magazine status and the unbundling of the conference proceedings from inroads beginning in 2010. Currently inroads is classified as a newsletter, but this in no way reflects the scholarly work that appears in it. John Impagliazzo and a Board-appointed committee are to be congratulated for this endeavor.

SIGCSE has also been hard at work establishing criteria for the nomination of its best papers for inclusion in the newly revamped CACM.

Additional Activities
Through the past seven years, the Board has sought to continue, regularize, and/or expand programs, as SIGCSE tries to support a full range of interests within the field of computing education. Our healthy surplus has allowed us to fund many important endeavors and our strong volunteer base has allowed for participation in many volunteer supported efforts. Details for many of these projects may be obtained at We present a few for information purposes

Outreach: SIGCSE has provided funds for presenters from SIGCSE conferences to lead similar sessions at regional conferences. Although few conferences have taken advantage of this offer, SIGCSE is still strongly committed to this.

Doctoral Consortium: Since 1998, SIGCSE has sponsored a Doctoral Consortium with three main goals:

"To offer a friendly forum for students to discuss their work and receive constructive feedback",

"To offer relevant information on issues important to doctoral candidates", and

"To nurture a community of researchers."

This annual event had been held the Wednesday before SIGCSE symposia and has continued to have SIGCSE financial support. Capable leadership came from Josh Tenenberg (University of Washington at Tacoma) and Donald Joyce (Unitec New Zealand) in 2008 and consortium will be led by Beth Simon(UC San Diego)in August of 2009.

Since the Doctoral Consortium focuses on research issues, we began holding the Doctoral Consortium in conjunction with the ICER conference. Then, beginning in September 2008 and subsequent years, the Doctoral Consortium may meet in conjunction with the ICER conferences. A major logic for this plan was to afford more easy access to students from outside the United States. We will be assessing the advisability of this move.

Workshop for Department Chairs: SIGCSE held its fourth annual Roundtable for Department Chairs at SIGCSE 2008, under the capable guidance of Sandra DeLoatch (Norfolk State University), Dianne Martin (George Washington University) and Joyce Currie Little (Towson University).

Workshop for New Teaching Faculty. The 2009 Symposium hosted for the first time a Board-supported activity for new teaching faculty, spearheaded by Dan Garcia and Julie Zelenski.

Special Projects: SIGCSE has funding available “to support members who wish to investigate and introduce new ideas in the learning and teaching of computing." Grants are possible up to $5,000 USD per proposal, and successful recipients are expected to present their results at a SIGCSE conference.

SIGCSE Committees: The SIGCSE Committee Initiative was created in 2001-2002 to encourage "all SIGCSE members to participate in substantive discussions on areas of community interest, with the goals of investigating topics in depth and culminating with substantive reports." Three committees are active –women in computing, research methods and faculty evaluation. The committee on discrete math completed its work, publishing its final report in inroads and a collection of teaching materials on the SIGCSE web site. The effectiveness of this structure will have on-going review by the Board.

Web Site/Internet Presence: Scott Grissom (Grand Valley State University) continues to monitor and update the SIGCSE Web site at Also, Frank Young (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) and William Turner (Wabash College) served ably as Information Directors, working to improve electronic communications between SIGCSE members. A concerted effort was begun this year to adopt the look-&-feel of the ACM web presence and utilize Plone to continue the update process. Samuel Mann of Otago Tech in New Zealand is championing this endeavor beginning with a course project with his students at Otago. Scott Grissom surpassed his usual fantastic job of keeping the website updated while the redesign effort is underway by smoothing the transition and design of the new website. SIGCSE was one of the SIGs who elected to have its past conference sites archived by ACM.

Local Chapters: Several groups have indicated an interest in organizing as local SIGCSE Chapters, and the Board has provided an appropriate framework. Although no new chapters were started in 2008, a North Africa site is under consideration.

Collaborative Efforts
Even with its expanded role in supporting computing education at all levels, SIGCSE also celebrates that various groups have emerged to focus on specific areas.

As SIGCSE Chair, I was pleased to have participated in the Rebooting Computing Workshop held in Mountain View, California in January. I was also an active participant in m June at the Future of Computing Workshop in Washington, DC led by Boots Cassel and Mark Guzdial.

Since ACM launched the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) in 2005 with a focus on K-12 computing education, SIGCSE and CSTA have worked to collaborate on areas of common interest. Chris Stephenson, the executive director of CSTA has been a regular visitor at the SIGCSE Board meetings and in June 2009, the SIGCSE Chair, Barbara Owens visited with the CSTA Board at their annual meeting.

In cooperation conferences and venues. SIGCSE has granted in-cooperation status to a variety of efforts. We have many in cooperation conferences including the Australasian Computing Education Conference, the New Zealand NACCQ Conference, the Scandinavian Koli Calling Conference, the South African Computing Lecturers Association Conference, the Game Development in Computer Science Education Conference, and all of the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges (CCSC) regional conferences.

Summary and Conclusion
As this review of activities and events indicates, SIGCSE is a vibrant and expanding organization due to the activities of hundreds of people. Many, many thanks to each and every SIGCSE member for your many contributions that make SIGCSE so successful.

Barbara Boucher Owens 2007-2010 SIGCSE Chair