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Karen Gil

Karen Gil (photo by Jackie Fritsch)

Frederick P. Brooks Jr. blazed trails as project manager for the revolutionary IBM System/360 family of computers and then as founding chair of Carolina’s computer science department in 1964.

Fifty years later, the Kenan Professor is still teaching and continuing his pioneering research. Fred’s work in virtual environments has helped biochemists solve the structure of complex molecules and enabled architects to “walk through” buildings still being designed.

In this issue, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNC computer science — only the second such department in the nation when it was created. We also mark the birth of applied physical sciences — the first new science department in the College of Arts and Sciences in 40 years. Faculty in the new interdisciplinary department are translating research into real-world applications with the power to change lives.

Throughout these pages, we highlight other ways that the College is leading the way in teaching, research, outreach and philanthropy.

Biologist and senior lecturer Kelly Hogan, for example, has received national media attention for her innovative teaching techniques. Her new study showing that active learning interventions in large science classes improve achievement for everyone — but especially black and first-generation students — was featured recently in The New York Times and elsewhere.

Transforming large lecture classes for undergraduate students is one of my priorities as dean, which is why I named Kelly the College’s new director of instructional innovation in July.

Elsewhere in the magazine you can read about a digital humanities project that is using the latest technologies to not only document a rich cultural tradition in Panama but to make the resources available to the community itself.

Many of these exciting initiatives would not be possible without the support of our alumni and friends. We are grateful for their investment in us.

I want to encourage you to explore the magazine Web site to experience our many Web and multimedia exclusives. If you liked our story on “Bluegrass Believers” and how UNC folklore students conducted oral histories that helped inform the new Earl Scruggs Center in Shelby, N.C., you won’t want to miss the video tour of the center that you’ll find there.

Our website and social media are convenient ways to stay in touch with Arts and Sciences news and events between issues. I hope you’ll visit often.



Published in the Fall 2014 issue | Letter from the Dean

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