Valerie Barr honored by computing society

Valerie Barr was named a 2019 distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery for her outstanding contributions to the field.

By Keely Sexton

Valerie Barr, Jean E. Sammet Professor of Computer Science, was designated a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery for her outstanding educational contributions in computing.

Distinguished members are nominated by other members of the association for their accomplishments that “contributed to technologies that underpin how we live, work and play.” Barr’s nominator noted Barr’s creation of “diversified pathways into computing” and lauded her as a “champion of interdisciplinary integration.”

Barr has “shifted enrollments from typically male-dominated to nearly gender balanced [and] deployed integrative curricula that bring authentic computational education to non-majors and K-12 students,” wrote her nominator. “Her work has global impact and local resonance. She has meaningfully transformed computing education, changing the compositions of our student bodies and the demographics of our profession.”

Already much-honored in her field, Barr was delighted.

“I was thrilled to see that I was one of 10 members of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education who received this honor,” said Barr, who is also chair of the computer science department.

“I'm very pleased to be honored by ACM for my work in computer science education, which has been my primary focus for the last 15 years.”