Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Dan Parker Honored with 2023 Outstanding Staff Achievement Award

Dan Parker
Dan Parker

Dan Parker, senior systems manager for the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (CIIR) in the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS), has been selected to receive the 2023 College Outstanding Staff Achievement Award, given annually to an individual or team in recognition of exemplary work ethic and significant contributions to their department while fostering a positive and successful environment.  

Nominating letters lauded Parker as an "exemplary employee" and an "invaluable resource for the college community," citing him for his efforts in managing and providing support for CIIR's clusters - groups of interconnected computers that work together to process and analyze large amounts of data research purposes. 

"When CICS merged its Gypsum GPU cluster with the Unity cluster... Dan stepped in to manage Unity initially to help CICS, but it wasn't long before he was handling support issues from across campus, keeping Unity and the research it supported humming along," says Professor James Allan. "Unity is a vastly improved resource because of Dan's involvement. He has helped all users of Unity and, in doing so, has helped many researchers throughout CICS." 

In addition to supporting computing and research in the college, nominators also praised Parker for his dedication to user support, describing him as "surprisingly cheerful" and "not just responsible, capable, and diligent, but relaxed, pleasant, and funny." 

"Dan is very approachable and makes a point to reach out to our students to let them know that he is here for them, not only for their computing needs but also for anything else that they might need help with or just to be a sounding board," says Jean Joyce, CIIR executive director. "Dan's positive attitude, friendly demeanor, integrity, collaborative nature, and overall thirst for knowledge make him an exemplary colleague people want to be around." 

"It's a pleasure working with so many smart, talented, and kind people," says Parker. "I am grateful to the CIIR for giving me the flexibility to work on so many interesting projects, the latest of which is the Unity cluster. The growth of CICS has been wild over the past 14 years, and I'm very glad to be a part of it!" 

Parker holds a bachelor's in computer information systems from Vermont State University Castleton. As the CIIR senior systems manager, Paker maintains computers ranging from personal laptops to high-end GPU clusters. He has worked in higher education since 2001. 

For more information about the award and a list of previous recipients, see: https://www.cics.umass.edu/awards-programs.