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Weems Receives IEEE Computer Society Education Award

Charles Weems
Charles Weems

Professor Charles Weems of the College of Information and Computer Sciences, UMass Amherst (CICS) has been selected by the IEEE Computer Society to receive the Taylor L. Booth Education Award for 2021.

The awards committee cited Weems, co-author of 28 textbooks who has taught computer science at UMass Amherst for 41 years, for his "outstanding contributions to computer science education worldwide spanning four decades, through numerous textbooks, and curriculum development efforts."

The recognition follows his receiving the 2018-2019 UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award, the most prestigious teaching award given by the university. In addition to his student-celebrated work in the classroom, Weems has worked with the computer science curriculum committee for over 25 years, leading it through major curriculum revisions.

"Chip's contributions to education, both on our campus and for the broader universe of computer science learners, are critical at a time when computing is an increasingly essential part of life and industry," says Laura Haas, dean of CICS. "His work on curricula ensures that students have the foundational knowledge they need to contribute and lead in their careers and in the modern economy."

In addition to his service at UMass Amherst, Weems helps lead the NSF-funded Center for Parallel and Distributed Computing Curriculum Development and Educational Resources (CDER), a project to develop pioneering teaching methods to transform computer science education. His work on the CDER curriculum was credited in the 2013 ACM computer science curriculum and has influenced the AP Computer Science Principles course.

Weems has served on the curriculum working group, and chaired the diversity and inclusion committee, for the IEEE Technical Committee on Parallel Processing, and chaired the IEEE International Parallel & Distributed Processing Symposium three times, greatly expanding its workshops. In 2002 he helped found a local Waldorf high school, creating and teaching a developmentally based four-year computer science curriculum, and has mentored other schools in implementing it.

Weems is the second faculty member of CICS to receive the Taylor L. Booth Education Award, given to individuals who have an outstanding record in computer science and engineering education, following the 2001 award to Distinguished University Professor Jim Kurose. 

Weems is a Senior Member of the IEEE, an ACM Distinguished Educator, and a member of the Computer Science Teachers Association. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science from Oregon State University in 1977 and 1979, and a doctorate in computer science from UMass Amherst in 1984.