Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Debra J. Richardson

Debra J. Richardson
Advisory Board
Professor of Informatics and Founding Dean, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California Irvine


Debra J. Richardson '78MS, '81PhD is professor of informatics and founding dean of the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) at the University of California-Irvine. She joined the UC Irvine faculty in 1987 and became ICS chair in July 2000. Under her leadership, the department was promoted to the only computing-focused school in the UC system in December 2002. She was instrumental in securing a significant endowment for the school, resulting in naming the school after philanthropist Donald Bren. She served as dean for ten years.

Dr. Richardson is committed to increasing the participation of women and other underrepresented minorities in computing and information technology. She has served on the leadership team of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) since its inception. NCWIT's overarching goal is parity in the professional IT workforce through education, dissemination, advocacy, and a national, multi-year implementation plan that generates tangible progress. She leads the NCWIT PaceSetter team at UCIrvine, which is focused on developing and evaluating best practices to increase the participation of women at the undergraduate level as well as throughout the academic pipeline.

Dr. Richardson also works on improving K-16 computer science education. Since 2005, she has chaired the Advisory Council for ACM's Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), which provides opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn. She also chairs the Alliance for California Computing Education for Students and Schools (ACCESS), which focuses on equitable access to computing education. Moreover, she chaired CSEdWeek during its second and third years and serves on ACM's Education Board and Education Council.

A leader in software engineering research, Dr. Richardson pioneered research in "specification-based testing," whereby formal specifications are employed to guide software testing. The work focused on enabling specification-based testing technology throughout the software lifecycle, from requirements and architecture analysis through operation and evolution. She recently shifted her attention to adapting software engineering techniques to socially relevant domains, specifically focusing on environmental sustainability. Her research has been recognized by designation as an Automated Software Engineering (ASE) Fellow, and also with two retrospective impact awards from ACM SIGSoft. She was recently appointed to CRA's Computing Community Consortium Council.

Richardson received her BA in Mathematics from the University of California San Diego in 1976 and her MS and PhD in computer and information science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1978 and 1981, respectively.