By Ronald Hanaki
SC Staff Writer
On Wednesday, April 23, ESU’s computer science department elected Dr. Christine Hofmeister to become its new chair.
In so doing, Professor Hofmeister will be the first woman to chair the computer science department.
Professor Hofmeister said, “I’m pleased to take my turn and serve this term.”
She will begin her new three-year term as chair on Thursday, May 1.
Professor Hofmeister said, “The chair is a fairly transparent role. It’s a lot of hard work, but I will see aspects of the department that I haven’t seen before. I haven’t registered freshmen before, but I will be handling incoming student orientations and figuring out schedules for courses.”
According to Professor Hofmeister, the number of students enrolling in ESU’s computer science program is increasing. She expects that trend to continue because computer science is a high-demand field.
Professor Hofmeister can count Google co-founder Sergey Brin as one of her former students. In fact, a class picture of her with Brin adorns her office wall.
Before coming to ESU in 2007, she received her undergraduate mathematics degree from Bryn Mawr College. She then went on to get a master’s degree in computer science from Lehigh University and a doctorate in computer science from the University of Maryland.
Her doctoral dissertation was about dynamic reconfiguration of distributed systems.
This involves making changes to the source code of software dynamically while it is still executing.
Professor Hofmeister’s current research encompasses software architecture, component-based systems and web applications.
She has served as an expert witness in a legal case and an editor of an academic journal. She is especially involved with academic, peer-reviewed papers.
Having co-authored a book entitled “Applied Software Architecture,” Professor Hofmeister is an expert in software architecture and engineering.
In fact, she teaches the capstone software engineering course to computer science majors at ESU.
Yet Professor Hofmeister still spends much time teaching introductory computer science courses as well. These include introductory computer programming courses and a course on Microsoft Office.
Although many students come to ESU already knowing Microsoft Office, Professor Hofmeister finds that ESU’s “PCs and Their Uses” course touches on advanced concepts with Office that many students have not experienced.
When it comes to teaching computer programming, Professor Hofmeister believes that it is important to lower the barrier to entry.
She believes that students should not feel intimidated if they are sitting in class next to other students who may have more programming experience than them.
Professor Hofmeister believes that with enough time and dedication, computer programming is something that anyone can learn.
Therefore, Professor Hofmeister’s teaching style involves a lot of hands-on time with computers.
In her spare time, Professor Hofmeister enjoys playing the violin. She also likes to spend time with her family at her summer home up in the Catskills.
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