ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award
USA - 2021
Advancing the art and science of CS education through his textbooks, research, and curriculum design, which have affected thousands of instructors as well as students around the world
Mark Weiss's impact on Computer Science education worldwide, and as an educator, has been extraordinary. Weiss's significant contributions in the evolution of the data structures and programming curriculum has been through his books, which have been used in multiple countries and published in multiple editions over multiple decades from the 1990s to the 2010s. He was one of the first to include advanced topics such as splay trees and amortized analysis with detailed implementations that matched the theoretical results in programming textbooks. He was also one of the first to discuss C++ features and syntax in depth, predating STL with vector and string classes.
Weiss has led and contributed to important education projects. For many years beginning in the late 90s, he was part of the Advanced Placement (AP) CS Development Committee that designed the AP curriculum and wrote the AP exams taken by U.S. high school students. He chaired the committee for 4 years during the early 2000s, during the period when the exam design was changing from C++ to Java, and the underlying curriculum was putting greater emphasis on object-oriented design and abstraction principles. In some ways, this was a forerunner of the more recent significant movement toward a curriculum based fundamentally on CS principles rather than on a programming language.
Dr. Weiss has been a champion for improving student success and increasing diversity in the computing field, through partnership programs with other universities in the State of Florida. Among other features, the programs involve pooling courses to increase access to relevant subject matter, increased support for notoriously challenging courses early in the computing curriculum, and increased support for high-ability students with financial need. As Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at FIU, Mark's leadership in programs such as these have significantly increased the 4 and 6-year graduation rates at his institution.
Mark has provided outstanding service to the CS education community, promoting it in a variety of ways, through his work for SIGCSE and the IEEE Computer Society.
Weiss is true leader in computing education. His accomplishments to date have been both significant and varied. The accomplishments have been recognized by his professional local colleagues at the Florida International university (FIU) and through international colleagues awards such as ACM SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education, the IEEE-CS Taylor Booth Education Award, and the IEEE Sayle Education Achievement Award. They also have been recognized by NSF through their support of many programs, and his recent co-leadership of a project to help NSF set priorities for CS education research. Weiss's other achievements include being named an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Distinguished Educator.