Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) would like to recognize and thank four faculty members — David Augenblick, MS, Bruce Char, PhD, Susan Gasson, PhD, and Jeffrey Popyack, PhD — upon their retirement at the end academic years 2020-21 and 2021-22. In gratitude for their many years of service to the University, these retiring faculty members were honored at CCI’s June 7 Honors Ceremony at 3675 Market.
David Augenblick, associate teaching professor, is retiring after 37 years of service to Drexel University. He joined Drexel in 1984 as an adjunct instructor teaching computer science courses in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, which was later merged into the computer science department. Upon retiring from a successful industry career, he was recruited to join the department as a full-time teaching faculty member. “Since then, he has been an outstanding instructor and a valuable member of the department always willing to cheerfully help out,” said Isaac L. Auerbach Professor and Dean Yi Deng, PhD at the June 7 ceremony.
Bruce Char, professor emeritus, was recruited to join Drexel's former math & computer science department in 1990. Thanks to his expertise as one of the founders of the Maple Computer Algebra System, Drexel gained the reputation of being one of the leading institutions in symbolic and algebraic computation. More recently, Char’s focus was in computer science education, especially in developing and utilizing students’ mathematical knowledge and thinking. “Bruce retired last year but, you wouldn't know it, as he has remained active in the Department as emeritus continuing this line of research,” said Deng.
Susan Gasson, professor emerita, served Drexel for over 20 years before her retirement in 2021. She was an NSF CAREER award recipient and her contributions to the research literature ranged from theoretical to applied to methodological. She was an important anchor for our academic programs, particularly for students in the Master of Science in Information Systems, which she directed for several years. “She touched the lives of students across CCI through her excellent teaching and PhD advising and left our programs and our College stronger than she found them,” said Deng.
Jeffrey Popyack, professor emeritus, joined Drexel in in 1982 and was responsible for much of the design of CCI’s undergraduate computer science curriculum, and is responsible for the track structure of the BS in Computer Science. He was a longtime member of the computer science curriculum committee – serving continuously since 1982 and as chair from 2001-2012 and 2019-2022. Popyack was an early advocate in changing the way programming is taught through active learning and a flipped classroom. His work with the Upsilon Pi Epsilon (the international honor society for the computing and information disciplines), including serving multiple terms as international president, helped to recognize and inspire outstanding computer science students. Most recently, he led computer science K-12 education initiatives through REThink CS @ Drexel program and CS4All (funded grant to develop a researcher/practitioner partnership with the School District of Philadelphia to enhance their efforts to provide equatable computer science education at the secondary level in all school buildings). “With Jeff's retirement we will be losing an institution as much as an individual,” said Deng. “We will miss him dearly and hope that he will continue to be involved in CCI as an emeritus faculty.”