Barbara G. Ryder, professor of computer science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will become the computer science department head at Virginia Tech, starting in fall 2008. She is the first woman to serve as a department head in the history of the nationally ranked College of Engineering.

“We are extremely pleased Dr. Ryder has accepted the position here at Virginia Tech. She emerged as the top candidate for this position out of a very strong pool, and we at Virginia Tech feel very fortunate to be able to recruit her to our campus. Our computer science department continues to gain in its stature, due to its pre-eminent work in high-end computing, computational biology and bioinformatics, software engineering, and human-computer interaction. Dr. Ryder’s experience will be a great asset to finding additional opportunities to increase the strength and breadth of its interdisciplinary research,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering.

Ryder received her Ph.D. degree in computer science at Rutgers in 1982. She previously worked in the 1970s at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. Ryder’s research focuses on static and dynamic program analyses to improve the software quality of industrial-strength object-oriented systems, for use in practical software tools.

“I am excited to join Virginia Tech as head of the Department of Computer Science and a member of the leadership team in the College of Engineering. The faculty in our department are young, vigorous, collegial, and accomplished. I look forward to working with them to strengthen excellence in research and teaching. In addition, increasing the diversity of students and faculty in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), is an important goal for the nation, Virginia Tech, and me personally,” said Ryder.

Ryder became a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the premier computer science professional society, in 1998. She was selected as a Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women’s Distinguished Professor in 2004 and received the association’s Special Interest Group on Programming Languages (SIGPLAN) Distinguished Service Award in 2001. She also was voted Professor of the Year for Excellence in Teaching by the Rutgers Computer Science Graduate Student Society in 2003, received a Leader in Diversity Award at Rutgers in 2006, and a Graduate Teaching Award from Rutgers Graduate School in 2007.

Ryder has been an active leader in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM Council Member 2000-2008; Chair, Federated Computing Research Conference 2003; Chair, ACM SIGPLAN 1995-1997). She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Computer Research Association (1998-2001). She is an editorial board member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Transactions on Software Engineering, and Software, Practice and Experience.

Ryder has also served on many program and conference committees, especially those sponsored by ACM SIGPLAN and the association’s Special Interest Group on Software Engineering. She has been a panelist in the CRA Workshops on Academic Careers for Women, and the New Software Engineering Faculty Symposia held at the International Conference on Software Engineering.

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