Leading computer science expert to teach at Willamette

by Ruth P. Feingold, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,

Willamette names Stanford Professor Emeritus Eric S. Roberts the 2020–21 Mark and Melody Teppola Presidential Distinguished Visiting Professor.

  • Professor Emeritus Eric S. Roberts speaks at podium
    Photo courtesy of Stanford University

The Willamette University College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Emeritus Eric S. Roberts as our 2020–21 Mark and Melody Teppola Presidential Distinguished Visiting Professor. Roberts is currently the Charles Simonyi Professor of Computer Science, emeritus, at Stanford University.

The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Roberts is one of the world’s leading experts in computer science education and is the only person in history to win all four of the awards given by professional societies for computer science education — most recently, the SIGCSE Award for Lifetime Service to Computer Science Education in 2018.

Throughout his career, Roberts has been effective in broadening the audience for computer science and increasing the diversity of those enrolling in computer science as majors and non-majors. A committed interdisciplinary scholar and educator, Roberts has extensive experience building bridges between computer science and other disciplines and is eager to continue this process at Willamette.

Over his 40-year teaching career, which includes founding Wellesley College's Department of Computer Science, Roberts has focused much of his attention on developing introductory courses that enable a broad range of students to master the foundations of programming. At Stanford, over 90 percent of undergraduates take at least one computer science course, and his two courses in the introductory sequence have a reputation of being among the best-taught classes at the university. Roberts was the principal architect of those courses from the time he joined the faculty in 1990 until his retirement in 2017.

This fall, Willamette undergraduates will have the opportunity to take "CS151: Introduction to Programming with Python" with Roberts and benefit from his years of experience.

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