University of Central Arkansas Interim President Tom Courtway announced Wednesday that Acxiom Corporation has pledged $200,000 over the next five years in support of the university's Department of Computer Science.
"Good things are happening at UCA," Courtway said. "People believe in our mission, our students, our faculty and staff. Individuals, foundations and corporations want to invest in our people, programs and projects and I'm pleased to make an announcement to that end today. We have a strong and long-running partnership with Acxiom, and today I'm excited to tell you about how they have decided to invest in us."
The company's gift will help underwrite the hiring of a new, tenure-track faculty member in the Computer Science Department. The department will conduct a national search this fall to hire an outstanding individual to fill the Acxiom Professorship in Computer Science. The successful candidate will begin working at UCA next fall.
“Acxiom wants the best and brightest workforce to fuel and lead our initiatives around the world,” said Scott Howe, Acxiom CEO and President. “UCA’s computer science program is top-notch and its graduates have been a substantial part of our success. We believe our investment in UCA will continue to pay off – not just for Acxiom, but also for world-class education – over the years to come.”
The UCA Computer Science Department has experienced tremendous growth this academic year with a 23 percent increase in enrollment over last fall.
“This growth has created positive challenges in terms of meeting the classroom instructional needs of our students,” said Dr. Steve Runge, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “The Department of Computer Science envisions itself as a leader in undergraduate computer science education in this region and we are building a national reputation for excellence in education and research. To continue on this positive trajectory requires that we recruit and retain the highest-quality faculty members.”
Earlier this year, UCA’s computer science students’ software design team placed third nationally in the 2011 Microsoft Imagine Cup competition; 100 percent of the manuscripts co-authored by 12 students and their faculty mentors were published by the 2011 International Conference on Bioinformatics (overall acceptance rate was less than 23 percent); and a paper authored by Victor Sheng, a UCA Computer Science faculty member, won the best paper award at the 2011 Industrial Conference of Data Mining, a very prestigious international conference.
UCA’s Computer Science Department also has been selected by the National Science Foundation as a host site for a Research Experience for Undergraduates program from 2011-2013. This program is the first of its kind in the computer science field for the state of Arkansas.
Past financial contributions from Acxiom starting in 2002 have been instrumental in helping the Department of Computer Science hire and retain seven high-quality tenure-track faculty members, recruit the highest-quality students and purchase equipment that serves both our teaching and research missions and objectives. Importantly, these contributions have also supported joint activities with Acxiom such as ALAR (Acxiom Laboratory for Applied Research) conferences, programming contests and IT Academy for high school students.
“When we are able to bring the finest faculty members to UCA, we are able to, in turn, recruit the most promising students. We sincerely thank Acxiom for being a strong partner and advocate for UCA and for our students,” Courtway said.
Acxiom is a registered copyright of Acxiom Corporation.