Message from the Dean

Dr. Harold Pardue

A place to be, a place to grow, and a place to begin your life’s work.

Welcome! The School of Computing is a special place. It is a place to be at home. I know because I have been a part of the School of Computing since I was a graduate student in the late 80s. I returned in 2000 to join the faculty because this is the place I want to be. And now I have the distinct privilege and honor to serve my school, our school, as interim Dean. My goal is to foster an environment where we all feel welcome and a part of the rich history and community that is the School of Computing.

As Socrates put it, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe this is so because without self-examination, it is impossible to grow. What initially drew me to computing was the realization that the practice and art of computing is inherently a philosophical endeavor. Through our algorithms and data structures, we model the world around us; we model our experiences. The only way to improve our models is to examine them, that is, to examine our own thought processes, our assumptions, and our biases. In other words, to grow. When our models are implemented in hardware and software, they change the world and the experiences of those in it. Examining our impact on others teaches us to be curious, imaginative, better listeners, trustworthy, and hopefully ethical. Again, to grow.

You will find the faculty and staff of the School of Computing enthusiastic, knowledgeable, approachable, and here for you. They will prepare you for a career. But more than that, if you will stretch a little and be open to opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and the pursuit of new knowledge, you may find what it is you really want to do, and that they can help you get started on that journey. They did it for me. I published my first academic paper with a professor at the School of Computing as a graduate student. His belief in me and mentorship set me on the path to what has been a very enjoyable and rewarding career in academics. I encourage you to find your professor and the starting point of your life’s work. You can do it!

Again, welcome and please join me in calling the School of Computing your home: a place to be, a place to grow, and a place to begin your life’s work.

Dr.  J. Harold Pardue
Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Interim Dean of School of Computing
University of South Alabama