College of Natural Sciences
Dr. Henri Casanova of Information and Computer Sciences teaches in a field that evolves at a pace that makes one year’s material incomplete the following year. Staying current is a very labor- intensive challenge but produces courses that are inherently connected to the real world and students who are empowered and active. To that end, Professor Casanova updates courses with contributions of students who are motivated to raise issues they encounter while studying or at their workplaces. His course materials contain multiple pathways for students to explore both traditional and cutting-edge research through interactive in-class programming exercises, code examples inserted throughout presentations, and carefully designed assignments for out-of- class problem solving. This involves writing computer code during class presentations with students problem- solving on the spot and making mistakes together that opens up the process of learning to solve mistakes and problems together. This is followed by re-writing code live together, generating a sense that the challenges in coding can also become fun. Former students describe his courses as challenging, relevant, effective and inspiring and credit his teaching with having impacted directly and positively on the path their careers have taken, providing a strong foundation for their current positions in the diverse fields of computer science. One student anticipating a future as a teacher wrote that they “aspire to teach classes like him one day.” Beyond the classroom, Dr. Casanova has impacted on teaching by developing the entire High Performance Computing (HPC) curriculum for the department. His co-authored textbook for the graduate course in this curriculum has been adopted nationally and internationally. A colleague with parallel research and teaching at another institution speaks of relying professionally on the intersection of exemplar pedagogical practice and high-quality research produced by Professor Henri Casanova.
Information and Computer Sciences Department