Owen Astrachan, 2014

official pic

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Informal Bio

Owen Astrachan is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Computer Science and Professor of the Practice at Duke where he has taught in four decades and two millennia. In addition to teaching computer science, he builds curricula and approaches to teaching intended for broad adoption and adaptation. Prof. Astrachan received an NSF Career award for introducing design patterns into undergraduate courses, was an inaugural recipient of the NSF/CISE Distinguished Education Fellow Award for emphasizing problem-oriented approaches, and is the PI for the NSF/College Board CS Principles Project designed to create a broader, more accessible AP course in computer science. In 1995 he received Duke's Robert B. Cox Distinguished Teaching in Science Award, in 1998 he received the Outstanding Instructor Award while on sabbatical at the University of British Columbia, and in 2002 he received Duke's Richard K. Lublin award for "ability to engender genuine intellectual excitement, ability to engender curiosity, knowledge of field and ability to communicate that knowledge". He enjoys thinking, running, collaborating, and pushing limits gently.

Short Bio

Owen Astrachan is Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University and the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. He earned his AB degree with distinction in Mathematics from Dartmouth and MAT (Math), MS, and PhD (Computer Science) from Duke. He received an NSF CAREER award in 1997 to incorporate design patterns in undergraduate computer science curricula, an IBM Faculty Award in 2004 to support componentization in both software and curricula, and was one of two inaugural NSF CISE Distinguished Education Fellows in 2007 to revitalize computer science education using case- and problem-based learning. Since 2009 he has been the PI on the CS Principles project, a College Board/NSF project creating a new Advanced Placement course emphasizing the impact and creativity of Computer Science with a new course and exam starting in 2016. Professor Astrachan's research interests have been built on understanding how best to teach and learn about programming, software design, and computer science in general. Professor Astrachan received Duke's 1995 Robert B. Cox Distinguished Teaching in Science Award, an Outstanding Instructor Award while teaching on sabbatical at the University of British Columbia in 1998, and Duke's 2002 Richard K. Lublin award for "ability to engender genuine intellectual excitement, ability to engender curiosity, knowledge of field and ability to communicate that knowledge."

Longer Bio

Owen Astrachan is Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University and the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies. He received an AB degree in Mathematics with distinction and graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth in 1978, and MAT (Mathematics 1979), MS (Computer Science 1989), and PhD (Computer Science 1992) degrees from Duke. He received an NSF CAREER award in 1997 to incorporate design patterns in undergraduate computer science curricula, an IBM Faculty Award in 2004 to support componentization in both software and curricula, and was one of two inaugural NSF CISE Distinguished Education Fellows in 2007 charged with revitalizing computer science education using case- and problem-based learning. Professor Astrachan's research interests have been built on understanding how best to teach and learn about programming, software design, and computer science in general. Since 2009 he has been the PI on the CS Principles project, a College Board/NSF project creating a new Advanced Placement course emphasizing the impact and creativity of Computer Science with a new course and exam starting in 2016.

Professor Astrachan has published extensively in areas related to teaching and learning about programming including a well-regarded textbook on C++. For fifteen years he helped develop and oversaw the grading of the Advanced Placement Computer Science Exam --- and since 2009 he has been working on an NSF-sponsored, College Board initiative to create a new college/high school course CS Principles with a terrific group of educators. He was twice a world-finalist in the ACM programming contest, has coached a Duke team to the world finals in all but two years since 1994 (through 2012); he received the ACM contest coaches award in 2003. Professor Astrachan received Duke's 1995 Robert B. Cox Distingished Teaching in Science Award, an Outstanding Instructor Award while teaching on sabbatical at the University of British Columbia in 1998, and Duke's 2002 Richard K. Lublin award for "ability to engender genuine intellectual excitement, ability to engender curiosity, knowledge of field and ability to communicate that knowledge."

He is married to Laura Heyneman, and has two children: Ethan (fifteen in June 2014) and Adam (twelve in March, 2014). He has been ranked one of the top 30 milers in the United States in the 50-54 age group since 2006; and in the top-ten in the 55-59 age group since 2011.