SICSA appoints new Director of Education

We are delighted to announce Dr Matthew Barr, University of Glasgow is joining us as the new Director of Education. Dr Barr (Matt) commenced in post this week taking over from Dr Mark Zarb, Robert Gordon University who stepped down following 2 years in the role.

Matt is well known to SICSA due to his active involvement within our Education Theme over the years and will join the Directorate with a great ongoing vision for the role. He has been involved with events focused on Graduate Apprenticeships and championing the urgency of gender balance in CS Education. Matt initiated and led the organisation of a SICSA supported workshop on Gender Imbalance in Computing Science Education in May 2020 which ultimately resulted in the creation of the Ada Scotland Festival.  He has also been involved in supporting his colleagues with other SICSA funded workshops over the years.

Matt has been teaching in Higher Education in some form since 2008, after leaving industry to work as a research systems developer at the University of Glasgow.  He has built an expansive network of contacts over the years with colleagues from Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Government/Scottish Funding Council as well as a range of industry partners.

When notified of his appointment to the role as SICSA Director of Education, Matt said “I am delighted to be able to serve as Director of Education for SICSA. It is my intention to use this opportunity to work on improving equality, diversity and inclusion in Computing Science education across Scotland’s universities. I also hope to be able to create mentorship opportunities for colleagues engaged in teaching CS, and help to share the excellent teaching practice that I know goes on across all of our institutions!”

Matt is succeeding in the role by Dr Mark Zarb who has been the SICSA Director of Education for the last two years.  The SICSA Directorate would like to extend a huge thank you to Mark for his amazing work with CS Education.  Amongst other areas of achievement within the role, Mark has created and strengthened the CS Education community, supported a vast range of education events, and initiated the Educations Champions who produced ongoing webinars on how to adapt to on-line teaching which were a great source of support to our SICSA colleagues throughout the pandemic.  Mark’s enthusiasm, positivity and zest for CS Education is admirable and we wish him well in his new role at RGU!

Recruiting a new Data Science Research Theme Co-Lead

SICSA Data Science Research Theme…. recruiting a new theme co-leader

 Applications are invited for any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution to co-lead the SICSA Data Science Research Theme.

 The role of the SICSA Theme Leaders is to coordinate activities within each of the defined SICSA themes and further develop coherent communities in these areas.

Research Theme leaders are taking on increasingly public facing roles on behalf of SICSA and are called upon to help shape and direct the theme but also to provide a face and national representation for their theme area.

Elements of Research Theme activities potentially have some emphasis on challenge-based research such as: Future Health and Wellbeing, Tackling the Climate emergency and the just transition to net zero, Developing the Blue Economy, Enhancing Cultural wellbeing and the creative economy, Transition to a Sustainable economy.   This provides an exciting opportunity for the new Research Theme Co-Lead to work alongside other disciplines and SICSA research themes to organise some cross-theme/discipline activities whilst maintaining core discipline activities

For more information on the role please refer to the Data Science Co-Theme Leader Job Descriptor.  If you would like to speak to the current Theme Leaders about the role please get in touch with Professor Mike Chantler (M.J.Chantler@hw.ac.uk) and/or Dr Yashar Moshfeghi yashar.moshfeghi@strath.ac.uk

More information on the role can be found on the role descriptor.

To apply, please complete the application form and send it to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by Friday 17th December 2021.

We are now recruiting for a new SICSA Director of Education

SICSA is now recruiting a new Director of Education

SICSA Education has a focus on enhancing collaboration across the core activities of Undergraduate and Postgraduate education provision in Scotland. The group represents common interests to government; employers; professional and practitioner organisations; and the wider education sectors. These include resourcing for University Computing programmes, secondary school qualifications, the transition from school to University, and graduate skills.

This role provides an excellent opportunity for the right candidate to not only shape the future direction of SICSA Education, but also the direction of the presently changing landscape in computing education as we emerge from the covid-19 pandemic.

It is expected that the candidate is seconded to this role for 0.2FTE (one day a week).

If you would like to speak informally about the role, please contact our current Director of Education, Dr Mark Zarb (m.zarb@rgu.ac.uk )

More information on the role can be found on the role descriptor

To apply, please complete the application form and send it to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by Friday 17th December 2021.

SICSA Conference 2020

We are delighted to announce that the SICSA Conference 2020 will take place, on-line on 1 October 2020 and will be under the theme SICSA and the Sustainable Society.

The conference this year will be co-located with ScotSoft, which is Scotland’s leading tech conference allowing our delegates to access elements of the event throughout the day.

For this year’s conference we have prepared a rich and varied schedule addressing the many challenges presented by the idea of a future Sustainable Society. We are delighted to have Dr Elizabeth F. Churchill (UX Director, Google) and Professor Sally A. Fincher (School of Computing Science, University of Kent) as our Keynote Speakers.

You will have the chance to hear about issues and challenges encountered in Computing Science Education, discussed at the Education Panel Session. Excellent exemplars of graduate research across SICSA will be presented from the shortlisted candidates for the SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation during at the PhD Lightning Talks session.

We have invited participation from our partner research pools across Scotland, allowing us to bring together a large community of people to discuss the Computing and interdisciplinary challenges ahead. The SICSA Research Themes will show case research that demonstrates cutting edge computing research and its potential to address the Sustainable Society Challenge.

We have inaugurated a new award for Best PhD Thesis in Scotland at the Conference this year and the winner will receive a prize of £2,000 generously sponsored by Amazon Development Scotland.

Given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic the Conference this year will be held online, allowing us to increase our audience and have invited speakers from far and wide. The Conference will be open to all members from across the SICSA institutions, industry partners and all SICSA key stakeholders

Visit the SICSA Conference 2020 website to find out more and register your interest to attend the event.

Now Recruiting for SICSA Research Theme Co-Leader in Human-Computer Interaction

Applications are invited for any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution to co-lead the SICSA Human-Computer Interaction Research Theme.

Role Purpose

SICSA is the Scottish Funding Council Research Pool in Informatics and Computer Science.  The goal of SICSA is to cohere the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science research communities to help increase critical mass and to enable cooperation in research, teaching and Knowledge Exchange.

The role of the SICSA Theme Leaders is to coordinate activities within each of the defined SICSA themes and further develop coherent communities in these areas.

Research Theme leaders are taking on increasingly public-facing roles on behalf of SICSA. For example, our AI theme leaders are part of the government strategy group developing a national AI strategy for Scotland. While another team leader is currently considering Co-chairing a large event with business here in Scotland on behalf of SICSA. Theme Leaders are called upon to help shape and direct the theme but also to provide a face and national representation for their theme area.

If you would like to speak to the current Theme Leaders about the role please get in touch with Martin Halvey and/or Mary Ellen Foster

Please see the full HCI Research Theme Co-Leader job description for more details of the role.

To apply, please download and complete the application form and send to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by 30 September 2020

EPSRC Diversity and Inclusion in ICT Study

by Professor Carron Shankland, University of Stirling
21 February 2017

We know that women are not well represented in our discipline. The 2016 Women in IT scorecard shows that while all girls get Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at an early age in school, the number of women drops throughout education to 36% at GCSE level, 26% at GCE level, and just 17% at degree level.  This 17% is maintained in industrial jobs, although there is wide variation within different specialisms. In academia we find a similar leaky pipeline: from 17% graduating at first degree level, we rise to 25% at postgraduate level, 22% at lecturer/senior lecturer level, and 12.5% at professorial level (HESA 2013/14 figures).

Clearly there’s a problem getting women into the subject in the first place, but why do many women, having trained in computing, not continue their career?  EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) are particularly interested in why research careers are not pursued by women, and other under-represented groups, in Computing/ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). If we assume women are equally able to do computing research (and why wouldn’t we?) then the implication is that there are barriers faced by under-represented groups. In which case, what are those barriers and how can we break them down?  It seems clear that for the health of our discipline we need to get better at retaining talented people.

These are among the questions being considered in a diversity and inclusion study commissioned by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/news/ictdiversityinclusionresearch/

The review is investigating what the barriers are, how they manifest themselves and what can be done to support underrepresented groups in ICT.  Some issues may cut across minority groups, whether those groups are identified by gender, race, sexuality, age, disability, religion, pregnancy and maternity, or married or partnership status. Therefore the study starts with an an inclusive online survey across the whole ICT research community.

We need to hear from everyone to get a full picture of our research environment (postgrad students to professors, and not only representatives of minority groups). We’re also interested to hear the experiences of those who have left academia: if you are still in touch with ex-colleagues please forward the survey to them.

Take the survey today – right now:   https://www.research.net/r/diversityICT

The survey will be open until 28 February and takes around 15 minutes to complete. Questions are around career aspirations and the support you get to pursue your career, your day-to-day environment, the effect of your life on your career, and so on.

Remember, we want to hear from everyone in this survey