UNL taps Stanford’s Stephen Cooper to lead Raikes School

UNL taps Stanford’s Stephen Cooper to lead Raikes School

Stephen C. Cooper

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has selected Stephen C. Cooper as the executive director of the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management.

Cooper is associate professor teaching in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University, with a courtesy appointment in the university’s School of Education. Cooper, along with Wanda Dann and the late Randy Pausch, helped to create Alice, a 3-D programming environment designed to be a student’s first exposure to object-oriented programming. Alice enables users to create animation for storytelling, interactive gaming or sharing video online. His textbook, “Learning to Program with Alice,” has been used by thousands of college students, and he has personally trained more than 1,000 teachers and professors how to teach programming.

He will start work at UNL in January, succeeding David Keck, who has served as the school’s director since 2001.

The Raikes School – in partnership with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the colleges of arts and sciences, business administration, engineering, architecture and journalism and mass communications – offers courses that teach students the foundations of computer science, management, and software engineering. The school’s project-oriented curriculum develops in its students a deep understanding of the complex models that drive each discipline and exposes them to design processes to bring a human-centered approach to analytical problem solving.

“To maintain the Raikes School’s high standards as it develops the next generation of technology-driven industry leaders, the school must have a director who not only possesses but understands the vital need to foster the skills that will be most necessary in the technology-related businesses of today and tomorrow – including computer science, management, communication and leadership,” Chancellor Harvey Perlman said. “To that end, Steve Cooper is a perfect fit to guide the Raikes School. His perspective, experience and approach will allow the school to continue its culture of hard work and excellence.”

Cooper, a 1988 graduate of Cornell University who earned a master’s degree and doctorate from Syracuse University, said he was honored to join the nationally recognized academic program.

“The momentum of the Raikes School is unprecedented in its history, and I am eager to bring my experience and expertise to continue and accelerate the school’s upward trajectory,” Cooper said. “I’m looking forward to working with many of the amazingly talented students at the university and in the state of Nebraska, helping them to succeed, and in sharing my enthusiasm for computing, technology, and innovation/entrepreneurship.”

Prior to his tenure at Stanford, Cooper was professor of STEM education and computer graphics technology at Purdue University. He also served as program director in the Division of Undergraduate Education in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation from 2007-2009.