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EIT Auckland Computer Science Educator awarded top honour

December 22, 2021

EIT Auckland’s Adjunct Associate Professor Alison Clear has been recognised as a Distinguished Member of the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM).

EIT Auckland’s Adjunct Associate Professor Alison Clear has been recognised as a Distinguished Member of the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society for her “outstanding contribution to the field”.

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named sixty-three longstanding members from around the world, who were selected by their peers for a range of accomplishments that advance computing as a science and a profession.

ACM President Gabriele Kotsis says the Distinguished Members programme is a way both to celebrate the trailblazing work of the organisation’s members, and to underscore how participation with a professional society enhances one’s career growth.

“Each year we are excited to recognise a new class of ACM Distinguished Members for their professional achievements, as well as their longstanding membership with ACM.”

Alison says she was surprised when she was told the news.

“It’s a huge honour. I am grateful to be recognised, but I will still carry on doing what I’ve been doing.”

Alison, who has worked on EIT’s Auckland Campus since 2014, became a member of ACM in the mid-nineties, having worked at a number of New Zealand tertiary institutes since the 1970s. Over the years, she has played an important role in computing curriculum development in a sector that has seen tremendous change.

“Computing has changed, and we have to keep up to date with not just the technical, but the contemporary educational theory as well. It means that we have to teach our students in a different way from what we did twenty or thirty years ago,” says Alison.

“The area of computing is so broad that we have to make sure that we are teaching them things they really need to know to become really good IT professionals.”

One of Alison’s many achievements has been leading a four-year international project, which resulted in a report on Computing Curriculum 2020 being published on the ACM website earlier this year.

Cherie Freeman, EIT Auckland Campus Director, says Alison deserves the recognition.

“Alison has done significant work in computing curriculum development over the years, and this shows the high regard in which she is held amongst her peers internationally.”

“EIT, and particularly the Auckland campus, are proud of Alison and the incredible work she has done in this important field of education,” says Cherie.

The 2021 ACM Distinguished Members work at leading universities, corporations and research institutions in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, India, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. ACM Distinguished Members are selected for their contributions in three separate categories: educational, engineering, and scientific.

This year’s class of Distinguished Members made advancements in areas including bioinformatics, computer architecture, computer graphics, data science, human-computer interaction, networking and distributed systems, semantic web research, security, and software engineering, among many other areas.