Drs. Joanna McGrenere and Margo Seltzer have been appointed co-heads of the UBC Department of Computer Science for a five-year term, beginning September 1, 2023.
Dr. McGrenere, an award-winning expert in human-computer interaction, has served on committees at the department, faculty and university levels, including as Computer Science’s associate head of graduate affairs. Dr. Seltzer, The David Cheriton Family Chair in Computer Systems, served four years as associate dean of Computer Science and Engineering at Harvard University before joining UBC.
“Demand for UBC’s computer science educational offerings has increased tremendously, and data science research is having a profound impact across disciplines,” said Dr. Meigan Aronson, Dean of Science and professor with Physics and Astronomy and the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. “I’m delighted that colleagues with Joanna and Margo’s experience have taken on this important leadership role. I’d also like to extend my sincere thanks to both Ian Mitchell and Chen Greif for their service to the department over the last years.”
This year, UBC Computer Science oversaw 16,000 course registrations, and 2,700 undergraduates across its majors. The department is home to more than 60 faculty members, six Canada Research Chairs, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research chairs, and fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, Association for Computing Machinery and the Sloan Foundation. UBC computer scientists attracted almost $10 million in research funding in 2022.
Human-computer interaction is a broad, multi-disciplinary field, and Dr. McGrenere focusses on designing personalized user interfaces, groupware technologies, as well as on developing interactive systems for diverse user populations, including older adults and people with impairments. Abroad, she recently completed a five-year Inria and Université Paris-Saclay International Research Chair. At UBC, she has been a leader in the designing for people research cluster, an interdisciplinary meeting for scholars working in the area of human-computer interaction across campus. Dr. McGrenere’s research has been funded consistently through a variety of NSERC grant programs, as well as through private companies such as Microsoft, Meta, IBM, and Autodesk.
Dr. Seltzer’s research focuses broadly in the area of computer systems—systems for capturing and accessing data provenance, file systems, databases, transaction processing systems, systems for storing and analyzing graph-structured data, new architectures for parallelizing execution, interpretable machine learning, and systems that apply technology to problems in healthcare. She has published 141 peer-reviewed articles in high-quality journals and conference proceedings and her research program is currently funded by the $7 million Canada 150 Research Chair and a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery grant.
The Computer Science head search committee consisted of Dr. Meigan Aronson, Dr. Thomas Pasquier, Dr. Leonid Sigal, Dr. Raymond Ng, Dr. Elisa Baniassad, Dr. Philippe Tortell, director of finance and administration Jessica Wrinskelle, undergraduate student Shubh Bhalla, and graduate student Adam Geller.