The department of computer science at Arkansas State University is making a leadership transition as a new academic year begins.
Dr. Hung-Chi Su, who has been serving as department chair, is stepping down after years of service and returning to full-time classroom responsibilities. Dr. Jake Qualls, assistant professor of bioinformatics, has agreed to become interim department chair effective Aug. 16.
“I want to express my gratitude to Dr. Su for providing leadership to the department as its chair and serving in that role with distinction,” said Dr. Abhijit Bhattacharyya, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, who announced the change to faculty. “I look forward to working with Dr. Qualls as the interim chair. Please join me in congratulating him and offering him the support that I know he will have as he takes up the position at this important time in the transition of departmental leadership.”
Bhattacharyya commended Su for his record of achievement and said he looked forward to the faculty’s support of Qualls in his new responsibilities while the department completes a national search for a permanent successor.
Qualls received his Ph.D. degree in bioinformatics from the joint graduate program of University of Arkansas at Little Rock and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in computer science, from ASU before working as a grid-systems engineer at Acxiom in Conway prior to returning to ASU as a faculty member.
He is associate director of the Center for No-Boundary Thinking (CNBT) as well as division lead for the CNBT Division of Advanced Data Science and Learning. Qualls was recently awarded an ABI grant to study artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for emergency room patient stratification, as well as a Faculty Research Awards Committee grant to investigate Covid-19 sentiments in social media.
Su joined the Computer Science Department in 2003 after receiving his Ph.D. in computer science at Oklahoma State University. Over the past eight years, he served as Interim chair, associate chair, then chair. During this time, the department has been continuously growing in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
In addition, Dr. Su also worked with the department faculty to add three emphases (cyber security, data science, high performance computing) to the master’s degree to increase enrollments. At the same time, the department also created a new program, Master of Science in Education in computer science, and four graduate certificates in new technology areas. Many students have joined and successfully completed these programs.