The Webb School of Engineering welcomed two new faculty members to the Computer Science Department, Dr. Jason Pittman & Dr. Lloyd Williams, and new Department Chairs, Dr. Will Suchan for Computer Science and Dr. Claire McCullough, PE for Electrical & Computer Engineering.
Dr. Jason Pittman teaches an introductory course to computer programming as well as courses in discrete structures and networking/network programming. Pittman also serves on HPU’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, as well as the Survey Research Center advisory committees. He intends to put a large effort into growing the computer science department through introducing rigorous cybersecurity coursework and a new cyber lab space. Pittman holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a secondary in biology from Malone College. He received his Master of Science in network security and Doctor of Science in information assurance from Capitol College.
Pittman’s areas of expertise are cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. His research interests include secure containment of artificial general intelligence, artificial immune systems in computing, and information privacy. He brings with him eight years of experience at other academic institutions as well as more than 15 years of industry experience. The majority of these years have been spent at tech focused startups as well as his own consulting firm, which he still manages, where he provides tailored integration and automation services. He recently published a book entitled, “Privacy Must End: Freeing Information for the Future of Mankind,” which explores a possible answer to the question of whether information privacy is good by drawing upon extensive expertise in technology, philosophy and information architecture. His interests include learning through the liberal arts as a foundation and exploring through conversation, as he invites his students to approach him with their ideas inside and outside of the classroom.
“In my estimation, students are universally interested in, and excited by, opportunity,” says Pittman. “Not only opportunity for well-paying work but also for opportunity to become something. I think the secret to impacting students positively is engaging them in a grand narrative, co-created and co-managed across the group. This narrative fundamentally is grounded in programming, discrete mathematics or network programming but becomes situated in how such technologies are instantiated in the world.”
Dr. Lloyd Williams teaches classes in algorithms, web design and online technologies. He wishes to bring robotics to campus and create a computer science maker lab that will enable students and faculty to creatively use the latest technology to solve problems and take innovative ideas from concept to reality. Williams received his Bachelor of Science in philosophy from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. in computer science from North Carolina State University.
Williams interests and expertise includes robotics as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, virtual reality and the latest technologies and hardware being used to create “The Internet of Things.” He is also interested in outreach aimed and bringing new and diverse populations into STEM fields. William’s previous work experience includes eight years at Shaw University where he served as department chair of computer science, a researcher and the program director for science and technology innovation. He also worked the summer of 2017 as a Faculty in Residence at Google’s Mountain View Headquarters. His accomplishments include founding the NSF funded Innovation Lab for exploring robotics, drones, virtual reality and wireless sensor networks and being awarded the “2017 STEM Educator of the Year” by the Research Triangle Park Foundation’s STEM in the Park Initiative.
“I try to work as much as possible with the some of the latest and coolest new technologies on the planet,” says Williams. “I find this interest is often widely shared by students, and incorporating the latest tech into my teaching can make learning lots of fun.”
Dr. Will Suchan teaches the Web Development and Introduction to Programming courses. His expertise is in information assurance, and he has published numerous papers on digital privacy, security and IT education.
“I was inspired to study information security years ago when my family’s electronic medical records were stolen,” he says. “In today’s world, rarely a day goes by without hearing about electronic crime, ransomware, threats to the power grid, denial-of-service attacks, and on and on and on. I look forward to preparing students to become IT professionals who can develop strategic solutions to these problems.”
Suchan joined the faculty after working in a staff position with HPU’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies for the past four years. Previously, he taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for 13 years as part of a 30-year career in the Army. He held the ranks of instructor, assistant professor and academy professor and served in the roles of course director, program director and deputy department head during that time. Within the Army, Suchan served in multiple locations with jobs in communications, personnel, operations, logistics and command. He has earned numerous military awards with the highest being the Legion of Merit. He has a bachelor’s degree from West Point, as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from Arizona State University.
Dr. Claire McCullough, PE teaches introductory courses in engineering design, as well as a course in computer-aided design. New courses are projected to be added in the spring. Her hope is to be heavily involved in the design of the curriculum and course structures, as well as the development of labs, facilities and accreditation of programs. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in engineering from Vanderbilt, she went on to receive her master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. McCullough is also a licensed professional engineer.
McCullough’s research interests include applications of pattern recognition, sensor data fusion, automatic target recognition, control using neural nets and fuzzy logic, engineering and computer ethics, under-representation in STEM fields and probabilistic risk assessments and reliability studies. Her previous work experience includes serving as a professor of computer and electrical engineering at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for 20 years as well as previous experience at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. She also acted as the department head in computer science and engineering for one academic semester. McCullough’s practical experience includes working as an electrical engineer for two years at the Tennessee Valley Authority and for seven years as a senior electronics engineer at the Advanced Technology Directorate of the Space and Missile Defense Command for the U.S. Army. She also has over 20 years’ experience working in accreditation for both electrical and computer engineering programs and has made accreditation visits across the globe.
“My goal is to make the new curriculum very dynamic and hands-on, beginning with a team design project the first semester of freshman year,” says McCullough. “Development of a first-class maker-space for student projects will, I believe, allow students to quickly see the excitement in engineering.”
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