George Mason University
School of Information Technology and Engineering
Outstanding Teacher Award 2002


Peter J. Denning

Peter Denning has been an outstanding educator and administrator to the School of IT&Engineering for the past decade. He chaired Computer Science Department from 1991-1997 and served as Associate Dean for Computing during this time.

In 1989 he published an ACM/IEEE report "Computing as a Discipline", a new framework for the computing field. It led to the 1991 ACM/IEEE Curriculum for Computer Science. He chaired the ACM Publications Board during 1992-1998, where he led the development of the ACM Digital Library. He has chaired the ACM Education Board since 1998, where he started the Curriculum 2001 project, which redefined the core curriculum and reached out to other fields. The project is now complete and has received worldwide recognition.

In 2000, he chaired a GMU faculty committee to create a model IT Curriculum that was supported by the University of the United Arab Emirates and has been adopted in their newly formed College of Information Technology.

Denning has received numerous awards, including the prestigious ACM Karlstrom Award for Outstanding Educator and the Outstanding Educator Award from ACM's Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education.

Denning taught several pilot sections of a design course (Sense 21) in 1993-1996. The course graduates formed an alumni group, Sense 21, and they continue to keep in touch through email. His operating systems students design and build a small, full functional operating system as a semester project. In the past five years, nearly 100 student teams have successfully completed their systems.

As an administrator and a teacher, Denning has always demonstrated a "student-centered" focus. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he has set an example for other faculty to emulate.