11 Jun 2018   |   Network News

World’s largest computing association appoints first woman CEO

ACM President Vicki L. Hanson takes top staff position

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, has named ACM President Vicki L. Hanson to the position of executive director and CEO effective July 1, 2018. As ACM’s most senior staff member, Hanson will work with ACM’s volunteer community to provide strategic vision and to develop sustainable business models to ensure ACM’s continued worldwide membership, publications and revenue growth.

“I am delighted that Vicki has accepted the role of ACM CEO,” said ACM President-elect Cherri M. Pancake. “Having served ACM for many years in various volunteer capacities, Vicki’s unique insights into the organization and how it serves the profession should serve us well to ensure a sustainable future for ACM. I’m glad that she will be in a position to expand the efforts she initiated as President in outreach to practitioners and young computing professionals. I look forward to collaborating with her on these issues and many more in the coming months.”

Hanson says of her new position, “I am deeply honored and humbled to serve as ACM’s CEO. I look forward to working with ACM’s incredible volunteers and excellent staff to make progress on the exciting opportunities and challenges facing the organization, including its evolution as a fully international society, one that addresses the needs and workstyles of a new generation of computing professionals, as well as the transformation of its publishing and access models.”

Hanson has a long history of service to the computing community, having served ACM as President (2016 – 2018), Vice President (2014 – 2016), ACM Secretary/Treasurer (2012 – 2014), and ACM SIG Governing Board Chair (2010 – 2012), among other positions. Hanson is a former Chair of ACM’s Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS), and with Andrew Sears, was co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS). She has been active in conference organizing and program committees for ASSETS, CHI, and several other ACM conferences.

Hanson's research is in the area of human-centered computing and draws heavily on computer science, applied psycholinguistics, and cognitive psychology. Her long-term aim is creating information technology that is easily used and useful to all, regardless of perceptual, motor, or cognitive abilities, with an emphasis on providing technology to those who through physical or cognitive impairment could either benefit from new applications (such as software using sign language to promote the reading skills of deaf children) or require that interfaces to existing applications adapt to their abilities. Hanson's work contains a strong multi-disciplinary component and has been done in collaboration with researchers, practitioners, and industry leaders at institutions around the world.

Hanson is an ACM Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow Chartered Information Technology Professional of the British Computer Society. She has received the ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award, the ACM SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computing and Accessibility, the Women of Vision ABIE Award for Social Impact, and the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

Hanson is currently Distinguished Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and Visiting Professor at the University of Dundee and Lancaster University. She formerly was a Research Staff Member at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, where she founded the Accessibility Research Group.

A graduate of the University of Colorado in Psychology and Speech Pathology and Audiology, Hanson earned her Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Oregon.

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