SUU Blog | T-Bird Nation

Faculty Friday; Meet Dr. Cecily Heiner, Computer Science

cecily-heiner-headshot.jpgDr. Cecily Heiner is an assistant professor of computer science at Southern Utah University. With research interests including intelligent tutoring, educational data mining, and computer science education, Heiner brings passion and expertise into her classrooms. She has trained students of all ages in computer science and has been involved with the SUU Center for STEM Teaching and Learning, leading the Tech Ambassadors program and launching the first ACM-W Chapter (Women in Computing club) at SUU.

She completed her undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Brigham Young University, her Master's degree in Computer Aided Language Learning at Carnegie Mellon University, and her PhD in Computer Science at the University of Utah. Upon completion of her studies, Heiner began teaching at DaVinci Academy. She then moved to Southern Utah University as an assistant professor in computer science in 2011.

Heiner teaches the following courses:

  • CSIS 1000: Introduction to Computer Applications
  • CSIS 1400: Fundamentals of Programming
  • CSIS 2810: Computer Organization and Design
  • CSIS 4550: Programming Languages

Heiner’s passion for education is evident in and out of the classroom. The computer science department has seen 20-40% growth in each class and has doubled graduation rates in the past five years.  Computer Science students work for both local companies and national companies and also attend top rated graduate schools.

cecily-heiner-robots-kids.jpgHeiner recently worked on a project recognized by the White House Computer Science for All Summit. Teaming up with North Elementary and BirdBrain Technologies, Heiner developed curriculum and evaluation for robotics and computer science courses at the elementary level.

“In our rural community it can often be hard for kids and families to see the relevance of math and programming,” said Heiner. “Our goal is to use the robots to make the abstract ideas more concrete and relevant.”

She was also a Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF sponsored project, the Utah Exploring Computer Science Initiative, where she trained more than 200 school high school teachers on how to teach computer science.

Overall, it’s her students who keep Heiner teaching. “I learn so much from them. It’s incredible to see their dreams to use technology to make the world a better place begin to materialize.”

Outside of school, Heiner immerses herself in diverse hobbies, including playing the organ, cooking, scuba diving, and travelling. She has travelled to all 50 states, more than 20 countries, and has checked off many of the places/activities on popular lists of things to do before you die.

Visit Dr. Cecily Heiner’s website for more information and her CV.