Professor of Computer Science & Chemistry; Director, CASAR Project, CASM Program, RAMS Scholars

Richard Kopec has served in a variety of roles at St. Edward’s University since joining the faculty in 1985. Initially appointed in the computer science department, Dr. Kopec served as Dean of the School of Natural Sciences for seven years, coordinator of the general education science course for eight years, and most recently has been teaching a course on the history and philosophy of science. Dr. Kopec has taken a leading role in initiatives to improve student retention and success in the natural sciences and mathematics, serving as director of the CASAR Project, an NSF-funded effort that established the first living-learning community for science and mathematics majors that includes an emphasis on early student research participation. He has worked to extend this project with another grant from the TG Public Benefit Program where he established the Science Learning Clusters. A third grant to provide STEM scholarships is pending at NSF.

Dr. Kopec has also served on the NSF Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP) Conference Advisory Board for two years, and was invited to participate in the STEP Leadership Development Workshop. Dr. Kopec has been awarded several grants that have been used to provide computing resources for the computer science department, and was instrumental in the creation of the computer science laboratory for computer science majors on campus.

In 1997, Dr. Kopec was awarded an NSF (Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaisons with Industry) GOALI Grant where he worked at IBM in the software testing area and operating system development. During this time he was instrumental in the testing and implementation of the AIX operating system, and ported a graphics card device driver from the previous version of the operating system to the newest one. He went on to create a software testing course for computer science majors.

He has mentored numerous computer science students on senior projects, and was the co-author of a computer literacy textbook, Web 101-3rd Edition. His main interests now focus on general education and general science education. In this context he served as the St. Edward’s team leader for the AAC&U Shared Futures: Global Education for a Global Century Summer Institute, where he was instrumental in guiding efforts to create a global learning inventory and several actions plans intended to improve the design and delivery of general education courses, with an emphasis on global learning, science literacy, and quantitative reasoning. Members of this group participated in the creation of the AAC&U VALUE Rubric on Global Education which is now available at the AAC&U web site.

Education

  • M.S. in Computer Science from Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, 1988.
  • Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1981.
  • B.S. in Chemsitry from Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 1975.