New chair of ECU's Department of Computer Science has big goals

After serving as interim chair, Dr. Qin Ding has been named the new chair of East Carolina University’s Department of Computer Science.

“My goals as the new department chair are working with our students and faculty to develop and implement strategies to support student success, faculty development and community engagement,” Ding said. “We want to help our students not only succeed academically, but also be better prepared for their future careers.

A love of math propelled Dr. Qin Ding to a career in computer science education.

“I enjoy the collaboration opportunities brought by my new role. I look forward to working with our students, faculty, college leadership team, industry advisory board, alumni and industry partners to fulfill our mission.”

Ding’s career started with a love for math in high school.

“One of my teachers encouraged me to consider computer science. I followed his advice and majored in computer science,” Ding said. “I loved the major, especially the problem-solving aspect of it. I loved how computer science can be applied in a lot of areas.”

She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science from Nanjing University. She obtained her doctorate in computer science from North Dakota State in 2002, and immediately began a teaching career.

“I love teaching because I love working with students,” Ding said.

She came to ECU and the College of Engineering and Technology in 2007.

“I chose ECU because ECU values student success,” she said. “It also provided great opportunities for collaboration.”

Her teaching at ECU has included subjects such as database management systems, data mining, and advanced data structures and data abstraction. Her research has covered databases, data mining and bioinformatics.

She received an ECU Scholar Teacher Award in 2013 and the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award in 2016.

Her advice to her students is simple.

“Work hard. Have confidence in yourself. Be able to work both individually and in the team setting,” Ding said. “Participate in student organizations. Seek internships early.”

The Department of Computer Science offers bachelor’s degree programs in computer science and software engineering and master’s programs in computer science, software engineering and data science. It includes six accelerated programs as well as a certificate in computer gaming. Ding said the focus of the department is to provide a student-centered learning environment.

“What makes our program so special is that we provide high-quality teaching integrated with hands-on active learning in many of our courses,” she said. “We update our curriculum regularly to better prepare our students for their future careers. Our graduates are very well received by employers.”

In her 29 years in education and 16 1/2 years at ECU, Ding knows her success did not come without help.

“I greatly appreciate the support from my colleagues and students,” she said.

Computer science students work on coding under instruction from Dr. Qin Ding, professor and new chair of ECU’s Department of Computer Science.