David Chesney Receives IBM Faculty Award

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Dr. Chesney listens as a student presents a project idea.

Dr. David Chesney has been awarded a 2014 IBM Faculty Award for his work in teaching software engineering and for his success in encouraging students to leverage new approaches to developing assistive technologies for people with disabilities.

Dr. Chesney has for many years suggested that his students think in terms of social good when developing their projects and has taken steps to facilitate those activities and to provide needed connections to technology and resources. In 2010, he developed a relationship with the U-M Mott Children’s Hospital that has allowed his students to better understand the needs of patients with disabilities such as cerebral palsy and autism, and to develop assistive technologies to help address those challenges.

Over the course of the past few years, Dr. Chesney’s students have developed a string of innovative technologies including a tablet-based system of messaging for individuals with fine motor control issues, a suite of video games for children with autism, and a variety of aids for communication and daily living for people with physical and cognitive impairments. Dr. Chesney has collected information and videos about some of these projects here.

In Fall 2014, Dr. Chesney’s software engineering class was chosen as one of ten in the North America that will have the opportunity to tap into IBM’s Watson technology to develop applications that address social needs. Watson is IBM’s powerful artificial intelligence system that is designed to process language more like a human than a machine, and to interact with people in ways that seem more natural than other systems.

Dr. Chesney received his PhD in Computer Science from Michigan State University. He joined the faculty at Michigan in 1998 and currently teaches ENG 100, Gaming for the Greater Good and EECS 481, Software Engineering.

About the IBM Faculty Award

The IBM Faculty Awards program is a competitive worldwide program intended to foster collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development, and services organizations; and to promote courseware and curriculum innovation to stimulate growth in disciplines and geographies that are strategic to IBM.