Professor Jo Atlee has received the 2020 IEEE Technical Council on Software Engineering Distinguished Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Leadership Award. This prestigious recognition is presented annually to an individual for outstanding and sustained leadership in the software engineering community to encourage women to explore science and engineering careers.
“The award recognizes your extensive contributions to software engineering and software engineering education, your exemplary mentorship role as the Director of Women in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, and your remarkable efforts promoting diversity and increasing the number of women and other underrepresented groups in software engineering and computer science,” wrote Grace Lewis, Chair of the WISE Leadership Award, in her letter to Professor Atlee.
Professor Atlee’s expertise is in specification of requirements for software systems and automated analysis of requirements to ensure intended behaviour in software systems. She has published foundational works in applying model checking to software and analyzing interactions between software. With Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, she co-authored a textbook titled Software Engineering: Theory and Practice, a volume now in its fourth edition that has been cited more than 1,700 times in Google Scholar.
“Jo Atlee was the School’s inaugural Director of Women in Computer Science and was instrumental in encouraging and supporting women in computer science and software engineering” said Mark Giesbrecht, Director of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. “Jo was also instrumental in bringing to Waterloo Region a global entrepreneurship competition for girls and young women known as Technovation, which encourages and supports the next-generation to use technology solve real-world problems. At Waterloo and the Cheriton School of Computer Science her work has inspired undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty alike.”
Among Professor Atlee’s many activities to promote diversity and inclusion is the course module on diversity that she has delivered to more 3,400 computer science students over the past four years. She also designed and implemented a sexism response workshop series for students, faculty and staff, in which attendees discuss strategies to intervene and respond constructively to sexist comments.
At the national level, Professor Atlee has co-organized meetings of computer science faculty members at all Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing conferences. The first meeting culminated in a report that summarized roundtable discussions on issues and recommendations to improve the status of female undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and administrators. Internationally, she is one of the three ACM SIGSOFT Diversity and Inclusion initiative leaders, a professional committee that works to increase diversity, inclusion and belonging.
“Her positive contributions to increase the number of women, and individuals of additional underrepresented groups, in software engineering and computer science are deep and broad,” wrote Gail Murphy, Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, in her nomination letter. “Our field is indeed a better place given her efforts and leadership.” Professor Atlee’s award will be presented virtually at ICSE 2020, the 42nd International Conference on Software Engineering, in Seoul, South Korea in July 2020.