Dean, Faculty of Computer Science
Andrew Rau-Chaplin became dean of the Faculty of Computer Science in July 2015. He was appointed to a five-year term as dean after more than 20 years as a faculty member, researcher and research manager for companies in the private sector. During his time at Dalhousie, he has served as director of the e-commerce program and conducted research in high-performance computing and analytics.
Dr. Rau-Chaplin’s combination of academic and industrial experience, as well as his leadership skills and passion, positions him to grow the faculty’s ties to industry, as well as its research capacity and academic programs.
Read Dr. Rau-Chaplin's full profile
Andrew Rau-Chaplin brings more than 20 years of teaching, research and industry experience to his role as dean of the Faculty of Computer Science, a position he assumed in July 2015. Dr. Rau-Chaplin is excited to apply his knowledge and leadership abilities to a faculty he believes is primed for growth and success.
“It’s such a period of opportunity for the Faculty of Computer Science,” says Dr. Rau-Chaplin. “We’re experiencing a shift where computing is really becoming, along with theory and experimentation, the third leg of science.”
“We have these fantastic opportunities if we’re willing to reach out and grab hold of them.”
Growing the faculty’s already strong relationship with industry is one Dr. Rau-Chaplin’s key objectives. He believes strong industry partnerships benefit students, companies, the university and the economy.
“We educate students who then go out and do great work in Canadian industry. They create new technologies, help business deploy and manage complex software systems, and found the start-ups that are inventing our future. Then they come back to us looking for the next generation of talent,” Dr. Rau-Chaplin explains. “And of course, when they come back, they inform and engage the next generation of students.”
“It’s a sustainable feedback loop between education and professional practice.”
Dr. Rau-Chaplin cites the undergraduate co-op programs as valuable assets for students in this regard, as they allow them to alternate between terms of academic study and practical co-op placements.
“We give students opportunities to interact with the whole gamut of software companies from global market leader to local software startups.”
Nurturing a culture of coding is high on Dr. Rau-Chaplin’s agenda. He is proud to have taught graduates that have gone on to assume academic research chairs and senior positions in industry heavyweights like Google and Microsoft, but takes special pride in the faculty’s track record of producing a steady stream of students that can both excel in Canadian industry and flourish as successful entrepreneurs.
“It’s important not only to reach out to the established industries, but also to the startup community here and grow that,” he says. “You just have to look at the number of software companies locally – to look at the founders and count how many are our alumni. They have been incredibly successful.”
Dr. Rau-Chaplin is also looking to better differentiate the faculty’s two undergraduate programs. Where the Bachelor of Computer Science degree builds development capacity, the Bachelor of Informatics degree focuses on how technologies are deployed and managed in organizations and society.
By clearly articulating each program’s respective values, he says, the faculty can better inform both students and prospective employers about the knowledge and skill sets graduates possess.
Other assets of the faculty include Dal’s Institute for Big Data Analytics, which Dr. Rau-Chaplin says has “caught one of the waves that’s driving technology – and we were there early.” This leadership, combined with industry partnerships, outstanding research programs, and academic excellence, are the pillars of what he believes will be a prosperous future.
“We’re doing very well for our size,” he says. “Now it’s a matter of building scale and engineering growth into the faculty.”