Beth Plale, a professor of informatics and computing at theLuddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been honored with the inaugural Michael A. McRobbie and Laurie Burns McRobbie Bicentennial Professorship in Computer Engineering.
Plale, who also serves as the director of the Data to Insight Center at IU, has been a professor at the Luddy School since 2001 and is the founding director of the HathiTrust Research Center. She is returning to IU having been the Science Advisor for Public Access at the National Science Foundation since 2017. She has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly publications for highly selective journals and conference proceedings, and has been responsible for over $50 million in externally funded research.
"Professor Plale's career has embodied the kind of innovative leadership that we have always expected from our faculty at the Luddy School," said interim dean Dennis Groth. "Beth's willingness to create organizations and projects that fill critical voids has changed the direction of a number of different fields, and her prodigious research has already influenced a generation of colleagues. It's a distinct pleasure to honor her with the Michael A. McRobbie and Laurie Burns McRobbie Bicentennial Professorship in Computer Engineering, a title she richly deserves."
Plale's research areas include data governance, responsible high-performance computing, smart and connected communities, and open science. She is the founder of the Research Data Alliance, an international organization with more than 9,000 members, which is dedicated to data sharing, and she is one of the co-founders of the Center of Excellence for Women and Technology at IU Bloomington. Her research has been in innovative data engineering, and it has expanded recently to explore the technological manifestation of societal and policy needs.
The McRobbie Bicentennial Professorship in Computer Engineering was established by IU President Michael A. McRobbie and IU First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie in 2015 as part of a $1.5 million gift they made to the university in support of the Bicentennial Campaign to endow the professorship and two others, one in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and one in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design.
"Beth is among IU's most accomplished professors," said President McRobbie."She is at the forefront of nationally recognized programs to teach, understand and govern complex big data, and she continues to lead efforts to make vast amounts of important digital material available to leading scientists and scholars around the globe. Laurie and I are extremely pleased that the professorship we endowed in the Luddy School will honor and support her teaching and research and further the major contributions she is making to this pioneering school, and in particular its new highly successful Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering."
IU First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie added, "Michael and I are delighted that this new professorship will recognize Beth's teaching and research, and the interdisciplinary relationships she has built all across the university. We are both especially proud of the work she is doing, along with her colleagues, to close the gender gap in computing and informatics and ensure women have the resources they need to achieve their goals."
The McRobbie professorship at the Luddy School was endowed to support faculty who are bold technology visionaries working in computer engineering and who have the potential to change the present computing and information technology paradigms.
"I am deeply honored to hold the title of Michael A. McRobbie and Laurie Burns McRobbie Bicentennial Professor of Computer Engineering," Plale said. "The recent gifts and investment in artificial intelligence at the Luddy School, coupled with the McRobbie Professorship, give me the flexibility to focus my teaching and research in this exciting new opportunity for the Luddy School and IU."