Alan K. Zaring, Recipient of the Adam Poe Medal

Dr. Alan K. Zaring graduated from Indiana University with majors in computer science and mathematics. He then earned both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Cornell University with a major in computer science and a minor in linguistics.

When Alan was hired as an Assistant Professor at Ohio Wesleyan in 1990, he became the first professionally trained computer scientist to teach at OWU. During his 29 years with the University, Alan played a central role in shaping our Computer Science program into one that has a distinctive combination of both theoretical and applied elements and that provides excellent preparation for both graduate school and employment in the computer industry. During his tenure, Alan advised all of our departmental honors projects in computer science. He maintained high standards and provided support for student effort and creativity.

Alan’s particular areas of expertise are in programming languages and compiler design. He taught courses across the range of our computer science curriculum, including courses on computer organization, paradigms of computation, database systems, computer systems and architecture, artificial intelligence, programming languages, and computer theory and design.

The OWU Computer Science program that he spearheaded has produced numerous students who have had outstanding success in academia, in research, and in industry. In recognition of his outstanding teaching, Alan won the Sherwood Dodge Shankland Teaching Award in 2001. He was, and remains, a valued colleague, always willing to provide advice about how best to approach a problem or a delicate issue.

Alan was active within the University, serving on the Teaching and Learning Committee, the Academic Status Committee, the Assessment Committee, and several times on the Academic Policy Committee. He served as Department Chair and provided significant input when the Science Center was renovated.

Alan has serious interests in music, and he developed and twice offered a team-taught course on computer music with a colleague the Music Department. In recent years, Alan played flute in the OWU wind ensemble.

Alan has many interests and possesses encyclopedic knowledge in a variety of diverse fields. He has commanded great respect from his colleagues and his students and has been a valued member of our department and the OWU community.

Nine faculty retire from OWU

Ted Cohen, a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN), retired at the May commencement ceremony.

Cohen, who was hired in 1984, estimated he had taught roughly 6,000 to 7,000 students during his time at OWU.

“I wish I had an accurate count,” Cohen said.

Senior Alyssa Acevedo described him as a passionate professor, which made is easy for her to learn from him.

“He also helped me with one of my internships and he was my apprentice teacher who also advised me throughout that time and really helped me find the career that I really want to go into,” Acevedo said.

Not only did Cohen teach at the institution, but his wife and two children are also familiar with the campus.

Cohen’s son, Dante Santino (’09) and daughter Allison Cohen (’10) both majored in sociology and anthropology at the university. Allison Cohen took three classes with him, Cohen said.

Cohen’s late wife, Susan, worked as an archivist and curator of the United Methodist
collection for roughly 20 years, he said.

Cohen described the SOAN department as a “very stable family,” because he had been working with people in the department ever since he started.

Cohen will miss his colleagues and his students after retirement.

Alper Yalçinkaya, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, worked with Cohen since his arrival to the institution in 2010. Cohen was the first person Yalçinkaya met at OWU.

“He made it extremely easy for me to feel happy at this institution,” Yalçinkaya said.

“It’s been a wonderfully fulfilling place to be,” Cohen said. “And very supportive place
to be.”

After retirement, Cohen plans to move to New Jersey. He will also teach part-time at The College of New Jersey and to teach online summer school course for OWU. He also plans on working on a new edition of his textbook, The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society.

Also, retiring at the 2019 commencement were: Mary T. Howard, a 35-year professor of Sociology-Anthropology; Gerald Goldstein, a 36-year professor of botany and microbiology; Alan Zaring, a 29-year professor of computer science; John Gatz, a 44-year professor of zoology; Lynette Carpenter, a 30-year professor of English and film studies: Amy McClure, a 40-year professor of education; Paul Kostyu, a 20-year associate professor of journalism; and instructor Tom Burns, a 21-year instructor of English.