UNC Charlotte College of Computing and Informatics Dean Fatma Mili officially began her tenure Aug. 1, and she looks forward to applying her extensive experience to advance how technology is transformative.
“Computer science and technology are the predominant drivers in all the changes we see in society today,” said Mili. “They are changing what is knowable and accessible and our immediate environment; how we interact with one another; how we communicate, learn and move; and our conception of what it is to be human.”
The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) is the largest and most comprehensive technology program in North Carolina and one of the largest in the nation, with a focus on cutting-edge research and innovation.
“With bioinformatics and genomics, technological prosthetics and performance-enhancing manipulations, augmented realities, artificial intelligence and data mining tools, the boundaries between the physical, the informational and technological worlds are blurring at an exponential speed,” said Mili. “Computing science, technology and applications are at the core of all of these changes. Young people have realized that computing knowledge has become as essential as reading and writing; this has resulted in a national growth in demand for computing classes and programs within and outside academia.”
According to Mili, higher education institutions such as UNC Charlotte have the capacity to address long-term systematic challenges faced by societies. “My role is to ensure that we balance the most urgent and important. What do we need to do to ensure our graduates are marketable and successful in their first and second jobs but also that they are equipped and motivated to take initiative to navigate the unknown and uncertain?”
Jeff Stovall, CIO of the city of Charlotte, in commenting on Dean Mili’s appointment, said her selection to lead one of the largest and fastest-growing computing programs in the country “demonstrates the commitment CCI has to leading the field. Dean Mili is well-positioned to extend and expand the college’s efforts in changing the diversity equation, growing data science talent and protecting information assets with cybersecurity. Her stellar credentials as a leader, researcher and educator make Dean Mili an excellent accelerator for CCI’s continued success.”
Chief Information Security Officer at Wells Fargo Rich Baich added, “As the cybersecurity talent shortage grows, corporations look to higher education to fill those spots. The program at UNC Charlotte plays a significant role in training and educating the next generation of information security leaders who will join our ranks.”
Mili, who holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, joined UNC Charlotte from Purdue University. She has extensive experience in successfully driving progressive forces of change and transformation in computing.
She founded the Purdue Polytechnic Initiative, an academic educational research institute to foster modern, transdisciplinary education; created an International Network for Higher Education Institutional Transformation and secured initial funding for a network that consists of teams of faculty and administrators from 21 institutions; initiated a Purdue-wide project developing faculty capacity in diversity and equity; and spearheaded new curricular innovations, including an undergraduate trans-disciplinary bachelor focused on raising students’ awareness of grand challenges and equipping them with the mindset to address them and two graduate courses integrating technological topics with a reflection on the future and technology.