Dennis Kafura honored with emeritus status
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1982, Kafura made notable contributions to several areas of computer science, including operating systems, object-oriented concurrency, software engineering, and computer science education.
Dennis G. Kafura, a professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1982, Kafura made notable contributions to several areas of computer science, including operating systems, object-oriented concurrency, software engineering, and computer science education. He was the author or co-author of 90 peer-reviewed publications and two books. He secured external research funding for more than 30 years, mostly from competitive federal agencies. In addition, he directed 12 Ph.D. students and 45 master’s degree students and supported many others as a member of their dissertation or thesis committees.
In the classroom, Kafura developed and taught the Introduction to Computational Thinking course, one of the first Pathways courses. His innovative pedagogy was recognized by a university XCaliber Award in 2016. This course was also the laboratory for a number of research projects approved by the Institutional Review Board and funded by the National Science Foundation. These projects supported the work of two Ph.D. dissertations, two master's theses, and one undergraduate research project.
Kafura served as department head for 10 years and led the department through the transition from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Engineering. Under his leadership, the department developed a strong culture of research collaboration for which it was recognized with the University Exemplary Department or Program Award. Kafura also served as the department’s acting head in 1985-86 and the interim head in 2015.
Kafura received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of San Francisco and his master’s and Ph.D. in computer science from Purdue University.