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Lynn Heinrichs named computer educator of the year

A faculty member in the computing sciences department & the Love School of Business, Heinrichs was lauded for her teaching, scholarship and service.

Associate Professor Lynn Heinrichs (right) with Elon senior Ellena Renee Forney, who described her advisor as someone who "gets on a personal level with students."


Associate Professor Lynn R. Heinrichs has been selected as the 2012 IACIS Computer Educator of the Year for her “outstanding record of professional service, teaching, and scholarship” and for her contributions to both Elon University and her field.

Heinrichs will be presented with the award from the International Association for Computer Information Systems on Oct. 5 during its international conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“You think of others who have received this award in years past and you feel truly honored,” said Heinrichs, who teaches in Elon’s Department of Computing Sciences and the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. “And you never get to an award by yourself. Often it’s a recognition that you’re working with great colleagues. It’s also a validation of Elon’s support of the teacher-scholar model and our commitment to engaged learning.”

Over the course of her career, Heinrichs has authored more than 50 academic papers and has regularly attended conferences, serving in leadership roles for both the university and her professional organizations. At Elon, she developed a National Science Foundation-funded scholarship program for computing sciences students, and in 2011, she led the transformation of the university’s computer information systems major to an information science degree.

Students praised Heinrichs for her classroom style and said the award is testament to her dedication.

“As a professor, she always goes the extra mile to help a student, especially for me,” said Elon junior Abdullah Al-Yahya, a Heinrichs advisee from Saudi Arabia majoring in computer information systems. “She’s so patient! She tries to explain things from scratch, going step by step, and never complains if you don’t have a background in a given topic. She’s wonderful! I believe she for sure deserves this award.”

Others offered similar sentiments. “Not only is she great at teaching, but she also gets to know her students,” said Elon junior Renee Forney, a computer information systems major from Charlotte, N.C. “Some of the students in our class are married with kids, and she likes to ask about them and how they’re doing. She gets on a personal level with students.

“It’s nice to see that a professor cares not only about us academically, but about other aspects of our lives.”

Heinrichs previously taught at Elmhurst College in Illinois and for more than a decade at Western Carolina University, serving for three years there as associate dean. At Western Carolina, she also started “techTrek,” a summer camp for girls that combines “adventures in nature and technology.”

Her research has appeared in the Journal of Computer Information Systems, Issues in Information System, Journal of Research in Business Information Systems, Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Journal of Information Systems Education and others. She serves on the editorial review boards for the Journal of Computer Information Systems and the International Journal for Mobile Communications.

Heinrichs is currently researching mobile security with a colleague from Western Carolina. Their work, which they anticipate being published next spring, looks at college students’ use of security measures for mobile devices, including the effectiveness of their passwords, virus protection, PIN numbers and the kinds of applications they use on smartphones and tablets.

Professor Binshan Lin at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, a colleague Heinrichs has known for years through professional circles, nominated her for the award, which was first given in 1966.

Eric Townsend,
9/27/2012 10:16 AM