Faculty Spotlight: Alan Hevner, USF Distinguished Professor, Honored at Purdue University
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (July 16, 2018) -- No stranger to awards and accolades for his life's work, Muma College of Business Information Systems and Decision Sciences Professor Alan Hevner traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana, recently to what may be the most poignant recognition he has received over his long, research-rich career.
In April, he attended a ceremony at his alma mater, Purdue University, where he was honored as a Distinguished Science Alumni and recognized for his accomplishments and the prestige he has brought both to himself and the university.
In his acceptance speech, Hevner said he was humbled to be among the group of eight honorees.
"Purdue," he said, "is a special place."
Hevner started out as a freshman there in 1969 and was a student in the very first computer science department, which was implemented seven years earlier. He started out as a math major.
"I came from a small town in Indiana, a very small town and I was a little intimidated when I came on to campus," he said. "I'm so grateful for everything Purdue offered me. It molded a small-town boy into a Boilermaker, a scholar and it's been a great experience."
He was in a cohort of 40 students, many of whom were like him, from small towns and high schools that did not, at that time, offer calculus.
His cohort was taught calculus solely on a computer as part of the course.
"To me, that was a revelation," he said. "I knew then that computers could really make an impact."
Computers have stayed with him throughout his impactful career.
He is a pioneer whose development of conceptual and methodological innovations have earned him recognition as a leader in the field of design-science research with more than 18,000 citations to his more than 200 research papers. His seminal 2004 MIS Quarterly article has over 10,000 citations and ranks among the most widely cited publications in the entire field of information systems. He has mentored 17 doctoral students.
He now is a Distinguished University Professor at USF and Eminent Scholar in the ISDS Department in the Muma College of Business, where he holds the Citigroup/Hidden River Chair of Distributed Technology.
IBM and numerous Fortune 500 companies have called on Hevner's expertise in his areas of research, which include information systems development, software engineering, distributed database systems, health-care systems and design-science research. He serves on the editorial review boards of several prominent journals in his field. From 2006-08, he was a program manager at the U.S. National Science Foundation in the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate.
Still, he said, his visit to his alma mater was special.
"The reception was held in the sky boxes of Purdue's Ross Ade Football Stadium," he
said, "The honorees' pictures were flashed
on the stadium's Jumbotron throughout the ceremony. The recognition of my achievements as a computer science alumnus was a heart-warming experience."
All of his higher education was at Purdue. He is a three-time grad of the university with a bachelor's and a master's degree and a PhD in computer science. Hevner went on to become a faculty member at the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland, where he was chair of the information systems faculty before joining USF in 1994.
Since those days, Hevner has consistently been recognized for his groundbreaking work. He has been:
• named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, selected by his peers;
• named a Schoeller Senior Fellow at the Friedrich Alexander Universitat Erlanger-Nurnberg, Germany, from 2014-2017;
• named a Parnas Fellow at Lero Institute in Ireland;
• named a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to Design Science Research.
"Al Hevner is one of the most distinguished colleagues I have ever worked with," said Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem. "He is widely respected both here and around the globe. He helped lift this entire university and put us on the map.
"His research is widely cited and he is considered the definitive voice in the field," Limayem said. "Al Hevner has changed the way research in this field is now being conducted. He truly is transformative."