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Janet Davis

Janet Davis

Professor and Microsoft Chair of Computer Science

Janet Davis became a computer scientist in her first year of college, when she realized she was exhausted by science labs, but excited and energized by programming assignments. She decided to pursue graduate study in computer science during her senior year of college, when she realized she loved school too much to leave. As a graduate student, she fell in love with teaching and she hasn’t left yet.

Professor Davis joined Whitman in 2015 as the college’s founding computer scientist after nine years of teaching and research at Grinnell College. Professor Davis guided the development of Whitman’s computer science curriculum and enjoys teaching a broad range of courses at all levels—especially CS 167, “Introduction to Computational Problem Solving.” She loves to share her joy in learning, create educational experiences, and develop supportive relationships with and among her students.

Ph.D. Computer Science and Engineering
University of Washington

M.S. Computer Science and Engineering
University of Washington

B.S. Computer Science
Harvey Mudd College

Professor Davis’s current research brings together four long-standing interests: gender, language, persuasive technology, and value sensitive design. Professor Davis has a long history of including students in many kinds of work, from software development to creative design to critical analysis.

Current projects include Degender the Web and Reading for Gender BiasFor a deep dive into Professor Davis’s research, watch this video: Too many projects about gender, language, and technology (42:15).

Janet Davis and Buyaki Nyatichi* ‘20. Values and Politics of a Behavior Change Support System. Societal Challenges in the Smart Society (ETHICOMP 2020), ed. Mario Arias-Oliva, Jorge Pelegrin-Borondo, Kiyoshi Murata, and Ana Maria Lara Palma, pp. 299-313.

Janet Davis. 5 Ways to Welcome Women to Computer Science. The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 18, 2019.

Emma Twersky* ‘17 and Janet Davis. "Don't say that!" An analysis of persuasive systems in the wild. In de Vries, P.W., Oinas-Kukkonen, H., Siemons, L., Beerlage-de Jong, N., van Gemert-Pijnen, L. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (PERSUASIVE 2017), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, April 4-6, 2017. Springer, LNCS 10171, pages 215-226.

Nediyana Daskalova**, Nathalie Ford**, Ann Hu**, Kyle Moorehead**, Benjamin Wagnon**, and Janet Davis (2014). "Informing Design of Suggestion and Self-Monitoring Tools through Participatory Experience Prototypes." In Anna Spagnolli, Luca Chittaro, Luciano Gamberini (Ed.) The 9th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (PERSUASIVE 2014), 8462, Springer, 68-79. [local PDF]

Chase Felker**, Radka Slamova**, and Janet Davis. Integrating UX with Scrum in an Undergraduate Software Development Project. In Proceedings of the 43rd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, March 2012.

Timothy M. Miller**, Patrick Rich**, and Janet Davis. ADAPT: Audience Design of Ambient Persuasive Technology. In Extended Abstracts of the 27th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2009), Boston, MA, April 2009.

*Whitman College alumni

**Grinnell College alumni

Grants and Fellowships

Grinnell College Innovation Grant: Alumni Engagement Across the Curriculum 2014–2017
Mark Peltz (proposer), Jayn Chaney, Janet Davis, Karla Erickson, and Justin Thomas (co-proposers).

Grinnell College Harris Fellowship: Towards Participatory Design of Persuasive Technology, 2009–2010.

Reformulating Media Computation with Functional Programming, Scripting, and Design Principles. National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program. Samuel A. Rebelsky (PI), Janet Davis (co-PI), and Matthew Kluber (co-PI), 2007–2011.

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1999–2003.

National Merit Scholarship, 1995-1999.

Faculty-Student Research Grants

Louis B. Perry Student-Faculty Research Grant, with Ahmed Elsayed ’23, Kalilou Ali Khadiri ’22, Dylan Wu ’21, and Zoe Hill ’21, Summer 2020.

Louis B. Perry Student-Faculty Research Grant, with Buyaki Nyatichi ’20, Summer 2019.

Non-Profit FOSS Institute (NPFI), Grant to support the Computer Science Project: Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank Warehouse Database, 2018.

Louis B. Perry Student-Faculty Research Grant, with Andrew Harvey ’20, Summer 2017.


High Honors, Harvey Mudd College, Distinction in Computer Science, Distinction in Humanities and Social Sciences. Computer Science Class of '94 (Founding Class) Award and Computer Science Clinic Award. 

Professional Societies

Senior Member, Association for Computing Machinery, 2013. 

Member, Liberal Arts Computer Science (LACS) Consortium, 2015-present.

Finalist, Technology Association of Iowa Women of Innovation Award, Academic Innovation and Leadership, Post-Secondary, 2012.

Member, ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI), ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), and ACM Special Interest Group on Computers and Society (SIGCAS). 

Member, IEEE Computer Society. 

Facilitator, SIGCSE Committee on Computing Education in Liberal Arts Colleges, 2019-present. 

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