July 30, 2012

Woodward named interim ISAT director

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Belle S. Woodward, an associate professor in information systems technologies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the interim director of the University's School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies (ISAT).

Woodward, who joined the University in 2004, became interim director this month. She replaces Ralph S. Tate, an associate professor now in the Department of Automotive Technology.

"I'm very confident with her strong leadership, and believe that ISAT will have great changes in scholarly teaching and research activities," said Ju An (Andy) Wang, dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. "Her expertise in information assurance and other areas will have significant effects on student learning, quality of curriculum and instruction."

Woodard teaches several undergraduate courses that focus on network management, network security, telecommunications and ethics. Her research focuses on ethics and security education, technology in teaching, and women in computing and technology fields. In June 2011, Woodward was among the faculty who helped ISAT earn elite national status as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance education from the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Woodward is enthusiastic about the new position.  She wants potential students to know about the exciting opportunities to learn through ISAT, which is comprised of electronic systems technologies, information systems technologies, technical resource management, and a fire service management program offered at three off-campus locations.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the faculty and recruiting and retaining students," Woodward said. "My vision for ISAT is to ensure that people know about us and what we can do for them. I'm very excited when I look around me and see the tremendous things going on."

Students in the four programs have a 90 to 100 percent employment rate within the first six months of graduation, Woodward said.

"It is a great time for us right now, with employers recruiting students from their seats here before they graduate," she said.

Woodward, a U.S. Army veteran, earned bachelor's degrees in computer science and business economics from the University of Bamberg in Germany, and business administration and accounting from Wayland Baptist University in Wayland, Texas. She has a master's degree in computer resources and information management from Webster University in St. Louis.

Before coming to SIU Carbondale, she was an assistant professor in the computer sciences department at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. Prior to that, Woodward was an instructor at Temple Community College in Temple, Texas, and Elizabethtown Community College in Elizabethtown, Ky. She was also an information systems/network administrator for Briggs & Stratton Corp., in Rolla, Mo.

Woodward said she is also proud of faculty as they continue to work on exciting research projects and grants.

"We have fantastic faculty here who can continue to help move our program forward," she said.

One goal is to complete a new instructional unit to offer a four-year degree in information assurance, which will be an online program, she said.

Woodward said she also wants to work on increasing enrollment of underrepresented students in the program, including women. One way to do this is through introducing women and minority students to technology at an early age using such programs as "Expand Your Horizons" and activities on campus that include "Robotics and Flight" and "Girls in Engineering and Science" camps.

Woodward and her husband, Jeff, have a son, Alan, who is a sophomore in psychology at SIU Carbondale.