Joseph A. Fischbach

Joseph A. Fischbach, PhD

  • Chair of Computer Science
  • Associate Professor

Programs I Teach

Education

  • PhD, Computer Science and Engineering (2005)
    Pennsylvania State University--University Park (PA)
  • BA, Computer Science (1997)
    Drew University (NJ)

About Me

I maintain high expectations for my students and present them with challenging assignments and exams. On an exam, I expect students to solve problems, not simply regurgitate information. Likewise, on an assignment, I expect students to apply what they learn to solve the given problem, not simply mimic examples that they see in class or the textbook.

In fairness, I believe that students should be judged on effort as well as results. I do not want students to give up on a project or panic during an exam because they feel that the problem they are asked to solve is too difficult. Students are more willing to embrace challenging tasks if they know that they will be graded fairly and that their effort will be rewarded even if their solution is not perfectly correct. This is not to say that students who try hard but fail to grasp the necessary material should receive high grades.

No student should pass a course if they do not attain and demonstrate at least a minimal competency in the material. However, students should not be penalized for making mistakes along the way as long as they are where they need to be by the end of the semester.

Research Interests

My research background is in the area of programming language theory. It involves crafting formal specifications of program transformations and optimizations as well as the mathematical proofs verifying the safety and correctness of those specifications. 

Recently, I have been focused on pedagogical research related to My Programming Languages and Operating Systems courses and the department's pursuit of ABET accreditation. I routinely attend conferences on computer science education and their affiliated workshops.

Publications

  • Kortsarts, Y., & Adam Fischbach, J.A. (2014). Incorporating professional ethics into an introductory computer science course. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges 29(3), 35–42.
  • Fischbach, J.A. (2013). Visualization of student-implemented OS algorithms in Java. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 28(3), 6–13.
  • Kortsarts, Y., Fischbach, J.A., Rufinus, J., Utell, J.M., & Yoon, S.C. (2010). Developing oral and written communication skills in undergraduate computer science and information systems curriculum. Information Systems Education Journal, 8(30), 1–10.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)