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Jim Cordy thrives on seeing students succeed

[School of Computing professor Jim Cordy]School of Computing professor Jim Cordy.

For Jim Cordy, it’s not about academic awards and honours - his students are his number one motivation in both teaching and research.

“My favourite part about being a professor at Queen’s is the joy I receive from the success of my students,” says Dr. Cordy, professor and past director of the School of Computing and winner of the 2008 Queen’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision. “The primary purpose of my job is to facilitate the success of my students. It’s nice to have awards, but the students are the ones that really make the difference.”

Many of his students have gone on to hold influential positions in both academia and industry, and eight of them are now successful professors. He still corresponds with former students and is often heartened to hear they are still influenced by his work and courses.

“In my experience, Jim’s students always come first with him and he goes to extreme lengths to ensure their well-being; academically, professionally, emotionally or financially,” says Chanchal Roy (PhD ’09), a previous student of Dr. Cordy. “Dealing with extenuating and difficult circumstances and offering timely and personal advice is rare and a paramount asset in Jim’s personality. Although he used to say his great students make his job easier, I do believe his supervision and mentorship is what makes his students excel in becoming well-rounded professionals. He is the role model and mentor who unlocked the potential in me.”

Dr. Cordy stumbled into his profession early in his university career. He selected a computer science course as an elective, and discovered his passion for the discipline and a desire to share it with others.

In addition to his influence as a teacher, Dr. Cordy is widely recognized in the field of computing for developing several programming languages, which have been taught in high schools and universities. He has also made numerous contributions to the research world through the publications of various books and articles about computing, and has founded two successful software companies.

A Distinguished Scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery, Dr. Cordy was recently appointed as one of three International Grand Professors at the Centre for Advancing Electronics Dresden at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany. He will act as an advisor to professors and a mentor to students, and is looking forward to his first visit to the centre this fall.