Dr. Manuel Pérez Quiñones
Associate Dean, College of Computing and Informatics and Professor, Department of Software and Information Systems at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Manuel Pérez Quiñones was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Born to a family of educators and public servants his high school year book called him a future lawyer. Life had other plans.
Manuel’s research area of focus is in human-computer interaction. He has devoted almost 30 years of research in government labs (Naval Research Laboratory) and public academic institutions including University of Puerto Rico -Mayaguez, Virginia Tech, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and is a visiting professor at the US Naval Academy. Most recently he is the Associate Dean, College of Computing and Informatics and Professor, Department of Software and Information Systems at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte where his research has been in Personal Information Management where, with his students, he has studied how people manage email, how people refind information, how to provide for prospective memory in daily information management tasks, and how people use calendars to keep track of structured and ill-defined information. He has published over 150 papers in leading journals, conference proceedings, magazines and book chapters. He has also published over 30 technical reports.
In addition to his research work, Manuel’s focus has been in creating a more diverse culture in technology and academia. His work in diversity started as a Multicultural Fellow at Virginia Tech, a group that served in an advisory capacity to university administration in issues of diversity and equity. From there, he was involved in starting the Hispanic/Latino Faculty and Caucus at VT, co-author of the Graduate Student section of the Race and the Institution Task Force Report and eventually became director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Virginia Tech. In that office, MPQ became closely involved with different groups on campus, supporting events for African-Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ, Native American, and Women student organizations. He lead the reorganization of the office of Diversity initiatives and hired the Director for the office. Many of the activities designed are still in place. Academically, Manuel created a course at Virginia Tech called GRAD5984 Topics on Diversity and Inclusion for a Global Society. This course was part of the Graduate Education Development Institute (GEDI) certificate and was intended to train students from all disciplines to explore diversity and inclusion from many different professional lenses and perspectives. He offered the course three years in a row.
This background in diversity and inclusion led him to be engaged in diversity efforts in computing. As such he attended the Tapia Conference in 2005 and innocently joined a lunch time meeting for the Coalition to Diversify Computing. This meeting changed his professional career. He joined CDC, lead the CREU project, eventually was elected chair of CDC, co-directed the NSF BPC Alliance in collaboration with CRA-W, participated in the initial conversations that created the CERP, was Program co-chair for the Technical program for Tapia 2009, and chair for 2013, is a member of the Steering committee for Tapia. He co-created and still co-manages the Hispanics in Computing listserv, a list that today has close to 400 members.
In 2015, Manuel moved to administration full time as he became Associate Dean of the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte. But his work in diversity has not stopped. He is now a member of the Advisory Board for CMD-IT and chairs the new University Award committee recognizing universities with exceptional retention efforts. At UNC Charlotte, he created the Corporate Mentoring Program for female freshmen students where around 30 female computing major students are paired for a yearlong mentoring effort with female corporate representatives. The program has been a success and is now in its third year. In addition, he is Vice-President of the Latinx Faculty/Staff Caucus on campus. Manuel Perez Quinones is frequently invited to speak on topics relating the perils of underrepresentation in computing.
He has been the PhD Advisor of 2 African American PhD females and served in phd committees for several others. While at Virginia Tech the Computer Science Department produced at least 7 African American PhD’s and 5 female PhDs. He has supervised 10 PhD students who have gone to do great things. Four hold tenure lines at academic institutions including UNC Chapel Hill, Penn State, Radford, and University of Wisconsin-Stout and other are in various positions in industry (Google, Motorola, Intel, SAP). He supervised 14 MS students and has participated in over 50 MS/PhD committees.
Manuel’s favorite quote is “Cuando tienes la oportunidad de mejorar cualquier situación, y no lo haces, estás malgastando tu tiempo en la Tierra.” “Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.” Roberto Clemente.