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Joan Francioni is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Winona State University.

She received the first Ph.D. in Computer Science awarded by Florida State University in 1981. She worked for two years in industry at Litton Data Systems before beginning her career as a professor. She taught at Florida State University, Michigan Technological University and the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and worked for one year at the North Carolina Supercomputing Center as a visiting scientist. She started at Winona State University in Minnesota as a Full Professor in 1998 and remained there until her retirement in May 2019.

Throughout her 35 years as a professor, she was actively engaged in research, service and teaching. Her early research contributions were in the area of parallel computing and parallel debugging. In the late '90's, she shifted her research focus to questions in computer science education, specifically for students with visual disabilities. Overall, she has over 35 publications and has been either the PI or Co-PI for external grants totaling over $1.5 million.

She served on numerous program committees, served as a department chair for 10 years, and served for over 10 years on the CRA-W Board. She was an affiliated member of the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Winona State, the founding Faculty Liaison for Learning and Community Engagement, and the founding chair of the University Sustainability Committee. She also served as the faculty advisor for the student Full Spectrum Club for 15 years.

She is a Senior Member (2010) of the ACM.


Teaching Philosophy

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To prepare students for "improving our world," I try to connect learning to authentic, relevant experiences in real-time. I use a combination of civic-engagement, travel-studies, service-learning and student research components to help students connect their individual learning with issues in the broader community. As a result, I hope to help students develop the self-confidence and leadership skills they need to apply their knowledge beyond their own jobs and in ways that will strengthen their communities and make a positive difference in the world.