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Faculty Spotlight: Steve Frezza, Ph.D. Chair of Computer and Information Science

Published: 03/31/2021

Steve Frezza, Ph.D., chair of computer and information science at Gannon.

Steve Frezza, Ph.D., chair of computer and information science at Gannon.

Gannon University's Computer and Information Science Department's successes and program achievements are due to our faculty leaders. Here, we’re celebrating Deacon Steve Frezza, Ph.D., professor and chair of the computer and information science program, who will be retiring from Gannon after 26 years of service. We’re grateful for his hard work and dedication as one of our many valued faculty members. 

Read more about Frezza below.

Professional Summary
Frezza is a professor of software engineering and chair of the computer and information science department at Gannon. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. As a certified Professional Software Engineering Master (PSEM), he remains actively involved in developing practical industry-university projects and partnerships. He teaches a variety of software engineering topics, primarily in the area of requirements engineering, project management, software testing and embedded systems. He is also actively engaged in global software engineering efforts, including the development and deployment of the software engineering international degrees program. His research interests are in the areas of philosophy of engineering, affective-domain assessment, competency modeling and assessment, software engineering education, and the relationship between engineering and theology.

Frezza has been a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, or IEEE, since 1986. Currently, he holds the rank of a senior member and is active in both the Education Society and the Computer Society of IEEE. For his service to the IEEE-Education Society, he received the 2018 Ronald J. Schmitz Award recognizing outstanding and continued service to engineering education through his contributions to the Frontiers in Education Conference. He has been a member of the Association of Computing Machinery since 1995 as a long-time participant in the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education and was recently recognized as a senior member. He is also a professional member of the American Society for Engineering Education, where he has served in various roles in the Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division.

Serving at Gannon and the Erie Community
Frezza has been a faculty member at Gannon since 1995. In the 26 intervening years, he has been a member of both the Electrical and Computer Engineering department (1995-2005) and the Computer and Information Science (CIS) department (2005-2021). He was the CIS department chair three times: 1997-98, 2005-09 and lastly in 2018-21.

He has helped develop, launch and accredit numerous programs here at Gannon. At the undergraduate level, he led the development and accreditation of the Software Engineering (SE) program launched in 2005 and accredited in 2009, and helped support the accreditation of Computer Science (CS) and Information Systems (IS) programs (accredited since 2006). In 2017 he founded the Software Engineering International Degrees (SEID) program, partnering with the Esslingen University of Applied Science to create mutual pathways for EUAS and Gannon students to complete both a U.S. and a German bachelor’s degree in software engineering. At the graduate level, he helped to launch both the MS-ESE and MS-CIS programs. In these years, he has taught 21 different graduate courses (42 total), 13 of which (27 total) have been new to Gannon.

Over his tenure, Frezza has led a number of initiatives to integrate students into projects. He served as a mentor for the embedded software graduate program from 1997 to 2001 and the information management graduate program from 2000-2003 with GE Transportation Systems. He led a number of startup and industrial projects, integrating students into paid internship work with BCRS (2002-3), Precision Rehab (2007-9), Immersimap (2008-10), PSI Medical (2010-11), Airborn-Lake City (2004-08) and (2011-13). 

Frezza has also worked to encourage and develop opportunities for grade school students. He supported or led the Engineering Summer Camp initiative from 2001-2007, provided math field trips for second- and third-grade students with the ‘Flashcar Racer’ project 2008-2010, numbers of ACT48 training for regional teachers, including the E-in-STEM Teacher Workshop held at the FIE Conference in October 2016. He organized the regional Bebras USA competitions in Computational Thinking at Gannon in 2019 and 2020. 

Outside of Gannon, he has been a longtime volunteer in various corners of the Erie community. Most prominently as a volunteer and teacher for St. George Church (1998-2003), the Diocese of Erie, Catholic Charities, Office of Natural Family Planning (1996-2004), St. Joseph Church the Bread of Life Community (2004-2015), Erie Maritime Museum (1997-2015), Cub Scout Pack 96 (1998-2005), and more recently as a Permanent Deacon at St. George Church (2015-Present). 

Frezza’s legacy will continue both within and outside the Gannon community. Many of the students he personally inspired will become alumni who make big contributions to their profession. Their organizations will in return support the ever-evolving changes in technology that helps us all connect to the world. One positive interaction with one person can positively affect hundreds. We will feel Frezza’s impact for many years to come.