Bernice Folz Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, and Founder of GPS
Dr. Bernice Folz, founder and former director of GPS, has dedicated more than 40 years of her professional life to the computer and technology industry, and more than 25 years to the University of St. Thomas where she developed one of the largest graduate programs in software in the world -- the Graduate Programs in Software, IT & IS.
Dr. Folz worked as a systems engineer at IBM until 1962 and taught at the University of Minnesota. She was a software development manager at Sperry (now Unisys) from 1973 to 1978, the year she joined the University of St. Thomas faculty to teach computer science.
Dr. Folz became chair of the undergraduate Quantitative Methods and Computer Science Department at UST in 1980. She launched the St. Thomas Graduate Programs in Software in 1985 and continued as chair of both the undergraduate and graduate departments until 1991 - 1992 when GPS became a separate department. GPS was the fourth program of its kind in the United States with a peak enrollment of 903 in the fall of 2001.
She expanded the outreach of GPS to the business community by offering the masters program on site at Carlson Companies in 2000 - 2003 as well as offering professional development opportunities at corporate sites.
Dr. Folz developed the concept of life-long learning for professionals by offering professional development opportunities through GPS. Included in these professional development opportunities were the "mini" series in software development; one-, two-, and three-day technical seminars; and noon-hour presentations on state-of-the-art technologies in software engineering.
Dr. Folz also internationalized GPS through contacts in foreign embassies as well as developing a fall seminar about a specific country's history, culture, and technology which was followed by a visit to that specific country in January. This educational experience of visiting another country focused on observing technology organizations/enterprises, software development practices, research labs, and computer science departments of educational institutions to gain a better understanding of other cultures in our global technological society.
She received the Educator of the Year Award from the St. Paul Rotary Club in 1996, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota High Tech Association in 1998, and was instrumental in GPS receiving the Award of Excellence for the Advancement of Technology Education from the Minnesota Software Association (now the Minnesota High Tech Association).
Her busy retirement schedule includes: tour guiding at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, active involvement on the boards of two nonprofit organizations, and teaching an online survey course on technology in education and management.
Ph.D., Biology, University of Minnesota