Photo of Charlie Curtsinger

Charlie Curtsinger

Department of Computer Science
Grinnell College
1116 8th Ave.
Grinnell, IA 50112
Noyce Science Center 3827
(641) 269-3127


The Grinnell College Computer Science Department is looking for a new tenure-track faculty member to start in Fall 2019. We are open to any research area, so please apply! Apply at We will begin reviewing applications on October 19, 2018, so apply soon.

Why you should come to Grinnell

Working at a liberal arts college wasn't what I imagined doing when I first started graduate school, but there are quite a few perks from great, well-rounded students to a campus-wide community. While I've only been here for just over three years, there are already many things I love about working at Grinnell College. Here are a few that come to mind:

Our Students

Grinnell College attracts some of the brightest students in the country. Not only are our students academically strong, they are incredibly engaged in the campus community. Grinnell has an open curriculum, so students are in your class because they care about the subject, not just to check a box. Grinnell students are particularly open minded and thoughtful about issues around diversity and inclusion. Grinnell students are also very interested in research; I have hired 21 students to work on research over my three summers at Grinnell. In addition to paying students in the summer, the college also supports student travel to conferences to present their work, including travel to international conferences.


Computer Science has a diversity problem, but the students and faculty in our department work very hard to tackle these issues. Compared to other institutions, we have very high percentages of women and domestic students of color in computer science. Our department and the campus as a whole does an excellent job bringing in students from all over the United States, and across the socioeconomic spectrum. These efforts aren't limited to faculty discussions; the Women and Gender Minorities in CS group actively works to address the needs of underrepresented groups in CS. I am proud to be part of a department that works so hard to address the lack of diversity in computing.

We also have an amazing group of international students. Over the past year I have had students in my courses from Bulgaria, Costa Rica, China, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, India, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Tanzania, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and others I have probably forgotten. Our students bring an incredible variety of experiences and perspectives, and our campus is better for it. Roughly 20% of Grinnell students are from other countries, but they come from all over the world, not just a few relatively wealthy countries.

Institutional Support

One of the things Grinnell College is best known for is its large endowment. While this may seem like a cynical thing to love about an institution, it allows us to do many things that other schools cannot. First, our financial resources allow Grinnell to use a need-blind admissions policy; that means our students are here based on their academic merit, not economic status. Second, Grinnell offers significant support for faculty and students. I can spend up to $3,000 every year to travel to conferences, purchase materials for my research, and for other "faculty development" activities. In addition to this automatic funding, the college also supports summer research students with stipends; four funded students is typical, but I have supported as many as six students using college funds specifically for student research.

In addition to the summer research stipend, students can receive funding to travel to domestic and international conferences to present their work; I was able to bring six students to OOPSLA in Amsterdam during the fall 2016 semester. The college has many institutional grants and other funding sources to support specific initiatives, and we have a top-notch grants office that can help with the preparation of NSF grants. I like knowing that I can continue to conduct my research and compensate students who work with me without constantly applying for external funding.

Another significant source of support is Grinnell College's sabbatical policy. As of the 2016-2017 year, tenured faculty are eligible for a full-year sabbatical every 12 semesters or a half-year sabbatical every six semesters at full pay. In addition, pre-tenure faculty are eligible for a one semester leave at full pay, and we can even "borrow" a post-tenure leave semster to extend the pre-tenure leave.

Community & Location

Grinnell, Iowa is a small town—just under 10,000 year-round residents—but it's also the main commercial hub for the surrounding area. The city has nine parks, well over 20 independent restaurants, a movie theater, several grocery stores, a taproom for an award winning Iowa brewery, and many active community organizations including the farmer's market and the Grinnell Arts Council. Living here is very convenient; I live just four blocks from campus, and a similar distance from downtown. There is a wide variety of housing available in Grinnell including downtown apartments in 120-year old buildings, new condos in the former Spaulding Automotive Plant, century-old Victorian and Craftsman houses, and newer construction.

Looking further away from Grinnell, we're just about an hour away from Des Moines and Iowa City. Both these cities are rapidly-growing, but still small enough that getting around is fairly easy. While I really enjoy being able to walk to work, a number of faculty and staff live in Des Moines or Iowa City. Grinnell is three hours from Omaha, four hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago, and an additional hour or two from St. Louis and Kansas City.

Photo Gates Tower in winter Gates Tower and the surrounding residence halls
Photo by John Brady '16.

Computer Science graduates, class of 2016 The Grinnell CS class of 2016
Photo by Jen Weinman

Photo of summer research students My summer research group
Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College