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Memoir

Karl L. Zinn
Regents' Proceedings 220

Karl L. Zinn, research scientist in the Information Technology Division, retired from active faculty status on October 6, 1997. Dr. Zinn received his B.A. degree from Swarthmore College in 1959 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in 1962 and 1964, respectively.

He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1963 as a research associate in the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) and lecturer in psychology. He was promoted to research scientist in 1969 and maintained that title until his retirement. He joined the Information Technology Division in 1995. Dr. Zinn's first assignment in CRLT was to help faculty with problems related to testing and evaluation and to investigate the possible role of computers in teaching. He soon became one of the best informed individuals in America in the area of computer-assisted instruction, establishing connections with other research centers and setting up demonstration projects using access to the experimental computer systems at IBM, Dartmouth and the University of Illinois. During this time, he wrote a proposal to the State of Michigan for collaborative work among major universities which resulted in a planning grant for a state-wide network. He also wrote the proposal to the National Science Foundation that led to the Merit computer network.

Dr. Zinn became the associate director of Merit and had a number of grants and contracts to promote its use for instructional purposes. One of these projects produced specifications for education programming languages which were adopted widely in North America. Among other accomplishments at the University of Michigan, Dr. Zinn has introduced computer graphics; put the first interactive programming language on MTS; programmed simulations and academic games for instruction; and set up the first computer-based conferencing system on campus. More recently, he introduced faculty and students to Gopher and the World Wide Web and has continued consulting with faculty members in developing courses or new uses of resources found on the Web.

Within the Information Technology Division, he has provided invaluable support in building relationships with the schools and colleges and in creating technology-based partnerships with the deans. The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming Karl L. Zinn research scientist emeritus.