• Leon Tabak

    Leon Tabak

    Professor of Computer Science

Biographical Sketch

A member of Cornell College's faculty since 1989, I also have experience teaching at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (in the role of instructor and lecturer during my studies at WPI), and Colby College (as a visitor during a sabbatical leave). In 2018 and 2019, I taught short courses at China's Beihua University.

I have traveled with students and colleagues to Death Valley National Park, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and Germany and Austria. My students and I have participated in Start-Up Weekends, presented our business plans at meetings of student entrepreneurs, and heard (with thousands of others) Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger speak at the annual Shareholders' Meeting of the Berkshire Hathaway Corporation. In activities sponsored by professional societies and Cornell College's Berry Career Institute, we have visited businesses, non-profit organizations, public agencies, and universities to learn more about opportunities that await our students after graduation.

I have been very pleased to help bring outstanding speakers to Cornell College, including economists, journalists, and computer scientists.

Academic History

  • 1989 Ph.D. (Computer Science) Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • 1986 M.S. (Computer Science) Boston University
  • 1980 B.S. (Physics) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Service to the Profession

  • IEEE Computer Society
    • contributing author for Certified Software Development Associate's examination
  • Cedar Rapids Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
    • former chairman (several terms)
    • former chairman of Programs Committee for annual conference
    • delegate and speaker at international Sections Congresses
    • senior member
    • service on Admission and Advancement Review Panel (to select members for promotion to senior grade)
  • College Board's Advanced Placement Program
    • reader, table leader, and question leader at 22 annual readings of AP Examinations
    • presenter of day-long and week-long workshops for teachers of AP courses
    • senior reviewer of AP syllabi and co-author of guidelines for writers and reviewers of AP syllabi
    • member of the College Board's Consultant Advisory Panel


  • Certified Software Development Professional (IEEE Computer Society)
  • Front End Developer Nanodegree (Udacity)

Service to the Community

  • Moderator for "Ethical Perspectives on the News," a public affairs television program produced by the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County and broadcast by KCRG-TV

Online Learning and Teaching

Study with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) since 2013. Five years of daily practice with language learning software. Extensive use of electronic media in courses taught on campus, now used in online courses.

  • online study of computer science with Coursera
  • online study of computer science with Udacity
  • online study of software engineering with the IEEE's Computer Study
  • online study of the German language with Babbel, Duolingo, and Rosetta Stone
  • teaching online for Cornell College in Block 7 (March/April), 2020
  • recorded course for Beihua University in May, 2020
  • remote collaboration with 3 students in research project, Summer 2020