Daniel L. Schuster, Ph.D.
Professor of Computer Science, Mathematics
How did you discover Western?
I rode a motorcycle through Gunnison in 1980 and loved the place. I always wanted to come back. I applied for a professor's job in 1988 and the rest is history.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
I was pleased to radically upgrade the curriculum in some of the lower level Computer Science courses. I've enjoyed creating new courses such as Computer Science 250 Web Development 1 and Computer Science 120 Professional Computer Literacy, which is the single most successful Computer Science class Western’s has ever had, measured by number of students.
I wrote the first successful proposal for a Computer Science major in 2001 and helped John Peterson do the rewrite in 2014. In the summer of 2018, I worked with our new faculty to create the radically improved, more comprehensive Computer Science majors that are in place now.
For the last few years I’ve been directing students in the development of a Python game programming library, based on Pygame but much easier to use. It’s been used successfully in high schools and in our own class, and it’s about ready for general public release.
What most excites you about your field?
There’s simply no end to the innovation. As a teacher, that always gives me something new and challenging to learn and then to teach. That’s a wonderful experience.
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
Two things—the environment and the people.
The environment is simply unparalleled for the things I like to do. I’m a motorcyclist and there are literally thousands of miles of trails and jeep road in the county that I’ve been able to explore on my dirt bikes. Some of the best curvy paved roads in the country are here and I get to ride them on my BMW.
The people of Gunnison are like so many others in the American West—live and let live. That very much matches my own philosophy. Gunnison is a place where people want to live. That’s a great thing.