three graduate students prepare to pie a professor outside the Brooks building on Pi Day

The CSSA is a graduate student group that represents the graduate students in the Department of Computer Science at UNC. It is not a club you have to join — if you are a graduate student in the department, you are a member. The CSSA offers several important services to students:

  • Represents the students at faculty meetings
  • Plans CSSA events
  • Gives teaching awards to two professors each year
  • Maintains web pages
  • Plans Candidates’ Weekend

Student Representation

The CSSA officers, who are CS graduate students, represent the students to the faculty and plan events for students. Recently, the president has been the only officer. However, this year there are four officers. At least one officer will be at every faculty meeting. Together, the graduate students have one vote (equal to that of a single faculty member), and we will vote based on the thoughts of all graduate students. Therefore, before any vote (see your weekly CSSA email), please tell one of the CSSA officers what you think.

Mentorship Program

We would like to pair each of the incoming students with a more experienced graduate student in the department to help them make the transition into graduate school life. This help could be as simple as answering their grad school/Chapel Hill related questions, such as where to shop for groceries, how to figure out the bus schedule, restaurant recommendations, etc. Mainly we would just like to pair new students with a friendly person in the department.

Upcoming Events

The CSSA is in charge of different events during the year. However, any graduate student is welcome to volunteer to help. If you would like to volunteer, please email

Alan Kuntz gives teaching award to Dr. Jan Prins during the May 2017 department commencement

Teaching Excellence Awards

Every year the graduate students nominate and then vote for two faculty members who have shown excellence in teaching. These awards are presented at the department commencement ceremony in May, the winners are added to a plaque in the upper Sitterson Hall lobby, and an online record is kept, along with all department awards.

Candidates’ Weekend

Each year the computer science department invites students who have been accepted to the graduate program to visit. The CSSA officers and other graduate students do most of the planning for this weekend. Prospective students usually arrive on Thursday and leave on Sunday. We visit apartments, eat dinner together, walk around UNC, and more! The planning for the 2021 Candidates’ Weekend will begin in the spring semester of the 2020-2021 school year.

Important Links


Contact Us

2020-2021 CSSA President: Kathryn Kirchoff
Other 2020-2021 Officers: Joshua Bakita, Peter Hase, and Janine Hoelscher

Email addresses:
All officers:

Other Information

We are setting up this new website for graduate students, and we want to have helpful information here. If you have ideas about ways to make this website better, or if you want to see more information about a certain topic, please email