Portrait of Dr. Clayton Lewis, recipient of 2022 SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions

Professor Clayton Lewis received his PhD in 1978 in Experimental Psychology from the University of Michigan. After working at IBM in various capacities from 1968 to 1984, Professor Lewis joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1984, where he served as Associate Professor (1984-1992) and Professor (1992-2021), and now serves as Emeritus Professor of Computer Science.

Professor Lewis has received many honors throughout his career. Professor Lewis was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy in 2009 and received the ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award in 2011 – these are among the highest honors given by SIGCHI. In 1989, Professor Lewis was named a University of Colorado President’s Teaching Scholar, a lifetime award that is the university’s highest honor for teaching excellence. Professor Lewis’s research related to cognitive disability is marked by his long-standing collaboration with, and recognition from, the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, where he served as scientist in residence (2004-2011), as Coleman-Turner Professor in Computer Science (2018-2019), and as the institute’s co-director for technology (2019-2021).

Professor Lewis has been a prolific contributor to SIGACCESS conferences and journals. He has published 8 articles at ASSETS and 4 in the SIGACCESS Newsletter, in addition to numerous other articles related to cognitive accessibility, accessible learning environments, and related topics. His ASSETS 2005 plenary talk, “Bridges for the Mind: Opportunities for Research on Cognitive Disabilities,” and the 2005 SIGACCESS Newsletter article HCI for People With Cognitive Disabilities document numerous challenges facing computer users with cognitive disabilities and opportunities to support people with cognitive disabilities that are still relevant 17 years later.

Professor Lewis has also supported the SIGACCESS community through numerous service roles, including serving as general chair for ASSETS 2013 and as SIGACCESS vice chair (2013-2015). He has also supported the ASSETS conference as chair of the student research competition (2006) and co-chair of the doctoral consortium (in 2007 and 2011). Professor Lewis also co-chaired the ASSETS mentoring program in 2018 and 2019, which provides guidance to authors who are new to the ASSETS community. In this role, Professor Lewis was able to help to grow a more inclusive community around theASSETS conference.

Professor Lewis has also supported our community by directly mentoring students, junior faculty, and other community members. At the University of Colorado, Professor Lewis mentored several students who continue to work in the accessibility community, including Jeffery Hoehl (PhD 2016, now an accessibility product manager at Google), Redhwan Nour (PhD 2017, now faculty at Taibah University), Derek Riemer (BS 2018, now an accessibility engineer at Google), and Varsha Koushik (PhD 2022, now faculty at Colorado College). Additionally, Professor Lewis has often served as an informal mentor to other members of the SIGACCESS community.

At a personal level, Professor Lewis has always been a thoughtful, honest, and reliable colleague, mentor and friend, who cares deeply about how the computing field supports people of all backgrounds, and about developing future generations of computing professionals.