Social media, mobile computing, and big data leadership

Online dating, helping parents cope with their kids’ use of social media, and understanding the transformation of science through the use of “big data” are among the research topics that will be explored by new faculty members who will join the School of Information. In total, six faculty will arrive over the course of the coming year.

Nicole Ellison (Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Southern California) will start in January. Professor Ellison is a pioneer in understanding the role that Facebook and other social network sites play in relationship formation and maintenance. Her current research focuses on self-presentation in online dating contexts, where she has identified the phenomena of “profile as promise,” or the extent to which people feel compelled to provide truthful personal descriptions.

Sarita Yardi

Sarita Yardi

Sarita Yardi (Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Georgia Tech) also does work in the area of social media, where her research examines the design of systems to help parents better appreciate what their teenage children are doing online.

Two of our new faculty are experts on ubiquitous computing, such as the use of smartphone applications. Pedja Klasnja (Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Washington) is designing sensors and mobile technology to aid in the management of chronic disease. Tawanna Dillahunt (Presidential Post-Doc; Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University), who starts in January, is leading the development of “sustainable computing,” or technology to help encourage people to conserve energy.

Pedja Klasnja

Pedja Klasnja

Carl Lagoze (Associate Professor; Ph.D., Cornell University) was the developer or co-developer of several important open archive standards. His current research explores how cyberinfrastructure is transforming scientific practice. Carl will be a critical addition to the School’s research efforts around recently announced federal initiatives on “big data,” or the expected transformation of science through the availability of massive numbers of observations.

The sixth new faculty member, Christian Sandvig (Associate Professor, joint with Communication Studies; Ph.D., Stanford), studies the evolution of complex communication and information infrastructure, such as the Internet. Christian focuses on the interaction of individual actions in the context of broader policies that produces innovation.

Carl Lagoze

Carl Lagoze

Together, these new colleagues form an outstanding cohort who will strengthen the School’s research and teaching capabilities across social computing, health informatics, human-computer interaction, and archives and records management.

Tom Finholt
Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

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