UMSI welcomes new faculty

new umsi facultyBy Tom Finholt
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Researchers and educators in the fields of transformational learning, human-computer interaction, information technology for development, entrepreneurship and more are joining the School of Information faculty for the academic year beginning in September.

Tawanna Dillahunt held a Presidential Post-doctoral Fellowship at the School of Information last year and this year joins us as an assistant professor. She has a PhD from Carnegie Mellon, and worked for many years as a software engineer at Intel before turning her sights toward academia. Her research is focused on human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing and social computing in the domains of environmental and economic sustainability, education and health.

Barry Fishman is transferring from the School of Education, where he has taught since 1997, to assume a full-time professorship in the School of Information. In 2010, he was awarded the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize for using digital technology to transform large lectures into small seminars. His area of interest is learning environments, with an emphasis on transformative teaching and learning enabled by technology. He earned his PhD in education and social policy at Northwestern University.

Nancy Benovich Gilby is the Ehrenberg Director of Entrepreneurship and an adjunct clinical associate professor in the School of Information. Benovich Gilby is a two-time Michigan alum, having earned both her BSE and MSE in computer engineering here. In 2007 she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. She has held major roles in information technology companies since 1987, with numerous successful startups to her credit.

Elena Godin is now a lecturer III in the School of Information, after several years teaching as an adjunct lecturer. She has worked as web administrator and graphic artist at the university since 2004, most recently at the School of Education, where she received the Outstanding Staff Award in 2009. She will be teaching two sections of SI 520: Graphic Design and SI 320, a new undergraduate course in graphic design.

Erik Hofer returns to UMSI after two years with the university’s Medical School Information Services, where he served as learning program director and director of the Office of Enabling Technologies. Hofer fills a new position as chief information officer and clinical assistant professor. He has been an adjunct lecturer at UMSI for several years, where he earned his MSI in 2002.

Sile O’Modhrain, an associate professor of performing arts technology in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, will hold a joint appointment with the School of Information starting this fall. She holds a PhD in computer-based music theory from Stanford University. Her research focuses on haptics — touch and gesture — and its relationship to music performance and on the†development of new interfaces for technology-enhanced instruments that extend the boundaries of musical expression.

Kentaro Toyama joins UMSI as an associate professor in January, 2015. He has been recommended to fill the post of W.K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information, pending regental approval. He is a senior researcher in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. Until 2010, Toyama was assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India, which he co-founded in 2005 and where he started the technology for emerging markets research group. He earned his PhD in computer science at Yale.

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