Welcome students and faculty!

Posted on: August 27, 2014

As the Chairperson of the Department of Media and Information I want to extend a very warm welcome to all new and returning students! You are joining a dynamic, interdisciplinary and energetic community of researchers, creators, and teachers united by a passion for all aspects of media and information. A member of the iSchools Consortium, our department offers an environment of engaged learning and scholarship. Our creative and research faculty explore and study the next frontiers of media and information technology, innovative applications and services, and create arts and culture.

Teaching is an integral part of our mission and we passionately work with undergraduate and graduate students. I invite you to take advantage of it and become an active member of our community of learners. Engage in department activities (we always look for student representatives to create a better department and college), join one of our student groups (MSU Telecasters, ASCOT, Spartasoft), play in the Media Sandbox, and attend the many talks given by entrepreneurs, professionals and leading thinkers in the field.

The department’s main energy comes from our world-class junior and senior faculty. All of our professors had a busy and productive summer. Their work during the past months will greatly benefit future teaching and further enhance the vibrant learning environment in the department. Presenting all achievements would be a rather long document. So let me highlight but a few of the impressive activities of our faculty with more to come on an ongoing basis.

At the outset, I would like to welcome to our three new faculty members. William H. Dutton joined us from the University of Oxford to become the Quello Chair and Quello Center Director. Taiwoo Park relocated from the Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI) to MSU and Young (Anna) Lee joined us from Fordham University in New York. We look forward to working with you and to your contributions to our teaching and scholarship!

Literally all our faculty members and many graduate students presented their latest research at leading national and international conferences during the summer, including at the ICA in Seattle (several presentations including Robert LaRose, Shelia Cotten, Wei Peng, and Robby Ratan); CHI in Toronto; SOUPS; CPR LATAM in Bogotá, Colombia; AEJMC in Montreal, Canada; IAMCR in Hyderabad, India; and the ASA in San Francisco. Several of our students won prizes for their papers (Hsin-yi Sandy Tsai, Young June Sah). Robby Ratan presented his work to researchers at Google and on a lecture tour in Europe. Steve Wildman share his media economics insights as a visiting professor in Hamburg, Germany.

Many of us continued to work on externally funded research grants at home and abroad, including work in Malawi (Chip Steinfield, Susan Wyche), Tanzania and Zambia (Jenny Olson). Brian Winn worked on NASA and NIH-funded projects; Shelia Cotten continued her research on technology use across the life course funded by NSF and NIH, and Casey O’Donnell was busy with an NSF-funded project. Mark Levy finished the final report documenting his work on the uses and effects of mobile technology on women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Indonesia. Wei Peng and Robby Ratan continued their experimental studies, while Carrie Heeter developed innovative approaches to cybermeditation.

Emilee Rader and Rick Wash continued work on their NSF-funded grants in the BITLab. As part of these grants, Rick and Emilee make Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) available. These well-paid summer internships take much time to organize but they offer great opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research. Work starts early in the year and continues through the spring when more than 180 applicants have to be reviewed, work has to be organized, and the young researchers have to be trained and guided in their efforts. Katie Hoban, one of the undergraduates, won a Distinguished Poster Award at the SOUPS conference.

In addition to ongoing research, several grant proposals that had been submitted earlier in the year were recommended for funding. Constantinos Coursaris serves as a co-PI on a large award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI0; Susan Wyche’s work has received funding from USAID; and Brian Winn and the GEL Lab received additional funding from the Frankel Jewish Academy. Jina Huh’s NIH K01 proposal was recommended for funding, as was the NSF proposal by Wietske van Osch and Chip Steinfield.

Department faculty was active in several summer programs. Amol Pavangadkar inaugurated a highly successful summer program in “Bollywood”, India. Constantinos Coursaris and Wietske van Osch led study abroad programs in Japan and South Korea. Troy Hale participated in the Media summer Program in London. Others taught on campus. Amanda Krueger and her team, including faculty members Andrew Dennis, Casey O’Donnell, Lisa Whiting Dobson, Jon Whiting, and many others provided an exciting experience for more than 200 middle and high school students who attended this year’s Media Summer Camps. Valeta Wensloff, Patrick Shaw, and David McCarty taught our online summer courses, important to allow students to continue their studies even while working on distant internships, while Bob Albers delivered his introduction to Story and Motion on campus.

Faculty affiliated with our department won several awards. William H. Dutton was named the 2014 winner of the William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award, presented by the Communication and Information Technologies section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA). Troy Hale won another Emmy this summer, bringing the total to 20! Several Media Sandbox students, some from Bob Albers’ Fiction Film course and others from the Documentary Film course, showed their short films at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Welcome to our new students and welcome back to all others! I look forward to working with you this coming year!

Johannes M. Bauer
Professor and Chairperson

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