Published: July 2, 2015

The ATLAS Institute has hired three new tenure-track faculty members for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year, reflecting the new leadership’s increased emphasis on research. “We are cultivating a vibrant community of creative technologists and artists at ATLAS, and we’re excited about the new ideas and possibilities these individuals open up,” said ATLAS Director Mark D Gross.

Ben ShapiroBen Shapiro joins ATLAS from Tufts University, where he has been the McDonnell Family Professor of Engineering Education. At Tufts, his research group, the Laboratory for Playful Computation, focused on the design of playful learning environments. He studies computational systems, like video games, simulations and social media with the goals of helping learners explore, develop and express their personal interests; create new technologies for learning; and investigate how students and teachers work and learn together.


Dan SzafirDan Szafir joins ATLAS from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he recently completed a PhD in computer science. His research explores novel technologies, including brain-computer interfaces, head-mounted displays such as Google Glass and small, free-flying robots. His research goals include improving and refining usability and outcomes for learning and collaboration. His wife, Danielle Albers Szafir, also joins the CU-Boulder faculty as assistant professor of information science in the College of Media, Communication and Information.

Joel SwansonJoel Swanson, a longtime ATLAS senior instructor and director of the Technology, Arts and Media program, moves into an ATLAS assistant professor role. The new position is part of the College of Engineering’s Herbst program for the Humanities, with primary duties at ATLAS. The change recognizes Swanson’s emerging national reputation as an artist.

Although three new tenure-track faculty represents dramatic growth for ATLAS, Gross says there are more in the pipeline. “Watch this creative space,” he quips.