Published: June 2, 2015
Leysia Palen

The College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado Boulder is proud to introduce its newest department, the Department of Information Science, and to announce the appointment of six founding faculty members who will begin at CU-Boulder in fall 2015: Jed Brubaker, Casey Fiesler, Michael J. Paul, Danielle Albers Szafir, Amy Voida and Stephen Voida.

The discipline of information science has been growing rapidly since the 2000s, with many university departments growing out of existing library schools. CU-Boulder enters the scene with a fresh focus by recognizing that the study, practice and design of human-data interaction are becoming central in our lives.  

The Department of Information Science is built on the idea that data are generated by our individual and interpersonal interactions with digital media and that those data become the sites of production and innovation for many forms of enterprise—commercial, societal, individual, and corporate. Digital traces create new opportunities—some of which are problematic and must be clearly understood—for understanding and leveraging human behavior in new ways. Communities can discern disease trajectories across populations. Companies can anticipate how clients will react to new products. Humanitarians responding to disasters can detect where people need the most help. For-profit and not-for-profit entrepreneurs can build software applications and quickly evaluate how their users interact with them. Large institutions can uncover how they distribute resources. Large bodies of musical scores and historical texts and can be made digitally available to worldwide audiences using engaging data visualization techniques.

In the workforce of the future, our undergraduates will need to demonstrate versatility in collecting, managing and analyzing data. We work to a vision of the future in which everyone is a data analyst. This requires empirical, computational, social, ethical and critical understandings of our relationship with all things digital, including the digital traces of interactions with software, hardware and algorithms. Students will need to know how to design and build effective and engaging technology and to deploy, measure and monitor its impact. Analytics and design will therefore come together in an integrated cycle of development.

We welcome your interest and participation as we grow and develop our new programs. The Department will begin offering courses for BS and PhD programs in information science in fall 2016. An MS program is currently expected to launch in fall 2018.

Please find us on Facebook and at @CUBoulderInfoSc on Twitter where we will post announcements about program planning in our first year. We look forward to hearing from you!

Professor Leysia Palen
Founding Chair
Department of Information Science