Pitt SIS E-mail

A Letter from Dean Larsen

Dear iSchool Alumni,

As I write this, it is increasingly clear that 2017 is an exciting time for the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the School of Information Sciences. Our school is embarking on an exciting new path, one that will result in creation of a pioneering school that will push the boundaries of our disciplines and our professions.

The new School of Computing and Information (SCI) will officially open in July 2017, and we will welcome our first class of “SCI” students for the fall 2017 term. These students will be enrolling in a school dedicated to education, research, and service that transforms how people find, use, and preserve information, joining more than 13,000 iSchool alumni. They will learn from scientists, engineers, and humanists, gaining the knowledge and skills to advance health care, shape government policy, and confront new world challenges.

They will be part of a growing learning community, as we bring on board new faculty to expand our teaching and research capacity. They will benefit from a school that leverages expertise in computing and the information science domains to accelerate discovery in other fields including medicine, education, urban growth, and smart cities.

In planning for the new school, we called this “contextually-situated computing,” or “computing in context.” By this, we observe that major advances impacting society’s use of information will increasingly require strong collaboration between disciplinary experts and information scientists. For example, technology holds the potential to enhance the quality of life, helping people to live healthier and more satisfying lives, but we can only achieve this outcome through partnerships that engage health care experts with information professionals. Such partnerships can also tackle other challenges, such as exploring how computing can help make our cities safer, more vibrant places to live, and how personalized education can adapt to make learning more effective at an individual level. Short of being comprehensive, these opportunities are intended to merely suggest areas of potential impact of SCI.

Capitalizing on such opportunities builds on partnerships and scholarly collaboration with other Pitt units and regional organizations. If you, or your corporation/organization, wish to explore enhanced interaction with the administration, faculty, and students of the School of Computing and Information, please feel free to contact Amy Herlich, our Director of Constituent Relations.
I hope that you share my enthusiasm as we approach the launch of SCI in July.  The faculty, staff, and students of SIS and the Department of Computer Science are energized by the creation of this new school, and we look forward to sharing this amazing journey with you, our alumni.


Ronald L. Larsen
Dean and Professor
School of Information Sciences

Upcoming Events

Diversifying our Computing and Information Professions
CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap documentary

Thursday, March 2
4 p.m.
Twentieth Century Club

We are proud to host a screening of the highly touted documentary, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. Join us for a showing of the film, which critics call “a great conversation starter about how to create a more inclusive work environment.” The event will include a presentation by the film’s director/producer, Robin Hauser Reynolds, and will take place on March 2, 2017, at the historic Twentieth Century Club (adjacent to Pitt’s campus). The event begins at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. RSVP here.

It is estimated that by 2020, there will be 1 million unfilled software engineering jobs in this country.  The CODE documentary explores the reasons why more females and people from underrepresented groups are not seeking tech opportunities. Hauser, through interviews with Silicon Valley leaders, discovered the systemic, pervasive, and complex barriers to entry into tech fields faced by women and people of color. She notes “Mindsets, stereotypes, clogs in the educational pipeline, startup culture, lack of role models and sexism all play important roles in this mounting gender, ethnicity and economic issue.” The documentary offers inspiring stories of women who are challenging the cultural and educational obstacles as well as women’s self-perceptions, which led to this societal crisis.

CODE premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was lauded by AFI Docs and the Women’s Independent Film Festival.  Hauser is a director and producer of cause-based documentary films at Finish Line Features, LLC and Unleashed Productions, Inc. A businesswoman, photographer, and social entrepreneur, she brings her leadership skills as well as a creative eye and passion to her documentary film projects. Hauser is currently directing and producing Bias, a documentary about unconscious bias and how it affects the ways we hire, promote, and fund. Previously, Robin co-directed and produced the documentary feature, Running for Jim, which won 14 awards at 20 film festivals. As Director of CODE, Hauser has been featured in national publications including Wired, Forbes, Fortune, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. For more information about CODE, visit the film’s Web site.

The School of Information Sciences is pleased to provide a platform for discussing how we can make the computing and information professions more welcoming and accessible to women and those from underrepresented groups. Our academic and professional fields demand this diversity in order to produce innovative solutions to real-world problems.

iSchool Monthly Social Hour
Friday, March 3
5 – 7p.m.
IS Building, 3rd Floor

Join current students, faculty, and staff for our monthly iSchool Social hour. As always, you can expect food, games, music, fun, and more!

SIS hosted its annual weeklong iFest event

Earlier this month, the iSchool hosted its annual iFest event. Since 2005, iFest has been the iSchool’s premiere event to engage students, faculty, employers, and the Pittsburgh community in the information sciences. This year, nearly 300 students, faculty, employers, and alumni attended the various events throughout the week. Read more >

Meet our faculty

Since joining the School of Information Sciences faculty in 2010, Konstantinos (Kostas) Pelechrinis has expanded the School’s research and education programs from wireless network security to the broader fields of network science and computational urban science. After successfully completing his PhD at the University of California Riverside, Kostas began teaching SIS courses on network management, computer networks, and applications of networks. His first grant supported his work on maintaining trust in Wireless Networks. Read more >

SIS is heading to Wuhan for iConference 2017

Numerous representatives from SIS will be attending this year’s iConference in Wuhan, China from March 22 through the 25. This year’s theme is “Effect. Expand. Evolve: Global collaboration across the Information Community.” Read more >

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