All actions have consequences, even unintended ones. That’s especially true for designers who create new computer technologies for the world to use. Their work – intentionally or not – could produce more harm than help. Don Norman, professor emeritus of computer science at Northwestern Engineering and co-founder of the Segal Design Institute’s Master of Engineering Design Innovation program, sounded the warning during the December 4 virtual roundtable, “HCI + Design Thought Leaders Lecture: Pluriversal Design.” The event was hosted by Liz Gerber, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and associate professor in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The coronavirus pandemic has had profound impacts on the research community, both in terms of who is able to participate and the efficacy of the standard methods of data collection. Yet assistant professor Elizabeth Norton has discovered one advantage in the resulting social separation: gathering certain data via video chats can be just as effective, if not more so, as doing so in-person. This is not only a boon to Norton’s work with children and language development, it’s a meaningful step toward increasing access and equity in researching underrepresented and underserved populations.
Robin R. Means Coleman has been named Northwestern University’s vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, Provost Kathleen Hagerty announced today following a national search. Coleman will begin Feb. 1. Coleman will hold a tenured appointment as the inaugural Ida B. Wells and Ferdinand Barnett Professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Communication, and courtesy appointments in the Department of Radio/TV/Film in the School of Communication, and in the Department of African American Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Noshir Contractor, renowned professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Communication, will become the president of the International Communication Association (ICA) effective May 2022, the organization announced on October 16. Contractor is a foremost researcher of network science, computational social science, and web science, specifically examining how social and knowledge networks form in business, scientific communities, healthcare, and space travel. He is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communication, and the Kellogg School of Management and director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group.
In his first public event as dean, E. Patrick Johnson screened his award-winning 2019 documentary, Making Sweet Tea, and took part in a live virtual discussion with Miriam Petty, film historian and associate professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film. The October 1 event was open to alumni and members of the School of Communication community.
An invitation to teach in the School of Communication is a coveted honor, yet for post-doctoral fellows, PhD candidates, and early career faculty, the process can be fraught with questions about resources, pathways to advancement, and research funding. To address these concerns, the School will launch this fall CommFutures: The SoC Mentoring and Development Initiative, a program of conversations and workshops designed to provide guidance and support to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty just beginning in their fields.
School of Communication Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Education Madhu Reddy is a co-recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health ALACRITY Center grant. It will fund three major projects with area medical centers to explore digital mental health interventions for young people, pregnant women, and older adults.
E. Patrick Johnson has achieved many firsts in his lifetime. He was a first-generation college student and the first African American from his hometown to receive a doctorate. He was the first African American to be hired and tenured in Northwestern’s Department of Performance Studies, and the first to be given a named professorship in the School of Communication (SoC). Today, he was named the next dean of SoC, the first African American to hold that role. He will take over as dean Aug. 1, succeeding Barbara O’Keefe.