SIS Talks 2018

The School of Information Science resumed its guest lecture series this Spring. The talks are organized by David Nemer, assistant professor of information communication technology to promote community building, collaboration, and education in the information science field. This semester featured three professors, including: Austin Toombs, assistant professor at Purdue University; Brandi Frisby, associate professor at the University of Kentucky, and Virginia Eubanks, associate professor at the University of Albany, SUNY. 

Austin Toombs, Assistant Professor at Purdue University


Austin Toombs, Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics Technology within the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University delivered the first School of Information Science talk of the spring semester. His talk, From Hackerspaces to Parent Groups: Everyday Care in Sociotechnical Communities, focuses on maker and hacker identities, hackerspaces, and groups for new parents to unpack how people use technologies and technology ecosystems to care for each other, their neighbors, and their communities in an "everyday" sense.

Toombs earned a master's degree and Ph.D. in Informatics from Indiana University and holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Ball State University. Previously, Toombs worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Open Lab at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. His professional experiences includes an internship at LexisNexis where he developed information visualization techniques to be used in analyzing user experience reports and interactive mockups of mobile versions of LexisNexis systems and a software development position at the Institute for Digital Entertainment and Education. Toombs research focus is about how digital technologies impact how communities are formed and maintained. He is particularly interested in the role that sociotechnical system designs play in and how interpersonal relationships are sanctioned within a community. 





Brandi Frisby, Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky

Brandi N. Frisby (Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2010) is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Science in the College of Communication and Information, the H. Lester Reynolds Endowed Professor of Engineering, and the directors of the graduate certificate in Instructional Communication. Her primary area of research is in instructional communication with a particular emphasis on how an instructor-student interpersonal relationship can influence student engagement and learning. Her research has been published in national and international journals including Communication Education, Computers and Education, the Basic Course Annual, Journal of Online Learning and teaching, and Communication Teacher, among others. 

Her talk, The Role of Technology in Effective Instruction: Research at the Intersection of ICR and ICT, presents a series of studies on technology use in te classroom that were designed to address specific and prevalent teaching issues and provides empirically supported pedagogical strategies to achieve the ultimate goal - student learning. The way in which courses are taught has shifted to meet administrative needs surrounding financial constraints, physical space, human resource challenges, ever-increasing enrollment, and consumer mindsets of students and parents. This shift has created a plethora of issues that instructors encounter ranging from building relationship with and between students, negotiating technology policies, encouraging participation in the classroom, and enhancing student learning. 




Virginia Eubanks, Associate Professor at University of Albany, SUNY


Virginia Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor; Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age; and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in The American Prospect, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired. For two decades, Eubanks has worked in community technology and economic justice movements. Today, she is a founding member of the Our Data Bodies Project and a Fellow at New America. She lives in Troy, NY.

Today, automated systems control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain needed resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data analytics, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor. In her new book Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. The book is full of gut-wrenching and eye-opening stories, from a woman in Indiana whose benefits are literally cut off as she lays dying to a family in Pennsylvania in daily fear of losing their daughter because they fit a certain statistical profile. "This book is downright scary," says Naomi Klein, "but with its striking research and moving, indelible will emerge smarter and more empowered to demand justice." 

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