Thomas A. Finholt
Interim Dean, School of Information
Professor of Information
Connecting people, transforming lives
We are one of the first modern information schools, embedded in one of the world’s premier research universities. We create and share knowledge so that people will use information -- with technology -- to build a better world.
We are a community of scholars, dedicated teachers, students, and professional staff who share a commitment to excellence and a desire to make a difference in people's lives.
In our research we answer exciting and pressing questions about the effects of digital technology on social, cultural, political, and commercial life. For example, are family and friendship ties strengthened or weakened by social networking? Why do people lend money online to strangers in the developing world, or donate time and effort to edit Wikipedia entries? We also design new systems and technologies to improve lives, such as safe e-communities that support and motivate diabetes patients and mobile phone technology to improve food distribution in impoverished regions.
As teachers we prepare students for leadership roles in business and non-profits, public service, research, and education, in the midst of one of the most exciting and promising technological transformations the world has ever seen.
Our undergraduate degree in informatics (offered jointly with the College of Engineering and the College of Literature, Science and Arts) prepares young minds to go beyond using social networks for fun, to understanding the promise and challenges of social computing. We prepare them to be critical thinkers about the use of information and its technologies to support humans in their social interactions. They go on to careers in all areas, or to graduate school in many fields.
Our master's program emphasizes hands-on education. When they graduate, our master's students have the skills of an information professional, prepared to enable people to access, manipulate and use the information they need, when and where they need it, to make the world a better place.
Our Ph.D. program in information science is a path-breaking re-invention of the field. Students build a multidisciplinary foundation based on knowledge from the social and behavioral sciences, computing science and information science. They acquire more specialized advanced skills and then apply their skills to multidisciplinary research that generates new knowledge of human interactions with information and its technologies.
Our world-class faculty bring backgrounds and insights from fields as diverse as psychology, computer science, economics, history, library science, statistics, communications, and management. They have international reputations in areas from social networking to reputation and recommender systems, from advanced digital archiving to information literacy education in the US and developing countries.
Our graduates are user-experience engineers and Web designers, information policy analysts, librarians and archivists, entrepreneurs, consultants, records managers, and information architects. In the Information Age, all organizations have mission-critical information needs, and our students are ideally positioned to meet them, or to teach future generations while doing innovative research.
Welcome to a spirited community of scholars and researchers who comprise the foremost educational institution in social engagement information and computing.