UMSI welcomes new fall faculty

Six new faculty members join the School of Information in fall 2015. These researchers and educators bring additional breadth and depth to the school’s academic programs, with research interests that include communication in organizations, social and information networks, learning analytics and intelligent systems. 

Casey Pierce, assistant professor, earned her PhD at Northwestern University's School of Communication in the Media, Technology, and Society program. Her research focuses on how individuals in organizational contexts use advanced communication and information technologies to manage, create and share knowledge. She has several ongoing research projects related to this interest, including how workers communicate and coordinate their work through different types of objects and artifacts, including software, policy texts and artistic digital works. Additionally, she is interested in understanding the communication practices that shape technology design and use. Pierce received her BA in psychology and MA in communication management from the University of Southern California.

In Fall 2015, she will teach SI 627: Managing the IT Organization.

Daniel Romero, who has been a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at UMSI since 2014, begins an assistant professor position in fall 2015. He holds courtesy appointments in the departments for the Study of Complex Systems and Computer Science and Engineering. He earned a PhD in applied mathematics at Cornell University and an MS and BS in mathematics at Arizona State University.

His main research interest is the empirical and theoretical analysis of social and information networks. He is particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms involved in network evolution, information diffusion and user interactions on the Web.

In Fall 2015, he will teach SI 301: Models of Social Information Processing.

Stephen Oney joins UMSI as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Information. His research concerns the ways in which human-computer interaction (HCI) techniques can improve programming languages and environment. He received his PhD and MS from Carnegie Mellon University in human-computer interaction and earned an MEng and BS in computer science and BS in mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As of October 1, Christopher Brooks will become a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Information. Since 2013, he has been a Research Fellow and Research Investigator with the school. His research interests include how learning analytics can be applied to human-computer interaction through educational data mining, machine learning and information visualization. He received his doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan.

The following two individuals will hold courtesy appointments in the School of Information beginning in Fall 2015:

Walter S. Lasecki is an assistant professor in the College of Engineering. He creates interactive intelligent systems that are robust enough to be used in real-world settings by combining both human and machine intelligence to exceed the capabilities of either. Dr. Lasecki received a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from Virginia Tech in 2010, and an MS from the University of Rochester in 2011, and a PhD in computer science from the University of Rochester. He was named a Microsoft Research PhD Fellow in 2013 and has held visiting research positions at Stanford and Google. Since 2013, he has been a Visiting Researcher at Carnegie Mellon University.

Perry Samson is an Arthur Thurnau professor in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (College of Engineering) and a professor in the Center for Entrepreneurship. He was honored in 2010 as “Distinguished Professor of the Year” by the President’s Council of Universities in the State of Michigan. His courses cover a range of subjects, from air quality and meteorology to ownership issues for entrepreneurs. He also annually leads undergraduates on expeditions to study tornadic thunderstorms.

He and his students created Weather Underground, which was later sold to He is also the creator of LectureTools, later sold to Echo360, which many educators use to create more active and interactive learning environments in lecture classes.

Posted on September 3, 2015