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University of Michigan School of Information

Thomas Finholt

Thomas Finholt

Dean and Professor of Information, School of Information Email: Phone: 734/647-3576
Office: School of Information/4315 North Quad Faculty Role: Faculty Potential PhD Faculty Advisor: Yes


Thomas A. Finholt is a professor and dean of the School of Information. He joined the University of Michigan in 1991 as an assistant professor in the department of psychology. From 1997 to the present, his faculty appointments from assistant research scientist to professor have been in the School of Information. 

In addition to his teaching and research, he has held several administrative appointments in the School of Information, including: associate dean for research and innovation (2006-2010); senior associate dean for faculty (2010-2012); senior associate dean for academic affairs (2012-2015); acting dean (2013); and interim dean (2015-2016). He was appointed dean in April 2016.  His priorities as dean include expanding the number of online courses and degrees offered by UMSI, diversifying the pipeline for information technology employment, and applying research at UMSI to increase civic engagement and to improve the quality of online public discourse.

Finholt was a co-founder and then director of the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work (CREW).  Starting in the mid-1990s and continuing for twenty years, CREW pioneered the study of human-computer interaction in organizational settings, including research on many applications that are now commonplace, such as video conferencing and shared document editing.

His current research contributions include the organization of a network of faculty across thirteen units on campus to develop an augmented/virtual/mixed reality strategy for the university. He is also active in the sports analytics initiative, where students from various disciplines work with trainers and coaches in U-M Athletics to analyze athletes’ health, safety and performance using data gathered from wearable devices.

Finholt received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Swarthmore College and a doctorate in social and decision sciences from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to completing his Ph.D., he held a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.   

Areas of interest

My current research focuses on: the energy costs of forming and maintaining social ties; computational mediation of trust in virtual organizations; and use of ultra-resolution collaboration environments. 


B.A. in History, Swarthmore College

Ph.D. in Social and Decision Science, Carnegie Mellon University


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