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The NSF-Funded 2019 CSST Summer Research Institute Boosts Emerging Scholar Development in Sociotechnical Systems and Critical Informatics Research

The 2019 CSST Summer Research Institute provides mentoring and professional development to highly promising late-phase doctoral students and emerging scholars in sociotechnical systems and critical informatics research communities.

Today’s complex sociotechnical systems impact our lives, livelihoods, personal health and well-being in multiple ways. The Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems Researchers (CSST) is a distributed community of researchers and practitioners from academia and industry, collectively committed to addressing social challenges and ethical questions related to computing, through cutting edge research.  CSST researchers pursue investigations about society and technology together, known as sociotechnical systems. This community generates recommendations about the social, ethical, and political implications of technology use as well as the creation, implementation and repurposing of computerized tools to address societal-level problems.  

Since 2008, CSST has fostered a social network of leading socio-technical scholars from across North America and internationally.  CSST’s major activity is a yearly summer institute in which established scholars in the field present new research and mentor promising new scholars (PhD, postdoctoral and early career faculty). The event features research coordination, networking, and professional development opportunities for emerging scholars that has contributed to more than a decade of outstanding career successes among the hundreds of institute participants.

This year, Rutgers University's iSchool, the School of Communication and Information (SC&I), was chosen to host the 2019 Summer Institute, co-organized by SC&I Associate Professor Rebecca Reynolds, and Morgan Ames, lecturer in data science and STS at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. The institute will be held at Rutgers University from June 18-22, 2019. The event will feature cutting-edge research on cross-disciplinary themes including the emergence of new forms of work; information access; energy management; climate change; civic hacking, civic engagement and government; critical informatics and culture; design values, ethics and justice; disaster response; cybersecurity and privacy; education informatics and learning analytics; open innovation; eScience and citizen science; co-production and open source; and other themes intersecting with socio-technical systems infrastructure research.

The summer institute has received support from the following sources:

The primary goals of the summer institute are to mentor participants by connecting them with experts in sociotechnical science; encourage and support the selection of sociotechnical research topics and the use of sociotechnical research methods; encourage interdisciplinary approaches to research; illustrate the diversity of sociotechnical research; and grow the supportive and vibrant research community of scholars studying the sociotechnical.

Assisted by a steering committee of several long-standing scholarly innovators in this area, Reynolds and Ames will bring together scholars from intellectual communities including human-computer interaction, computer-supportive cooperative work and social computing, organization studies, information visualization, social informatics, sociology, communication, information systems, medical informatics, computer science, ICT for development, education, learning science, journalism, and political science to mentor, advise, and work with emerging scholars during the four-day event.

“In this age of ‘intelligent systems’ and algorithmic decision-making, sociotechnical perspectives – which deeply understand both technical systems and their social implications – are more important than ever. This event is the leading site for networking and professionalization on this topic, and for more than a decade has been pivotal in developing leading scholars contributing to a more user-friendly, inclusive, and morally just world.” –Morgan Ames

“I participated as an emerging scholar in CSST Summer Institute in 2011, and after all that has transpired since then socio-technologically, alongside world environmental and political events, and my own research trajectory, I can easily declare that this event was squarely pivotal in setting me up for success as a contemporary information science researcher. Similar to other past participants, through this networking my eyes were opened to a range of new research methods, approaches and ways of thinking about phenomena across levels of analysis that I had not yet encountered in my doctoral work.”–Rebecca Reynolds

SC&I's Associate Dean for Research Mark Aakhus said, "It is exciting that the summer institute has received support from several funders who note the importance of this work, including the National Science Foundation (NSF). Many of the summer institute’s goals, including sociotechnical research approaches and the work of the participating community of scholars, are closely aligned with several of NSF’s '10 Big Ideas,' specifically, the future of work, growing convergence research, and harnessing the Data Revolution."

The universities sending emerging scholars to the 2019 CSST Summer Research Institute include:

Carnegie Mellon University
Catholic University of Louvain - Belgium
Cornell University
Drexel University
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
Kutztown University
Massachusets Institute of Technology (MIT)
McGill University
Michigan State University
New Mexico State University
Northwestern University
Open University of the Netherlands
Penn State University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rutgers University
The University of Texas at Austin
University of British Columbia
University of California-Berkeley
University of California-Irvine
University of California-San Diego
University of Central Florida
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
University of Maryland, College Park
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Southern California
University of Toronto
University of Washington
University of Zurich, Switzerland
Utah State University
York University, Toronto

CSST and the Summer Institute are also dedicated to working to broaden participation in science and engineering, as they recognize that sociotechnical studies thrive on bringing together diverse points of view to foster innovation. To this end, Reynolds and Ames actively recruited participants for the institute from underrepresented groups and strive for broad inclusion.

“It is exciting that through the generous funds donated from NSF, ACM SIGCHI Development Fund, Spotify and our academic iSchool co-sponsors, the Summer Institute tradition will be continued at Rutgers this year. CSST community-building has continued fast forwarding in the 8 years since I was a ‘camper.’ As an associate professor now, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play co-host to this year’s new class of extremely high-powered participants and our amazing mentor group, as we all continue to grow together, in the quality and rigor of our scholarship, and, in our increasingly awakened consciousness of the importance of scholarly work at these intersections.”  –Rebecca Reynolds

For more information about the Rutgers School of Communication and Information (SC&I) click here.

To learn more about SC&I's Master of Information program click here, and to discover how to major in Information Technology and Informatics (ITI) at SC&I, click here


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