IST Mission and Objectives
Our mission is to educate students to meet the challenges of the 21st century information age, to conduct leading‐edge research that integrates people, information and technology, and to perform service to address global problems and challenges.
At IST, we’re about creating intelligence. The digital age has made the world smaller, faster, more interactive and increasingly mobile. But no matter how fast and smart machines become, they still rely on the power of human creativity. It’s people that create new ways to look at and evaluate the infinite opportunities of the digital age. IST draws on a variety of knowledge disciplines to help individuals unlock the power of their own creativity and fuel the world’s most powerful problem solving machine—the human mind.
The School of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) was founded in 1997 based on a need perceived by the University and advisors from government and industry for educating students in the emerging field of information sciences and technology. The School was charged with producing graduates having knowledge of information technologies and the capability to work in teams to understand how information technologies can be utilized in real applications involving individuals, organizations, and national or global enterprises. The School was renamed as a College in 2006.
Current State of the College:
The first 14 years of the College have been one of significant growth and maturation. Starting with five key faculty members at University Park and an initial enrollment of less than 100 undergraduate students, the College has grown to be offered at 19 campus locations around the Commonwealth, supported by 153 faculty members, with an undergraduate student enrollment of 2100 students (584 of these are non‐resident, degree‐seeking undergraduate students through the World Campus). There are 120 resident M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students at the University Park campus and an additional 283 degree‐seeking graduate students pursuing online masters of professional studies. Academic offerings include: a two‐year undergraduate program; two B.S. degrees —Information Sciences and Technology and Security and Risk Analysis (SRA); a B.A. degree in Information Sciences and Technology; and a resident, academic M.S. degree and Ph.D. degree in Information Sciences and Technology. Non‐resident Masters of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) degrees are offered in Information Sciences, Homeland Security, and Enterprise Architecture.
Strategy and Objectives:
From inception, the college has focused on understanding the interplay of information, technology and humans. We believe four major trends will create both educational and research opportunities: 1) The Internet of things; 2) Mobile computing and sensing; 3) Big Data—the explosion of online heterogeneous data; and 4) New forms of risk—cyber insecurity and information privacy. Research opportunities include the blending of human and computer‐based cognition, fusion of sensor data with human observations, big data informatics and analytics, and modeling the interplay among the physical, cyber and human landscapes. Interdisciplinary research will drive major advances in areas such as medicine, energy, environmental monitoring and crisis management, but will require transcending academic boundaries, linking lab‐based data with online global data sets. Meeting these challenges will require leveraging expertise of practicing professionals and citizen scientists.
IST will expand online learning to achieve a level of 1100 undergraduate students and 750 graduate students while increasing the number of resident undergraduates at University Park to 1200 students. We will develop service‐based online materials in areas such as computer security, data analytics, and entrepreneurship resources. Research will focus on improving our leadership in cyber‐security, human computer interaction, the science of design, computational informatics, health and bio‐informatics, discovery informatics and big data analytics. We will focus on new educational initiatives that blend online, in‐class, and hybrid learning; create a new research center in Discovery Analytics and Informatics; and grow our faculty to meet the added research and educational demands. Major opportunities exist in cross‐discipline collaboration with the Institutes of Cyber Science, the Huck Institute for the Life Sciences, and the Institute for Personalized Medicine.