Enrolling its first students in 1999, the College of Information Sciences and Technology currently welcomes more than 2,100 resident students statewide and nearly 1,500 students taking IST courses online through Penn State World Campus. These students are mentored by more than 150 faculty members, who drive collaborative research discovery and provide residential and online instruction for associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
Our mission is to educate students who can meet the challenges of the 21st century Information Age; conduct leading-edge research integrating people, information, and technology; and carry out service activities that address global problems and challenges.
From its inception, IST has focused on leveraging the interplay of information, technology, and humans. In the next five years, four major trends will drive the College’s progress in education, research, and outreach: 1) The Internet of things; 2) Mobile computing and sensing; 3) Big data—the explosion of digital heterogeneous data; and 4) New forms of risk involving 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 search and retrieval, aggregation and analytics, and modeling the interplay among the physical, cyber and human landscapes. The resulting interdisciplinary research will drive major advances in areas such as medicine, energy, environmental monitoring, and crisis management, but will require transcending academic boundaries and the linking of lab-based data with online global datasets that are complex, multimodal, and evolving. Meeting these challenges will require the complementary expertise and efforts of researchers, practicing professionals and citizen scientists. IST’s education and outreach programs will prepare individuals within each of these population segments.