Dean's Welcome | College of Information Sciences and Technology
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Dean's Welcome

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A note from Dean Andrew Sears

Andrew Sears

The College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) is dedicated to solving problems at the intersection of information, technology, and people. Our goal–from the college’s founding to the years ahead–is to better understand how rapidly evolving information technologies can be used to help individuals and organizations make better decisions, identify and develop new business opportunities, and protect their increasingly valuable information. In short, our faculty and students are changing the way people communicate, live, work, and play.

In the classroom, our undergraduate and graduate students experience a student-centric, problem-based learning approach grounded in theory and brought to life through real-world problems from industry, government, and non-profits. Our curriculum challenges students to blend technological expertise with skills in business, computer science, psychology, engineering, sociology, mathematics, law, and other fields. And their knowledge is complemented with a focus on teamwork and communication.

Outside the classroom, IST students have made an impact in a number of ways, both in their local communities and around the globe. They’ve participated in hurricane response efforts to understand how information is shared in an emergency. They’ve lived in refugee camps and on Native American reservations to assess how technology, entrepreneurship, and social issues intertwine. They’ve developed an application aimed at providing 3-D printed medical supplies at a low-cost to health care facilities in developing countries. And they’ve won national challenges and presented on global stages to showcase their knowledge in competitions sponsored by Fortune 500 companies like IBM, Vodafone, and L’Oreal. Their work takes them from classrooms to labs, server rooms to board rooms, and everywhere in between.

Our graduates obtain rewarding and well-paying jobs with large and small companies and government agencies. They lead in technology, consulting, government, health care, finance, and academia, where they achieve success with organizations like Google, Microsoft, SpaceX, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Adobe, the NSA, the FBI, and the Big Four accounting firms. Some IST graduates choose to define their own paths. We’ve had graduates start their own companies, such as Weebly, which powers over 50 million web sites and was sold to Square in 2018, and Tuft & Needle, which helped redefine how people buy mattresses and was sold to Serta Simmons Bedding in 2018. We’ve also had graduates join Facebook, Snap, Airbnb, and other companies as they were just getting started.

Our faculty are motivated by the transformative research opportunities. As new technologies evolve and permeate every aspect of our lives, the quantity of information captured increases and new challenges emerge. These technologies have a dramatic and positive impact, but they can also be used to invade our privacy, enable cyberbullying, and coordinate criminal activities. Our faculty and students are engaged in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary research that confronts these challenges while seeking to leverage the full potential of the vast quantities of information that surround us. The goal is to understand the most effective approaches for generating, capturing, organizing, securing, analyzing, and interacting with information to improve strategic decision making, enable new opportunities for communication and collaboration, and ultimately to improve the lives of individuals and the effectiveness of organizations.

Whether you are a prospective or current student, a potential partner, or a colleague from another discipline or institution, I invite you to learn more about the college by exploring our website. Please reach out to ask any questions you may have about our degree programs, research, or the work we’re doing at the intersection of information, technology, and people.