U of T Faculty of Information Bio 2019

Abstractly, my interests lie at the intersection of social organization and the dynamics of information - how humans create structures that determine how information is created and moves around. More prosaically, these days I think about computational thinking, human centred design, higher education, and artificial intelligence.

Under "computational thinking" I endeavor to identify translational concepts, analytical techniques, habits of mind, and cognitive moves from computer science and communicate them to practicing professionals who work with technology and those who produce technology (or who aspire to become the latter).

My goal in human centred design is to use social science to understand how to more effectively socially organize creative teams to yield innovative solutions to problems that matter. This work melds my avocational life as a "maker" and engineer manque with my interest in innovation and collaboration.

I opted out of computer science during the second AI winter, but have become an AI/ML enthusiast at a distance in recent years, rehabilitating my early training and augmenting it with self-study. I want to combine this with social science to think about how to convey well-understood ideas from the human and social sciences to where they can be used (and thus not reinvented on-the-fly) by those working to deploy artificial intelligences to solve human problems.

I bring this repertoire and two decades of experience in college instruction and faculty leadership to the project of innovation in higher education. Neither the social institution writ large nor particular universities and colleges are, I believe, adapting to 21st century challenges as quickly or as effectively as needed. In fall 2019 I will take initial steps to build a lab for developing the tools and practices that will allow us to teach twice as many twice as well twice as easy.

I come to U of T from the University of Southern California where I was Professor of Teaching of Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation (at the Iovine and Young Academy) and Law (by courtesy, at the Gould School of Law). Prior to USC I was Lokey Chair in Ethics and Professor of Sociology at Mills College where I was founder of the Innovation Lab at Mills.

At USC I taught "The Garage Experience" and "Justice Innovation Startup Lab" and co-taught "Legal Design Lab" (with G. Hadfield). At Mills I taught graduate level mathematical modeling and computer simulation for public policy and undergraduate level courses in social theory, geographic information systems, social control, and "Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software."

At Mills College I was Department Head in Sociology/Anthropology and for three terms served as Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee.

My Ph.D. is from Yale in sociology and my BA is from New College of Florida in mathematical, physical, and computer sciences. I have written on the sociology of information, collaboration in communities of organizations, and time.

Human Centred Design Course Pitch

Deanship Job Application Video

Smash the Semester

Deploying OKRs in a College Classroom