Session 09 – Part 2: Francine Berman (USA)

Francine Berman (USA)

Teaching Social Responsibility for a Tech-Powered World - Francine Berman (USA)

Today’s world is complex and tech-driven. How do we use the tools of information technology to solve problems in a socially responsible way, i.e. in a way that both empowers us and promotes the well-being of the communities in which we live?

The Public Interest Technology Initiative at UMass Amherst (PIT@UMass) engages students in learning and thinking about the impacts of technology in today’s world. Many of our courses explore the questions:  What is the public interest in a socio-technical world?  What strategies can we use to promote social responsibility in the public sector, private sector and for the general public?  What can each of us do to make the world a better place?  

This talk describes the evolution and current status of the PIT@UMass Initiative and discusses the creation of a signature course in Public Interest Technology as well as other efforts and projects whose purpose is to develop and inform socially responsible students, professionals, and citizens.

Dr. Francine Berman is the Director of Public Interest Technology and Stuart Rice Honorary Research Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a data scientist whose work has focused on the social impacts of the Internet of Things as well as data cyberinfrastructure, stewardship and preservation.

Dr. Berman is the former Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center and co-founder of the international Research Data Alliance. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and is on the Board of the Directors of the Marconi Society. Dr. Berman is the inaugural recipient of the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award for „influential leadership in the design, development, and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure“ (2009), recipient of the 2020 Paul Evan Peters award (given by Educause and the Association of Research Libraries), an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2015, she was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become a member of the National Council on the Humanities.

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