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Last modified: Wednesday, August 9, 2006

IU social informatics expert to direct new international program

August 9, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Technology has made it easier to navigate the world's vast information pathways, and the Indiana University School of Informatics is charting a new course to better prepare its students for their academic and professional journeys.

David Hakken, professor of informatics, has assumed the helm in the newly established position of director of international activities for the school. In that role, he will lead the school's efforts to promote its academic programs around the globe and work closely with IU's Office of International Programs and the Dean of Faculties.

"Since informatics is a profession that already is practiced on a global scale, it is incumbent upon our school to prepare students to be able to participate at this level," said Dean J. Michael Dunn, who appointed Hakken director. "To accomplish this at a minimum means globalizing our curriculum, our research and our institutional connections."

Hakken will retain his leadership of the school's Committee on Globalization. That group is responsible for developing criteria and standards for institutional international research and exchanges and recommending to Dunn which of those the school should actively pursue.

"While international education long has been a theme at IU, recently it has been given additional attention as in the globalization-themed North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation process currently under way, and the various initiatives guided by the university's leadership," said Hakken, a cultural anthropologist and social informatics expert.

"This new program allows us to promote IU as the place to study informatics in a globally conscious manner," Hakken added.

In 2005, Hakken participated in a Fulbright Research project in Malaysia, where he studied open source software development and advocacy. Last March, he and his committee organized a worldwide conference at IU focused on globalizing informatics research.

Hakken's appointment follows in the wake of IU's forging an agreement with China's Tsinghua University to expand collaborative efforts that began with information technology efforts. IU Interim Provost Michael A. McRobbie led a delegation to that country in July to discuss with academicians and researchers existing areas of cooperation, potential partnerships, information technology initiatives and life sciences research.

The IU School of Informatics was established in 2000 -- the first of its kind in the nation -- and has programs at IU campuses in Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, South Bend and New Albany.