The most significant social development of the past twenty years has been the application of computing and other forms of advanced information technology (networking, storage, display) to every aspect of contemporary life. Today there is no aspect of business, government, education, family, or personal life that has not been affected by, experimented with, commented on, and modified by the personal computer, the Internet, or the new media.
Despite the massive investments in these technologies, little is understood about their social and economic ramifications. Businesses invest in computers, and see little gain in productivity. Hospitals implement medical information systems, and see the workload and stress of caregivers rise. Universities create “web courses”, with little understanding of where the technology is taking them.
Recognizing the challenges of these technologies, March, 2001, the Board of Governors of Wayne State University (WSU) chartered an interdisciplinary Institute for Information Technology and Culture, with the mission of conducting leading-edge research on the social and cultural consequences of new forms of computing, networking, information storage, and information display. Embracing the cooperation of faculty from the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts, and the Schools of Medicine and Business, the Institute for Information Technology and Culture sets research directions and seeks research opportunities that enable business leaders, public officials, educators, and medical professionals to understand and make informed decisions regarding the support and use of new technologies.
Earlier research conducted by IITC Principal Investigators include projects on:
- Human Factors in CAD/CAM/CAE/CIM Technology
- US Air Force Readiness Assessment and Planning Tool Research (RAPTR)
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Workshop on Culture, Society, and Advanced Information Technology
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Global Teams
- NSF Transformation to Quality Organizations (TQO) Research
- Use of Information Technology in Home-based Care for Oncology Patients
- Automotive Industry Action Group Voice of the Lower Tier (VOLT) study of automotive supply chains
- National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) study of close call reporting
Together these projects have provided training to more than 40 graduate students, and have brought more than $5 million in grant funds to the university.