RIT Launches School of Informatics

School designed to rapidly respond to changes in technology, business and computing discipline

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Rochester Institute of Technology’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences has launched a new school. The newly formed School of Informatics will house the Department of Information Sciences and Technologies, the Department of Networking, Security and Systems Administration and the Department of Interactive Games and Media.

The college formed the school as part of an ongoing effort, spearheaded by the Computing Research Association’s Deans Committee, to advance computing as a discipline.

“The committee views the computing discipline as being comprised of two fundamental groups, those looking inwards into the computing and information world, which they refer to as a ‘c-school,’ and those looking outwards into the domain of computing applications and their users, an i-school,” says Dean Jorge Díaz-Herrera.

Together, according to Robert Constable, dean of the faculty of computing and information sciences at Cornell University, the “C” and “I” schools represent computing and digital information as two interrelated features of a common discipline. Constable is a member of the dean’s committee and an advocate of computing schools adopting this new format.

Díaz-Herrera sees the School of Informatics, which represents an i-school, as a decisive step in that direction.

“We believe that our college is destined to become a world leader in the establishment of computing as a distinct branch of knowledge and a professional discipline in its own right. We aim to provide innovative examples of this implementation—which is the vision behind our strategic plan.” Díaz-Herrera says.

Díaz-Herrera says plans are underway to investigate the formation of a “c-school” in the coming academic year, which could include departments that already exist within the college.

Informatics has been defined as the interdisciplinary study of the design, application and use of information and communication technologies. Luther Troell, who will serve as director of the school, says the interrelated programs within the school focus on the opportunities and challenges resulting from ongoing advances in computing technology.

“The three departments which comprise the School of Informatics at RIT prepare our students to use information technologies to solve problems in a variety of settings,” Troell says. “Our degrees emphasize the development of new and innovative uses for technologies, while accommodating the needs of people and using technology appropriately.”