Research Interests and Objectives
My research interests nicely overlap with my teaching interests in that they are also directed at the study of societal, cultural and organizational influences on information systems, information systems work and the information systems workforce. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the demands and motivations of information systems human capital and how these professionals react to their workplace environment, administrative structures, technologies and policies that accommodate them. My interests are largely motivated by the observation of modern workplace challenges and convergent industry trends that are enabled through integrated global systems.
I believe my research has achieved three noteworthy goals. First, I have defined a context for the socio-technical investigation of human capital that exists within the overlapping fields of organizational behavior, sociology, and science and technology studies. Second, I have contributed to the understanding of behaviors, motivations and interactions of information systems professionals at multiple levels of analysis. Third, my work has addressed critical social problems facing universities and organizations today in the areas of global information systems, effective talent recruitment, cultivation and management, social inclusion, and economic development.
I have published 7 journal articles, 11 refereed book chapters, 21 refereed conference papers, and a co-authored book; over ten of these manuscripts specifically focus on pedagogy. My research is published in the Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, Information Resources Management Journal (IRMJ), Information Systems Journal (ISJ), the Journal of Global Information Management (JGIM), and New Directions for Teaching and Learning. My work is also published in the proceedings of leading information systems and communications conferences including the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the Association of Computer Machinery Special Interest Group on Management Information Systems and Computers and People Research (ACM SIGMIS CPR), the International Federation of Information Processing Conference Working Group 8.2 (IFIP 8.2) and the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS). I have also published numerous peer reviewed book chapters and encyclopedia articles.
I have engaged in several research efforts all sharing three commonalities: 1) each area is concerned with intersection of human behavior and the use of information systems; 2) each area is concerned with coordination and collaboration between organizations and human capital; and 3) each is concerned with a greater social good.
Research Theme One: The Information Systems Pipeline and Recruitment Efforts
In this theme, I focus on student pipeline and recruitment efforts in the information systems field with a particular focus on issues of underrepresentation of women and minorities. Over the last two years, the bulk of my research efforts have been devoted to completing a book entitled Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University, which I co-authored with Carol Frieze, the Director of Women@SCS. In the book, we explore how computer science curriculums can enable women’s successful participation without becoming “pink” or “female friendly.” We provide results and interventions from a 15-year longitudinal study of students in the computer science major at Carnegie Mellon. Our book is under contract with Dog Ear Publishing and will be released in the fall of 2015. I have also served on highly visible committees in this research discourse. I served on the Advisory Committee for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) report entitled Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing. In the summer of 2012, I was invited to serve on the Bridge to the Future Summit as a part of the Microsoft Faculty Research Summit. I also serve on committees for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award (Western and Central Pennsylvania and West Virginia Affiliate) and the Center for STEM Education for Girls Consortium.
Research Theme Two: Global Information Systems Pedagogy and Preparedness
In this theme, I focus on the management of the global information systems workforce, global information systems development, work, and learning. My research explores ways in which information systems students and professionals can be better prepared to effectively coordinate and interact in globally distributed projects. My research has been published in the Journal of Science Education and Technology, New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Special Volume on the Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning), and the IEEE-CS Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training. Recently, I organized a panel entitled “Active Learning Approaches in IT Pedagogy” and co-authored a conference paper entitled “Information Systems in the Community: A Summer Immersion Program for Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities” for the ACM SIGMIS CPR conference. I am particularly excited to serve as a conference co-chair for the 2016 ACM SIGMIS CPR conference where these topics will be further explored. Earlier this year, I began working extensively with the program’s faculty to gather empirical data from our project courses to investigate the value of service-learning projects in information systems curriculums. I plan to focus on dissemination and possible funding sources for this project going forward.
Research Theme Three: Information Systems Human Capital Management
In this theme, I focus on human capital issues in the information systems workforce, specifically career values and motives, cultural influences, work-life balance, and social networks. My research has found that the variation in ways that perceptions of women’s roles in society that are embedded in a culture influence female career choices and how socio-cultural factors moderate these influences. In 2012, my article entitled “Working Where She Wants and Wanting Where She Works: Understanding Career Values and Motivations of Women in the IT Workforce” was published in Information Systems Journal (10-12% acceptance rate). I am also particularly proud of two additional publications in this theme: “Retaining Women in the American IT Workforce: Theorizing the Influence of Organizational Factors,” which was published in the European Journal on Information Systems, Special Issue on Meeting the Renewed Demand for IT Workers (26% acceptance rate) and “Is There a Collective Career Identify?: A Study of Career Values and Turnover Intentions among Female Information Technology Professionals,” which appeared in Globalization, Technology Diffusion and Gender Disparity: Social Impacts of ICTs edited by Pande, van der Weide and Flipsen. Going forward, I plan to continue to disseminate findings from my dissertation, which was aimed at the investigation of organizational climate, career values and motivations of information technology professionals and their relationship to occupational decisions with a special focus on gender. I have also been working on projects related to understanding the distribution of career orientations of IT professionals, embeddedness factors among IT professionals and transactive memory systems.
Future Research Goals and Directions
I have come to realize that perhaps the most important element in effective student learning in my courses comes from the extent to which I integrate conceptual content with practical application. It is very satisfying when students come to me years after they have taken my courses and tell me how relevant some of the concepts and tools still are for their careers. Going forward, I will expand my domain specific skills in order to keep courses current and interact with companies and community partners to understand practical application. I have also come to learn that no matter how experienced an instructor is, every new class and student pose a challenge. Many of the revisions I have made in my courses have been driven by feedback from students, interactions with prospective and current employers of our graduates, from learning objectives of the full curriculum, and from the observation of and discussion with colleagues. I am committed to the ongoing process of refining my teaching as long as I am in the classroom. I would also like to develop new information systems electives that utilize my professional and research experiences. I am interested in teaching new courses in several areas including: information systems management, information systems in the enterprise, front-end web application development and security and policy issues of information systems and technologies.
For me, growth within and outside the University entails taking on leadership roles and expanding my impact in the information systems domain area. I have learned a great deal about collaboration, project management, decision-making, working in teams, and the manner in which groups function. I would like to use this experience to become a leader in global information systems pedogogy and preparedness. I plan to diesseminate my experiences within the classroom, develop first-hand case materials, and describe collaborative arrangements outside of the university. Further, I am committed to disseminating findings on our program’s novel and interesting approach to teaching in information systems (e.g., global components, service-based learning, interdisciplinary focus, etc.). Specifically, I intend to complete analysis and writing efforts associated with several current research projects (e.g., experiences in global pedagogy, results from the summer program and gender studies). I would also like to more formally investigate our student project teams, service-learning initiatives, and the ways in which our faculty and students interact in a distributed program.
In the future, I plan to extend my research efforts with continued study of the three research themes previously outlined. I view my future research efforts as a resource for the current environment, and for identifying industry issues and trends that can be used in a proactive and strategic manner for planning and management. As a result organizations, professionals and students will be positioned in the rapidly evolving global climate. I plan to promote and disseminate findings in key journals and conferences in order to extend the impact of my research. I believe there is a natural overlap between my teaching and research interests, and I intend to expand my contributions to the information systems discourse and scholarship of teaching. In conclusion, I believe my research efforts will directly support my overarching teaching goal to prepare our students to address the global challenges they will face within and beyond the University.