Casey Fiesler

New Professor Seeks Awesome Students for Research Adventures

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I feel like you can tell a lot about a person from their bookshelves.

TL;DR I’m recruiting PhD students – particularly those interested in social computing, online communities, ethics, law and policy, and/or fandom.

As you may know, I am an assistant professor in the (shiny and new!) Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder.  This is an exciting place to be, because not only do we have close ties to the Computer Science department (and I am courtesy faculty there), but our colleagues in our (also new!) college include the departments of Journalism, Media Studies, Communication, Critical Media Practices, and Advertising & PR. The result is that Information Science here is awesomely situated for interdisciplinary collaboration and education. Yay!

We are growing quickly, and this includes our cohort of (pretty amazing, honestly) PhD students. And I personally am looking to grow my research group, so I’m hoping to find in our application pool this year some enthusiastic and committed folks who are interested in the kind of work that I do.

The model in our department for graduate students is a “lab” culture. This means that rather than PhD students mostly doing their own thing and consulting rarely with their advisor, instead there is constant collaboration with both faculty and students. PhD students here work as (funded) research assistants and occasionally teaching assistants. If you look at my CV you’ll see evidence of this culture in all the papers co-authored with my labmates and my PhD advisor. One of the things that excites me most about my chosen career is working with graduate students and launching them out into the world to do more awesome things of their own! 

My research area is, broadly speaking, online communities and social computing. Though within that, there are two major parts of my work at the moment: (1) types of governance: social norms, ethics, law; and (2) fan communities and fan creation.  These things also intersect; for example, I’ve studied how copyright law impacts fan creation online, how existing norms in fandom influenced the design of Archive of Our Own, and how norms migrate with fan communities as they move to new online spaces. With respect to governance, most recently I’ve been looking at rules and norms around re-use of user-generated content: (1) questions of research ethics – i.e., how can we use your tweets?!; (2) characterization, formation, and enforcement of rules on subreddits; and (3) the impact of unexpected audience (what happens when you’re tweet-shamed on Buzzfeed?).  You can learn more about my general research interests and recent projects on my research page.

If you (or someone you know!) is thinking about applying for a PhD in Information Science, Human-Centered Computing, or a related field, consider University of Colorado!  Our faculty can advise students not only in our department, but in Computer Science and in ATLAS.  You can learn more about our PhD program and admissions process on our website, though also please feel free to email me at casey.fiesler[at]colorado.edu with any questions!  Especially if you are a potential student who might be interested in working with me, please feel free to get in touch, as I’m happy to talk with you prior to the application process.

Also, you can find out more about our other faculty (and courtesy faculty) here!  If you’re interested in things like information visualization, large-scale collaboration, crisis informatics, machine learning, information overload, social media analysis, philanthropy and technology, digital identity, creative learning, AND MORE, you should think about joining us!

And finally: If you are a current student at CU (in any department!) who is interested in research, also get in touch! I’m always on the lookout for undergrad research assistants and grad students who want to work on projects with us.

(And since this was a bit dry, you’re also welcome to check out my Tumblr post illustrated by gifs.)

EDIT: Also, my colleague Shaun Kane and I are working on a project related to accessibility and fandom! Interested students could come in either through Computer Science or Information Science, as we need both building things and online communities studies.

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