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Syracuse iSchool is looking for faculty researchers in STEM fields to participate in focus groups

Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool) seeks faculty researchers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to participate in focus groups whose input will help shape the curriculum to educate cyberinfrastructure facilitators (CI facilitators). The first meetings of the focus groups are slated for February and March. 

The CI facilitator is a new kind of information professional who possesses the skills to discover the information needs of scientific researchers and adapt available technology to satisfy those needs. This new professional forges links between people, information, and tools in order to manage, organize, mine, and process the immense amounts of scientific data that are continuously generated in the research process. The new breed of information professionals is responsible for integrating the communication, collaboration, and data management facilities that different scientific communities need to solve large-scale challenges in their respective fields.

Focus group participants can help define the skill set of these future CI facilitators by providing valuable feedback about their information needs within their research labs.

Associate Dean of the iSchool Jeff Stanton and his team will analyze the needs of these focus group participants, and their needs will be combined with existing research on cyberinfrastructure skills to aid in the design of a new curriculum. This new educational program will be based on existing courses, modified courses, new courses, and a range of educational experiences, including internships, technical trainings, and special lectures.

Focus group participants will also have the chance to connect with the first cohort of students selected to begin the CI facilitator program in the iSchool and to recruit them as summer interns at no cost to their labs. These students are skilled in managing large data sets and have undergraduate degrees in the sciences. Money from the NSF grant will fund their internships.

The focus groups are part of a two-year project, CI-Facilitators: Information Architects across the STEM Disciplines, funded by the National Science Foundation. The research on the C Facilitator grant is headed by Associate Dean for Research Jeff Stanton, Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy, and professors Derrick L. Cogburn, Paul Gandel, R. David Lankes, and Megan Oakleaf.

If you are interested in attending these focus groups or in having a trained information professional work on your research, contact Jeffrey Stanton at or 315-443-2879.

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