By: Diane Stirling
School of Information Studies (iSchool) Distinguished Professor Kevin Crowston plans to spend the majority of his time over the next two years serving as a visiting program manager at the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Crowston will work in the CISE Directorate–the Computer and Information Science and Engineering division of the NSF—on projects related to information and intelligence systems. That will include a number of programs involved in the study of human-centered computing.
His responsibilities will include overseeing the review of grants and deciding on grant awards. He will continue a research role at SU in a grant project that has been funded by the NSF at the iSchool regarding the structuring of tasks and the motivation of participants involved in citizen science initiatives.
The visiting manager position will provide the professor with “an opportunity to do some service to the field and to have a hand in shaping the kind of research that gets done in the area [of human-centered computing], and perhaps even the future research direction of the field,” he commented. It’s a role he has considered undertaking now and then during his career, he said, and this year, the timing seemed to work, so he applied and was accepted for the position.
Professor Crowston hopes that since his work spans a number of human-centered computing areas— such as virtual organizations, open source, and new kinds of collaboration—he will be applying his expertise in those areas at the NSF. In addition, his reviewing experience will be relevant, and he hopes to be able to complete his term there gaining “insights into the future directions of the organization.”
The government science agency frequently invites academic professionals to work at the organization on a rotating basis, Crowston said, to assure that the NSF stays on track with current academic research and professional practice taking place in the field. A number of NSF employees serve in leadership positions on a regular basis, where they come into the organization then return to their university positions in two years.
The professor said he expects to move to Arlington, VA later this summer in order to start work at the NSF in early September. He plans to work several days a week on site at the NSF, but also to return to Syracuse on a regular and frequent basis to continue his research.
At the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, three goals are foremost, according to its website:
• Enabling the U.S. to uphold a position of world leadership in computing, communications and information science and engineering;
• Promoting understanding of the principles and uses of advanced computing, communications and information systems in service to society; and
• Contributing to universal, transparent and affordable participation in an information-based society.
CISE supports investigator-initiated research in all areas of computer and information science and engineering and helps develop and maintain cutting-edge national computing and information infrastructure for research and education that contributes to the education and training of the next generation of computer scientists and engineers, according to the NSF site.