Press release
February 23, 2012

Three new faculty join Department of Informatics

photo: bill tomlinson
Knobel, Gregory and Bowker

Irvine, Calif., February 23, 2012 — The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences welcomes three new faculty members to the Department of Informatics: Professor Geoffrey Bowker, Associate Adjunct Professor Judith Gregory and Assistant Adjunct Professor Cory Knobel.

Bowker’s primary research interests fall in the areas of social informatics, digital scholarship, and science and technology studies. He is a pioneer in the emerging field of Values in Design (VID), which brings together researchers and practitioners from multiple disciplines — including computer science, engineering, anthropology, philosophy and art — to encourage responsible technological innovation.

“Geof is extremely visible in the science and technology studies research area, and his presence on our faculty extends the Bren School's reputation for innovative research combining computing and social science," says Hal Stern, the Ted and Janice Smith Family Foundation Dean.

Bowker comes to UCI from the University of Pittsburgh, where he served as Professor and Senior Scholar in Cyberscholarship. Previously he was the Executive Director and the Regis and Dianne McKenna Professor at the Center for Science, Technology and Society at Santa Clara University. He was also a faculty member at UC San Diego, where he served as chair of the Department of Communication, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and held an extended postdoctoral position at the Ecole de Mines in Paris. He later served as director of the National Archive for the History of Computing at the University of Manchester.

“I’m excited to be part of the Bren School and the Department of Informatics,” Bowker says. “There’s an incredible mix here of really strong cultural and social theory and great technical ability. UC Irvine is also known for its fantastic range of interdisciplinary collaborations across the campus, and the collegiality is amazing.”

Together with Gregory and Knobel, Bowker is developing the Values in Design Laboratory at the Bren School. Involving researchers throughout the campus, the VID Lab will promote the design of information technology products and infrastructure that serve the public good.

“The team of Bowker, Gregory and Knobel brings a tremendous amount of experience to UC Irvine and the Department of Informatics," says informatics chair André van der Hoek. "Their expertise — ranging from information and values in design, to health IT and cyberinfrastructure — adds a new dimension to our department and offers countless opportunities for research partnerships within the campus and beyond."

Prior to joining UCI, Judith Gregory was faculty co-director of the Doctor of Philosophy in Design Program at the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from UC San Diego. Her research interests include participatory design; design and emotion; translational biomedical informatics; and design by youth. She serves on the Technical Expert Panel of the Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality and is an Honorary Professor in Human-Centered Informatics at Aalborg University in Denmark.

Previously Gregory was a faculty member in the Institute of Informatics and International Health Information Systems Programme, University of Oslo, and Honorary Professor at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The VID Lab’s Design By Youth program — an initiative to bring socially beneficial design into K-12 classrooms in Orange County — is modeled after her successful effort at the Institute of Design.

Cory Knobel comes to UCI from the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where he was an assistant professor in the Library Science and Information Science & Technology programs. He received his Ph.D. in Information from the University of Michigan and also completed graduate degrees in Science, Technology, & Society, and in Complex Systems. He has several years of industry consulting experience in Human-Computer Interaction and accessible technology design.

Knobel’s current work focuses on two areas: first, on the role of human and social values in the design of information systems and technologies; and second, on how emerging techniques in information representation and multimodal interaction give rise to new forms of knowledge discovery and expression. Knobel and Bowker are working together on an NSF-sponsored web-based report that explores how new media shapes scholarly communication and challenges us to consider new forms of knowledge-generating practices, institutions and artifacts.

Rizza Barnes
Director of Communications
Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
University of California, Irvine

Media interested in interviewing ICS faculty, students or alumni should contact Matt Miller at (949) 824-1562 or via email at