Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology

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College of Information Sciences and Technology
Established 1999
Dean Andrew Sears
Location University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus University Park

The College of Information Sciences and Technology, also known as IST, was opened in 1999 in response to the rapidly growing need in almost every field for education, leadership, and research in information sciences and technology. The college's goal is to educate a new generation of leaders, researchers, educators, technologists and scholars that are equipped to address the challenges presented by the complex interplay of information, technology, and people in the Digital Age.

Faculty and Research[edit]

The College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) is an interdisciplinary college that integrates a variety of perspectives from computer and information sciences, psychology, social science, economics and public policy, to study the interactions between information, technology, and people, to inform the design of innovative information technologies, and their societal impact. Faulty research focuses on artificial intelligence (including knowledge representation, machine learning, computer vision), informatics (including social informatics, health informatics, security informatics, community informatics), big data (search, analytics, predictive modeling), human-computer interaction, security and privacy, cognitive science, and socio-technical systems.

The college has about 30 tenured and tenure track faculty and almost the same number of fixed term (non-tenured) teaching and research faculty. Some faculty of note include:


The College of Information Sciences and Technology was created in 1997. The Dean of the Graduate School at that time, Rodney Erickson, was appointed by then Penn State President Graham Spanier to lead a strategic planning group that produced plans for the school of information sciences and technology which admitted the first students into the IST program for the fall 1999 semester. The first Dean was James Thomas.

In January 2006, Penn State Board of Trustee decided to rename the School of Information to College of Information Sciences and Technology – a designation that signified IST’s importance within both the Penn State system and the Commonwealth.

College of IST Building[edit]

The Information Sciences and Technology Building is located on the west campus of the Pennsylvania State University’s University Park campus. The IST building was formally opened in 2004 and became the home to the College of Information Sciences and Technology and the Computer Science and Engineering department.

The 199,000-square-foot (18,500 m2) building was designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects in New York, New York and Perfido Weiskopf Architects in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The architecture was inspired by the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The construction of the building is 199,000-square-foot (18,500 m2) and cost $58.8 million to complete. The building serves as a pedestrian bridge which permits pedestrian and bicycle traffic over Atherton Road.

The building houses several state-of-the-art classrooms and research laboratories, and collaborative spaces. The largest classroom in the building is the Cybertorium. The Cybertorium seats up to 150 people with stadium seating which faces a large projection screen and a high tech sound system for use by presenters.

Graduate Program[edit]

The The PhD program in Information Sciences and Technology is designed to provide multidisciplinary training to address complex challenges at the intersection of information, technology, and people —from responding to natural disasters to improving human health and well-being, from protecting national security to designing machine learning algorithms that help make sense of big data, from building intelligent systems and the next generation search engines to understanding information diffusion in social networks, from developing human-centered information technology to informing policies that govern socio-technical systems, from exploring the connections between gender and technology to utilizing information technology for humanitarian efforts — that require approaches that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. The program attracts graduate students come from a variety of backgrounds, including computer science, engineering, psychology, sociology, economics, philosophy, visual arts, and mathematics.

Undergraduate Majors[edit]

IST majors are offered at 19 campuses with nearly 60 faculty at the University Park campus and 94 faculty at the other commonwealth campuses.

Currently, IST offers three interdisciplinary baccalaureate degree programs with 5 associate degree options:

  • Bachelor of science in information sciences and technology
    • Information systems: design and development option
    • Information technology: integration and application option
    • Information context: people, organizations, and society option
  • Bachelor of science in security and risk analysis
    • Intelligence Analysis and modeling option
    • Information and cyber security option
  • Bachelor of Arts in information sciences and technologyy

Undergraduate Minors[edit]

  • Information Sciences & Technology
  • Security & Risk Analysis
  • Web & Mobile Development

IST graduates pursue a broad range of careers across virtually every field of human endeavor from information technology to security, healthcare, education, business, and government. As spring 2010, College of IST had 2309 undergraduate enrollments (statewide) and 99 graduate enrollments.

Student organization[edit]

There are 20 student organizations in College of Information Sciences and Technology that offer a range of opportunities for students to get involved and develop their organizational and leadership skills. Students can get involved in many ways, from serving as an officer to chairing a committee to attending events.

The list of College of IST student organizations:

  • Academic Committee
  • Computer Networking Club (CNC)
  • Diversity Network (D-Net)
  • Enterprise Systems Integration (ESI) Club
  • Field Trip Committee
  • Game Development Club
  • Graduate Student Association at IST (GIST)
  • Information Assurance (IA) Club
  • IST Consulting Group
  • IST Honors Society
  • IST Special Living Option
  • IST Student Government
  • Magazine of IST (MIST)
  • Night of Honors Committee
  • Outreach Committee
  • Professional Expo Committee
  • Red Cell Analytics Lab (RCAL)
  • Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) Club
  • THON Committee
  • VISTA Committee
  • Women in IST (WIST)

Career Solutions Service[edit]

IST Career Solutions Service helps students to prepare for and maximize their internships and job opportunities and any other post-graduate plans that they may have interest in the future.

The services include:

  • Internship and professional placement opportunities
  • Executive monitoring
  • Corporate information sessions
  • Professional etiquette seminars
  • Corporate day trips
  • Interview preparation
  • Comprehensive job search tools
  • Corporate networking events
  • A student-led career assistance team
  • Career solutions workshops


  • Webometrics Ranking of World Repositories (2010), CiteSeerX 2nd Among Top 400 Repositories
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education, 7th in Top Research Universities Faculty Scholarly Productivity index of Information Science/studies – 2007[citation needed]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°47′37″N 77°52′05″W / 40.79368°N 77.86812°W / 40.79368; -77.86812