Vicki L. Hanson

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Vicki Hanson
Vicki l hanson photo 1.png
Vicki Lynne Hanson

Alma materUniversity of Colorado
University of Oregon
Known forHuman-Computer Interaction
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Science
InstitutionsUniversity of Dundee
Rochester Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisorMichael Posner

Vicki Hanson FACM FRSE FBCS, is an American computer scientist noted for her research on human-computer interaction and accessibility and for her leadership in broadening participation in computing. She was named the Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in 2018[2] having served as its President from 2016 to 2018.[3]


In 1974 Hanson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Colorado. At the University of Oregon she graduated with a Master of Arts degree in cognitive psychology in 1976, going on to complete her Ph.D in 1978.[4]

Career and research[edit]

Dr. Hanson was a Distinguished Professor [5] at the Rochester Institute of Technology within the HCI and Accessibility research groups. She was also Professor and Chair of Inclusive Technologies at the University of Dundee where she led multiple efforts related to inclusion of older adults and individuals with disabilities. From 1986–2009 she was a Research Staff Member and Manager at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center in New York, founding the Accessibility Research Group in 2000.

She is Past Chair of SIGACCESS and was Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing. She serves on Fellows Committees for ACM and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has been active in conference organizing and program committees for ASSETS, CHI, and several other ACM conferences. She has been elected as ACM President for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2016.

Hanson's interest in supporting disabled populations began at the University of Colorado where she focused on communication disorders, majoring in psychology along with speech pathology and audiology. In graduate school at the University of Oregon,[6] her scope broadened to include psycholinguistics and applied cognitive psychology. These threads converged during her postdoctoral fellowship at the Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Studies at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and later at Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, Connecticut, where she conducted research on American Sign Language[7] (ASL) and the acquisition of reading by deaf children and adults. In this work, she demonstrated the degree to which reading success among the profoundly and prelingually deaf was coupled to the existence and use of phonological mental representations, representations that were formed without the benefit of ever having heard spoken language.[8][9][10][11][12]

Joining the Research staff at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in 1986, Hanson began developing educational applications for the deaf and others. Her first application, HandsOn[13][14] demonstrated how computer technology could provide a bilingual educational experience for deaf children. Combining ASL and English, it allowed a student's skill in ASL to bootstrap the acquisition of skill in English. The technology was, for its time, state of the art, involving an object-oriented application environment, coupled to random-access laser disks, all driven by a simple touch screen user interface) and was deployed at numerous schools for deaf children both in the United States and Canada. It was recognized in 1992 as a National Merit Winner in the Johns Hopkins National Search for Computing to Assist Persons with Disabilities. Recently it has been rebuilt using streaming Internet video and conventional browser technologies, allowing it to be used by a much larger audience.

In 2000 IBM formed a Worldwide Accessibility Center and Hanson took on the management of the newly formed Accessibility Research Group. A primary output of this effort was Web Accessibility Technology (for Internet Explorer) and accessibilityWorks (for Firefox), browser extensions that allowed people with visual, motor, and cognitive disabilities to modify Web content on the fly to meet their needs.[15] Initially tested with older adults through SeniorNet and other organizations serving older adults, it was subsequently deployed in 26 countries through numerous non-profit organizations. In 2003, the National Disabilities Council named it Product of the Year. In 2004, it received the Best New Ability Research Award from the New Freedom Foundation and the Applied Research da Vinci award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2006 it brought IBM recognition as the Goodwill Partner of the Year, and in 2008 it received Lighthouse International’s Corporate Visionary award. In 2011, accessibilityWorks was donated to the Global Inclusive Infrastructure project as a key open source component. Later work included the world's first fully accessible 3D virtual world.[16]

In 2009 Hanson joined the School of Computing at the University of Dundee in Scotland as Professor and Chair of Accessible Technology. Working with Newcastle University, she launched the Social Inclusion Through the Digital Economy (SiDE) project aimed at ensuring that all people, regardless of age or disability, were not left behind as the world became more digitally linked.[17] The success of this effort motivated a broadening of the work in the recently funded BESiDE project, targeting both technology and architectural design aspects of the Built Environment of older adult care homes.[18] With multimillion-pound support from Research Councils UK, Hanson has created a research network to focus on this area. As the global population is aging rapidly, this work has the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of people.

In 2011, Hanson accepted an appointment at the Rochester Institute of Technology as a Distinguished Professor where she is built a team to continue research in support of the disabled and older adults.

Awards and honours[edit]

Hanson was named an ACM Fellow in 2004,[19] a Fellow Chartered Information Technology Professional of the British Computer Society in 2008,[20] a recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2009,[21] and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2013.[22] She received the ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award in 2008,[23] the Women of Vision ABIE Award for Social Impact in 2013,[24] and the ACM SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computing and Accessibility in 2014.[25] Hanson was awarded on Honorary Doctorate from Newcastle University in 2017 as part of the 60th anniversary of computing at the University.[26]


  1. ^ ACM SIGCHI (2008-04-08). "Award Recipients - ACM SIGCHI". ACM. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  2. ^ ACM (2018-06-06). "Vicki L. Hanson Named First Woman CEO of ACM". Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  3. ^ "May 26, 2016: ACM Elects Vicki Hanson as President: Association for Computing Machinery". Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  4. ^ University of Oregon (2018-11-07). "Hanson Featured in Distinguished Alumni Speaker Program". Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  5. ^ Rochester Institute of Technology (2013-04-01). "Golisano College welcomes esteemed researcher Vicki Hanson to faculty". RIT. Retrieved 2014-11-03.
  6. ^ Hanson, V. L. (1977). "Within category discriminations in speech perception". Perception and Psychophysics. 21 (5): 423–430. doi:10.3758/BF03199497.
  7. ^ Hanson, V. L. & Bellugi, U. (1982). "On the role of sign order and morphological structure in memory for American Sign Language sentences". Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. 21 (5): 621–633. doi:10.1016/s0022-5371(82)90809-x.
  8. ^ Hanson, V. L., Liberman, I., and Shankweiler, D. (1984). "Linguistic coding by deaf children in relation to beginning reading success". Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 37 (2): 378–393. doi:10.1016/0022-0965(84)90010-9.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Hanson, V. L., Shankweiler, D., and Fischer, F. W. (1983). "Determinants of spelling ability in deaf and hearing adults: Access to linguistic structure". Cognition. 14 (3): 323–344. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(83)90009-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Hanson, V. L. (1982). "Short-term recall by deaf signers of American Sign Language: Implications for order recall". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 8 (6): 572–583. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.8.6.572.
  11. ^ Hanson, V. L., Goodell, E., and Perfetti, C. (1991). "Tongue-twister effects in the silent reading of hearing and deaf college students". Journal of Memory and Language. 30 (3): 319–330. doi:10.1016/0749-596x(91)90039-m.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Hanson, V. L. & Fowler, C. (1987). "Phonological coding in word reading: Evidence from hearing and deaf readers". Memory and Cognition. 15 (3): 199–207. doi:10.3758/bf03197717.
  13. ^ Hanson, V. L. and Padden, C. (1994). "The use of interactive videodisc technology for bilingual instruction in American Sign Language and English". In Erting, C. (ed.). Readings in the Language, Culture, History, and Arts of Deaf People: Selected Papers from the Deaf Way Conference. Gallaudet University Press.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Hanson, V. L. & Padden, C. (1992). "HandsOn: A multi-media program for bilingual instruction of deaf children". IEEE Computer Society: Proceedings of the Johns Hopkins National Search for Computing Applications to Assist Persons with Disabilities: 5–6. doi:10.1109/CAAPWD.1992.217410. ISBN 978-0-8186-2730-9.
  15. ^ Richards, J. T. & Hanson, V. L. (2004). "Web accessibility: A broader view". Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on World Wide Web: 72–79. doi:10.1145/988672.988683. ISBN 978-1581138443.
  16. ^ Trewin, S., Laff, M., Hanson, V., and Cavender, A. (2009). "Exploring Visual and Motor Accessibility in Navigating a Virtual World". ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing. 2 (2): 1–35. doi:10.1145/1530064.1530069.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Sears, A. & Hanson, V. L. (2011). "Representing users in accessibility research". Proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: 2235–2238. doi:10.1145/1978942.1979268. ISBN 9781450302289.
  18. ^ McIntyre, L. & Hanson, V. L. (2014). "Buildings and users with visual impairment: Uncovering factors for accessibility using BITKit" (PDF). Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESSS Conference on Computers and Accessibility: 59–66. doi:10.1145/2661334.2661371. ISBN 9781450327206.
  19. ^ Association of Computing Machinery. "Vicki Hanson - Award Winner". ACM. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  20. ^ British Computer Society. "BCS Register of Members". BCS. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  21. ^ The Royal Society. "Professor Vicki Hanson - Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award - Royal Society". The Royal Society. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  22. ^ The Royal Society of Edinburgh. "The Royal Society of Edinburgh - Elected Fellows". The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  23. ^ ACM SIGCHI. "2008 SIGCHI Awards - SIGCHI". ACM. Archived from the original on 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  24. ^ Anita Borg Institute (2013-05-08). "Anita Borg Institute - Vicki Hanson". Anita Borg Institute. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  25. ^ Association of Computing Machinery. "Vicki Hanson Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to Accessibility and Computing - News - Communications of the ACM". ACM. Retrieved 2014-11-02.
  26. ^ Newcastle University School of Computing. "Vicki Hanson (2017)". Retrieved 2017-11-15.