Poised to enter its third decade as leader in the field, Georgia Tech’s top-ranked Graduate Program in Digital Media (DM) will make that transition under new leadership. At the same time, the Ivan Allen College School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC) which houses the DM program, also announces the formation of a new research center for media studies.
Alexandra Mazalek, associate professor in the LMC, is the newly appointed director of the DM program. LMC professor, Ian Bogost, who has led the DM program for the past two years, has been named Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Distinguished Professor in Media Studies and is charged with founding the Center for Media Studies. In addition to his appointment in IAC, Bogost is also now on faculty in the College of Computing.
“Ali Mazalek brings the best qualities for a position that demands dedication to excellence in graduate teaching and mentoring, highest standards in research, and a commitment to the multidisciplinary and collaborative atmosphere in our unit,” said LMC chair Richard Utz. “Ian’s leadership of the media studies center guarantees national and international attention to our unit’s mission to provide humanistic perspectives on a technological world.”
Mazalek is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab (M.S. & Ph.D.). Her research in computing and interaction design supports integration of the physical and digital worlds. She founded the Synaesthetic Media Lab at Georgia Tech, which works with a variety of physical sensing technologies to design embodied interaction platforms and also investigates the implications of those interactions for creativity and cognition.
“A distinguishing feature of our Graduate Program in Digital Media is the solid theoretical foundation we provide students for designing novel computational systems, combined with hands-on exploration and experience working with physical and digital materials, media, and technologies,” said Mazalek.
An award-winning designer and media philosopher whose work focuses on videogames and computational media, Ian Bogost is an influential thinker in both the game industry and research community. His research and writing considers videogames as an expressive medium, and his creative practice focuses on political games and artgames.
Bogost has already begun shaping a vision for the new media studies center. “Media Studies is a mature field that addresses all aspects of the role of media of all sorts in culture. It’s time for Georgia Tech to make its mark in this broad area.”
Bogost expressed his intention to interpret Media Studies in the way the Digital Media program has always operated: as a place for creation as much as history and criticism.
Janet Murray, who directed the Graduate Program in Digital Media from 2000 through 2010, says of the change in leadership: “It’s been exciting having Ian lead the group for the past two years, and it allowed us to take a fresh look at a lot of structures, re-energize them, and sharpen our focus. We are very lucky to have such a uniquely strong faculty in humanities-based digital design, and to be at Georgia Tech where cross-disciplinary collaboration is the norm.”
LMC’s graduate program in Digital Media has been a leader in offering academic degrees in the field, with the M.S. in Information Design and Technology founded in 1992, (now called the M.S. in Digital Media), and the Ph.D. in Digital Media founded in 2004. The program is also part of the interdisciplinary M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction, in conjunction with the College of Computing and the School of Psychology. The program already has numerous graduates working for companies such as Ideo, Google, IBM, Turner Broadcasting, and EA. In 2010 it moved its home to the third floor of TSRB, uniting the offices, graduate student carrels, and lab facilities, and enhancing its participation in the interdisciplinary GVU Center.