Carroll lauded for work in human-computer interaction

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jack Carroll, Edward M. Frymoyer Professor at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in engineering from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain on Sept. 18, in recognition of his groundbreaking work spanning 40 years in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).

“It was very interesting,” Carroll said. “A professor from Carlos III gave a laudatio address summarizing my career and contributions, a sort of case to the faculty that I deserved the doctor honoris causa. I received a diploma and the right to offer lectures at the university.”

Carroll, who has a doctorate in experimental psychology from Columbia University, is co-director (with Dr. Mary Beth Rosson) of the College of IST's Laboratory for Computer Supported Collaboration and Learning. He is also the director of Penn State's Center for Human-Computer Interaction, and has courtesy appointments as professor of computer science and engineering, instructional systems and psychology. His research interests include methods and theory in human-computer interaction, particularly as applied to networking tools for collaborative learning and problem solving, and the design of interactive information systems. In 2010, Carroll wrote his book, “The Neighborhood and the Internet,” while spending a year as “an apprentice Madrileño” at the Universidad Carlos III.

In his inaugural address to the faculty of Universidad Carlos III, titled “Humanity, Technology and HCI,” Carroll discussed the evolution of HCI and his role in shaping the field. At the end of the address, he stated that HCI is no longer best regarded as a sub-area of computer science, since it is now incorporated into numerous other disciplines, including psychology, design, communication studies and information science.

“My hope is that in the future, we shall see a broader integration of our humanity and our technology,” he told the audience.

The degree that Carroll received, he said, was signified by a special hat they gave him, analogous to a doctorate hood in the U.S. He was also presented with the white gloves of purity, the book of knowledge (an edition of “Don Quixote”), a ring symbolizing his continuing connection to Universidad Carlos III and a medal symbolizing his membership in the doctoral senate. Finally, he got a “very enthusiastic hug from the rector (president), Daniel Peña Sánchez de Rivera.”

To cap things off, Carroll said he was “thrilled” to learn that in 2010, professor Hilary Putnam, formerly of Harvard and Princeton, and one of the most famous American philosophers of the 20th century, received an honorary doctorate degree from Universidad Carlos III. Carroll’s photo will be placed next to Putnam’s on the university’s wall of honorees.


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Last Updated October 25, 2012