Zimmer Appointed to SOIS Faculty

Michael Zimmer has been appointed assistant professor in the School of Information Studies (SOIS) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and will begin his appointment this fall semester, 2008, on the UWM campus.

With a background in new media and Internet studies, the philosophy of technology, and information policy, Zimmer’s research explores the social, political, and ethical dimensions of new media and information technologies, with particular focus on Web search engines, Web 2.0 infrastructures, and the impact of new media and Internet technologies on global information flows, access to knowledge, and informational privacy. He has published and delivered talks across North America and Europe on the ethical implications of web search engines, Web 2.0, social networking, networked vehicle information systems, and other emerging information technologies.

“The addition of Michael to our faculty will take SOIS to the next level in information policy and ethics, an area in which this school excels and will continue to excel with his expertise,” said Dean Johannes Britz.

Zimmer’s dissertation, “The Quest for the Perfect Search Engine: Values, Technical Design, and the Flow of Personal Information in Spheres of Mobility,” (supported by an NSF SES Dissertation Improvement Grant) investigates how the quest for the “perfect search engine” empowers the widespread capture of personal information flows across the Internet, threatening the ability to engage in online social, cultural, and intellectual activities free from answerability and oversight, thereby bearing on the values of privacy, autonomy, and liberty.

Zimmer received his Ph.D. in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University (NYU), and was the Microsoft Resident Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School for 2007-2008. His doctoral studies were supported by the Phyllis and Gerald LeBoff Doctoral Fellowship in Media Ecology from the Steinhardt School of Education at NYU. He earned an M.A. in Media Ecology from NYU in 2002.

This fall, Zimmer will be teaching the senior capstone course, L&I Sci 490, for the Bachelor of Science in Information Resources (BSIR) program. Zimmer was also selected among SOIS faculty to teach L&I Sci 120: Information Technology Ethics at the new UWM Living Learning Community. University Housing and UWM Academic Affairs are currently working together to develop Living Learning Communities at the recently completed RiverView student housing facility located near UWM’s campus. Learning communities will create a "cohort" of students that attend many of their classes together and live near each other in RiverView. Special events will be planned outside of the classroom to enhance student learning and allow students to develop relationships with faculty members and classmates. Zimmer will also be teaching online courses beginning in spring 2009.

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