Assistant Professor of Communication and Information Studies Libby Hemphill Receives Prestigious NSF Grant

Libby Hemphill

Libby Hemphill

Illinois Tech Assistant Professor of Communication and Information Studies Libby Hemphill has received a prestigious three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) totaling more than $400,000 for her project “Understanding and Designing Information Communication Technologies to Improve Communities.”

The project will examine the relationships among social media use, community attachment, social capital, and civic engagement. Concerns have been widely expressed that our increasing use of individualizing technologies such as a personalized Internet potentially threatens civic engagement and thereby the health of our communities. Civically engaged communities experience lower rates of crime, poverty, and unemployment, and higher rates of health and education. This research seeks a set of best practices or guidelines that can be used by community members to facilitate increased civic engagement in the Internet context, and the participatory design activities will produce situated tools for specific civic activities within each of the three communities to be studied. By focusing on rural contexts, this study will also contribute to the understanding of how an understudied population uses information and communication for social purposes. Both women, who outnumber men among rural social media users, and rural residents are generally underrepresented in current studies of social media.

This grant runs September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2018.

This event reflects the values expressed in IIT’s Diversity Statement and is intended to promote diversity at IIT.