Special Interest Groups

The School of Emerging Technologies is supporting seven Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to promote information exchange, resource sharing and collaboration among faculty, staff, and students from different departments, colleges, and administrative branches. As of November 2016, the seven SIGs have a total of 93 members from 32 departments and offices, and six colleges. The mission and coordinators of each SIG are listed below. Please contact the SIG coordinators if you are interested in joining the SIG.


Coordinator: Julia Caffrey ()

The Accessibility SIG’s mission is to exchange resources and information to enhance teaching, learning, research and service in the areas of accessibility related to human difference. Over 30 faculty and staff members from across Towson University meet often quarterly to discuss areas of common interest such as accessibility, disability, variability and accommodations related to human differences and how our teaching, research, service and use of technology may help us to better understand this vast interest area. 

Big Data

Coordinators: Philippe Duverger () and Nam Nguyen ()

The Big Data Special Interest Group invites members from various academic disciplines and  departments who would like to discuss and explore the topic of Big Data analysis and the influence that Big Data has and will have on our lives as consumers and citizens of the planet. Beyond the natural inter-departmental intellectual stimulation provided by the SIG, we propose to also raise the awareness about Big Data at the Towson University level and also in the metropolitan area by ways of forums, conferences, talks and other communications.

Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity (Cyber4All)

Coordinator: Siddharth Kaza (

Cybersecurity has critical political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, and information implications for our nation. Effective cybersecurity solutions require initiatives that not only prepare computer scientists to be cybersecurity professionals, but extend security education to all majors to produce a cybersecurity prepared workforce. As cyberspace has become ubiquitous, cybersecurity has become everyone’s business. A comprehensive cybersecurity education model needs to reach all students and disciplines impacted by cybersecurity issues. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Strategic Plan aims at broadening the pool of individuals prepared to enter the cybersecurity workforce. Despite consensus on the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to cybersecurity, few paths exist for undergraduates to obtain cybersecurity education outside of computing.

Towson University is recognized by NSA/DHS as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations and Cyber Defense. It’s time to consolidate our work in cybersecurity and bring in the diverse knowledge on cybersecurity at Towson to the same table. This SIG will foster collaboration between faculty in all colleges at Towson and provide a forum for discussion on teaching and scholarship in cybersecurity.

Eye Tracking Related Research

Coordinators: Maria Perpie Liwanag ()and Prisca Martens ()

The Special Interest Group on Eye Tracking Related Research invites members from various disciplines who would like to discuss and explore eye movement research. At our first meeting, we will share our questions and concerns and collaboratively develop goals, objectives, and an agenda for our SIG.  Tentative possible topics/goals/objectives include, but are not limited to: discussions of eye tracking hardware and software systems; exchange of ideas about research design and measures of eye movements; sharing of issues, such as calibration, data loss, etc.; highlighting applications of eye tracking research in various disciplines; collaborating and conducting interdisciplinary eye tracking research; collaborating in writing external grants on eye tracking research.

GIS and Environmental Informatics

Coordinator: John Morgan ()

Advances in sensor technologies and computer models has resulted in the ability to collect massive amounts of data to monitor and analyze environmental conditions on earth.  As a result, new systems have become available to store, manage, and analyze environmental data.  With this in mind, the GIS and Environmental Informatics Special Interest Group at Towson University is focused on advances in technology for the management, analysis, and display of spatial and temporal data as it pertains to environmental science.  Along with geographic information systems, as the title suggests, other technologies that are of interest to this group include database systems, sensor networks, data analytics, machine learning, information visualization, and information management.

Public Health and Health Informatics

Coordinator: Devon Dobrosielski ()

The SIG in Healthcare Informatics is concerned with the application of computing and information science principles and techniques, and information and communication technologies, to address issues in healthcare and the delivery of healthcare services. The group aims to bring together members of various disciplines to evaluate the needs and problems of developing and managing medical information systems that can handle the complex uses to which they are put. The goal is to provide a forum for sharing and managing knowledge as a strategic resource for improving the quality, effectiveness, and use of healthcare information systems, data transfer amongst such systems, and inter- and intra-communication between them through rigorous application of medical informatics. The group plans to focuses on the following areas, but not limited to: health care delivery systems; medical coding and analysis; clinical informatics; medical databases and applications; data mining and analysis in healthcare; emergency care systems (Triage and Paramedics); public health and community health; mobile application development to promote quality of care; security and privacy aspects in healthcare systems; regulations, standards and frameworks in healthcare systems; development of curriculum, certification and mentoring programs.

Social Media Analysis

Coordinator: Samuel Collins ()

The Special Interest Group on Social Media Analysis starts with the recognition that social media intersect with multiple academic disciplines in multiple ways, from platforms for communication and dissemination of results to the object of analysis and the development of methodological tools.  Similarly, projects in social media analysis are interdisciplinary to a high degree, with any scholarly endeavor simultaneously engaging technical, social, psychological, qualitative and quantitative inquiry.  We see this group as a forum for Towson University researchers engaged in social media analysis at any level, including: technical innovations, pedagogical applications, behavioral analysis, mapping, and digital humanities.

List of Special Interest Group Members

Design Thinking

Coordinator: Liyan Song ()

Design thinking research and practice has gained much attention in the past decade or so in a variety of learning contexts particularly in the STEAM fields.  There are two perspectives on design thinking (Grots & Creuznacher, 2016). One considers design thinking as an innovative problem-solving process. The other sees design thinking as a culture and focuses on how design thinking promotes a positive and creative culture to people and the learning environments. Our design thinking SIG would like to promote both perspectives on design thinking through our collaborative research, practices, and networking endeavors.