Andrea Forte, a Drexel University professor of information whose scholarship focuses on understanding the wide-ranging features of online life, has been recommended to be the next dean of the School of Information.
Forte’s appointment to a five-year renewable term that starts Jan. 1 is pending approval by the Board of Regents.
Forte has led the Department of Information Science in Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics since 2021. Her main areas of research include human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, and social computing, privacy and education.
She will succeed Elizabeth Yakel, who has been serving as interim dean since August 2022 after Thomas A. Finholt left the position to become vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs.
“A big part of what attracted me to University of Michigan School of Information is that it not only has outstanding faculty, students and staff, but also is an incredible community,” Forte said.
“The power of an engaged scholarly community like UMSI is unique. It’s inspiring. I’m excited to join such an amazing group, to build and strengthen UMSI’s relationships internally and with partner organizations, and to enhance our ability to have real and positive impact in the world.”
Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, recommended Forte for the deanship following a national search.
“I am confident that Professor Forte will act as a catalyst to move the school forward with her leadership, research experience and strong commitment to understanding how information is shared,” she said.
Forte began her academic career in 2010 as an assistant professor at Drexel. She was promoted over the years to associate professor, associate department head for graduate affairs, department head for information science, and professor.
She studies how people collaborate and share information online, and the possible threats and risks associated with doing so. Her research group develops new tools and theoretical understandings that can help build better, safer and more beneficial online experiences.
Forte has received more than $4.5 million in research funding, including a National Science Foundation Career award. Her most recent publications are co-authored works on privacy and social media, including “Accounting for Privacy Pluralism: Lessons and Strategies from Community-Based Privacy Groups” and “Disability Activism on Social Media: Sociotechnical Challenges in the Pursuit of Visibility.”
Forte was elected chair of the steering committee for the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction Computer-Supported Cooperative Work community in 2020. In addition, she serves on the steering committee of the Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems.
She has received many accolades throughout her career, including being named the 2021 Association for Computing Machinery Distinguished Member for outstanding scientific contributions to the field of computing.
She also received an Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems best paper honorable mention in 2020; Conference On Computer-Supported Cooperative Work best paper honorable mentions in 2022, 2019 and 2017; and the OSS/OpenSym 2022 Distinguished Paper Award. Forte earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in foreign language and literature, philosophy from Western Michigan University in 1996.
She earned her Master of Library and Information Science degree in 1998 from the School of Information at the University of Texas, followed by a Ph.D. in human-centered computing in 2009 from the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.