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Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology


Dr. Mar Hicks


Associate Professor, History of Technology



Illinois Tech, a small highly selective university in Chicago with world-renowned schools of architecture and design, was founded in 1890 to serve working class people as a place where they could “learn by doing”, which illustrates the university’s commitment to both the public as well as to practice-based education. According to the New York Times, Illinois Tech ranks 2nd of all highly selective private colleges in term of upward mobility. Illinois Tech intends to focus on three field building areas within public interest technology including 1) interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary education and research; 2) experiential learning; and, 3) faculty recognition.

Over the past decade, faculty at Illinois Tech have been very active in research, pedagogy and service related to promoting public interest technology in fields including computer science, design, statistics, sustainability science, applied behavioral science, ethics, history, science and technology studies and communications. Specifically, they have published books and articles that have influenced policy discussions on technology and the public good as well as participated in the design of new technologies. The faculty have expertise in histories and futures of labor; computing and automation for the public good; autonomous vehicles and smart city critique and design; sustainable food systems; circular economy; behavioral public policy; computational fashion; video games; information and communications technologies; artificial intelligence; brain-machine interfaces; genetic engineering; reproductive technologies and, networked medical devices. In particular, their scholarship has focused on ethical, social and political implications of how technology intersects with gender, race, class and disability.

Illinois Tech has four initiatives, centers and labs that are relevant to public interest technology: Socially Responsible Modeling, Computation, and Design (SoReMo); Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP); and the Community Engaged Research Coalition (CERC). In addition, the Institute of Design’s Action Lab focuses on using design methods in community-based projects that will drive the creation of new futures in Chicago.