“ Three of the common denominators I learned from my Professors in the CIS program were critical thinking, interdisciplinary approach to research, and contributions to the IS field. ”
Joining the University of Hawaii Communication and Information Sciences (CIS) PhD program in 2007 is one of the best academic decisions of my life. With an Engineering degree and an MBA my academic aspirations were perfectly aligned with interdisciplinary approach of the CIS program. The CIS program provided me opportunities not only to conduct research on information systems for crisis management, understand institutional theory, convergence behaviors and inter-agency coordination during crisis situations, but also provided me a platform to interact and gain knowledge from an array of internationally acclaimed interdisciplinary CIS faculties. With their support my PhD research contributions include six papers including the recent one “Nepal Earthquake Response through Twitter” at HICSS’17.
After returning from Hawaii I re-joined government service as the Deputy Director of Communication Directorate, as well as started teaching at Kings College in Kathmandu, an affiliate of Westcliff University, California, USA. The knowledge gained from the program helped me become a successful pracademic. The CIS program enabled me to implement theoretical knowledge to practice for the benefit of the public at large when in distress. Immediately after the Nepal earthquake on 25th April, 2015, I decided to practically implement my PhD research knowledge to help people in crisis. In addition, by getting personally involved on the Twitter handle for crisis response, I felt a sense of accomplishment when my knowledge not only successfully enabled the project to provide crisis information on rescue and relief operations, but also helped save lives. I was honored with two national awards - including the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology Award conferred by Prime Minister of Nepal.
Three of the common denominators I learned from my Professors in the CIS program were critical thinking, interdisciplinary approach to research, and contributions to the IS field. Moreover, the program enabled me to understand the three teaching priorities: interdisciplinary content, interactive teaching sessions, and activity-based learning. The passion for teaching that I developed through the CIS program has not only honed my actual teaching skills, but also gained my recognition as a Distinguished Professor at Kings College, Westcliff University. Fundamentally, the CIS PhD degree not only changed my professional portfolio, but also enabled me to contribute and make a significant impact on society of which I am very proud.
Thanks to my interdisciplinary CIS roots, I am able to collaborate from my business school position across campus with different academic disciplines.
My CIS PhD enabled me to study in areas and topics that truly interest me, yet forced me to broaden my view and embrace different theoretical and methodological perspectives. The interdisciplinary nature of the PhD program ensured that I was exposed to ideas outside of my expected comfort zone and, in doing so, helped me understand and break through my own confirmation biases in what I studied and accepted to be true.
The amazing CIS faculty excelled at identifying when I was going off track and provided the reasoned mentorship I needed to succeed. When I realized I wanted to study behavioral information security challenges, UH did not yet have a program that was focused on understanding the intersection of the technological, organizational, cultural, and psychological factors that motivate or inhibit security behaviors. The CIS faculty, and my dissertation committee in particular, helped me navigate widely diverse research disciplines and focus my research efforts. Coupled with the opportunity to teach a variety of courses at the Shidler College of Business during my PhD studies, the CIS program fully prepared me for a major career shift into academia at a research university. Thanks to my interdisciplinary CIS roots, I am able to collaborate from my business school position across campus with different academic disciplines.
“ The CIS program and its professors encouraged and facilitated my pursuit of a customized academic path that resulted in a purposeful and satisfying experience. ”
The CIS program's flexibility allowed me to carve an eclectic road during my doctoral degree, combining disciplines both within CIS and other areas in the University. I took advantage of the communication and organizational studies that the program offers, and made it "trans-disciplinary" by adding ocean policy studies from the school of Oceanography. At all times during my studies, the CIS program and its professors encouraged and facilitated my pursuit of a customized academic path that resulted in a purposeful and satisfying experience. I worked with several professors who both challenged me to seek opportunities outside the university and assisted me in the process. As a result, I received NSF funding for my dissertation, established a solid network with people outside the university, and successfully applied to work with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C., as part of the Coral Reef Conservation Program. I am grateful that the CIS program's interdisciplinary nature allowed me to advance my interests, as varied as they were, and complete a thoroughly enjoyable doctoral degree.
“ CIS has equipped me with fundamental capabilities to cope with future challenge in teaching and research. ”
In the digital age, the converging phenomena among media, computer technology, and telecommunication infrastructure shape societies significantly that requires an interdisciplinary study to better tackle the complicated new territory. As a lecturer in Taiwan’s university who attempted to stretch her knowledge domains, I decided to attend the Interdisciplinary Communication Information Sciences doctoral program (CIS) at University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa in 2004. Honestly, it was one of the best choices that I have made in my life. With three-year rigorous training (courses, exams, proposal, dissertation), I expanded my knowledge span and scope from Communication to MIS and HCI, thanks to these excellent professors and inspiring cohorts. CIS study not only exposed me to varieties of theories and methods cross-disciplines, but also opened my mind to appreciate diversities and further curbed the tendency to embrace “paradigms” blindly. It set up a solid foundation for me to conduct research regarding evolving new communication information technologies (DTV, TV news digitalization, Weblog, mobile TV, etc.), and to collaborate with scholars from different backgrounds, as my doctoral training benefits me to quickly enter novel and unfamiliar arenas, grasp their core concepts, and communicate with people in their disciple languages. Before my dissertation defense in 2007, I obtained the assistant professor position in the Communication and Information School at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. As an academic newbie, I am not afraid of any future challenge in teaching and research, because CIS has equipped me with fundamental capabilities to cope with them. CIS and Hawaiʻi will be always in my heart and thoughts!
“ CIS allowed me the freedom to develop my research in an area that did not fit within any single discipline. ”
The flexibility available to students of the multidisciplinary approach of the doctoral program in Communication and Information Sciences was attractive to me, as it provided an opportunity to pursue my interests in the relatively new and rapidly expanding field of Computer Forensics. The program provided the opportunity to combine relevant aspects from Information Technology Management, Computer Science, Library Information Science, and Communication and allowed me the freedom to develop my research in an area that did not fit within any single discipline. While the dissertation phase of the CIS program provided a forum for the specific area of focus for my research, the earlier, qualifying phase of the program provided a challenging and rewarding experience exposing me to concepts and methods from disciplines that were new to me. The rigor of the qualifying phase also contributed to a delightful, collegial experience working with my colleagues in preparation for the comprehensive examinations that developed lasting friendships with some very talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. The CIS program also provided me with an opportunity to teach graduate and undergraduate courses while completing my dissertation, and as a result of my experiences from the program, I was able to accept a tenure-track position at Cal Poly Pomona and began teaching immediately upon completing my dissertation in August of 2006.
“ The interdisciplinary nature of the CIS program has been the stimulus and springboard for innovations in teaching, writing, and research. It’s a source I draw on surprisingly often. ”
Throughout my work as a CIS student and now from my vantage point as an associate professor in an LIS graduate program on the mainland, the interdisciplinary nature of the CIS program has been the stimulus and springboard for innovations in teaching, writing, and research. It’s a source I draw on surprisingly often. While my mind has always wandered into unlikely places, the program gave me not only a cornucopia of new ideas but also the focus and diverse methods to pursue new avenues with discipline and fortitude. I particularly value my associations with faculty and fellow students, who inspired, provoked, mentored, and wheedled me into being a clearer thinker, more responsible scholar, and intellectual risk taker. The CIS program of my experience was an uncommon gathering of diverse, intelligent, stimulating scholars and downright interesting people. May it ever be so.
“ Whether your academic future is research, teaching, or administrative the CIS program is a great foundation. ”
I came to the CIS program relatively late in my professional career and earning a doctorate was a bit of unfinished business. I didn't just want a degree for the sake of a degree but rather something that pulled together my interests and experiences while further preparing me for the higher education administrative work in which I am engaged. The CIS program was the perfect fit. The interdisciplinary approach, the blending of technology and communication, the interaction among faculty and students all contributed to a great experience.
Shortly after completing the program I was tasked with managing a major student information system implementation for the University. The lessons learned in the CIS program helped me immensely in working with others to bring this mission critical application to fruition on-time and under budget. Whether your academic future is research, teaching, or administrative the CIS program is a great foundation.