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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

August 28, 2001 Contact: Anne Dybek (312) 996-8279; adybek@uic.edu

Editors: Photo available


The University of Illinois at Chicago is opening the Unit for New Media Studies to explore all aspects of new communication media, including one of the fastest areas of growth - the Internet.

The unit will marry the study of new communication media with the fields of education, the humanities, engineering and other areas of study affected by new communication technology. Steve Jones, professor and head of communication, will serve as director.

"We are just starting to see the importance of new media as they shape our knowledge and perceptions of history, culture and politics," said Jones. "The most interesting changes new media bring to our lives can be found in shifts in everyday habits from old media like TV, radio and the telephone, to new media like the Web, cell phones and mp3s."

Jones is a senior research fellow at the Pew Internet and American Life Project and founder and president of the Association of Internet Researchers. He is internationally recognized as a leading authority on the Internet and related technologies.

"Ideally, the Unit for New Media Studies will provide a setting where students and faculty who are interested in specific communication media - and the ways those media interact - can conduct research. It will have the added benefit of providing a learning tool to both educators and students."

The unit will:

  • Collaborate with UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory - including the CAVE Automated Virtual Environment and the ImmersaDesk technologies - to create interactive virtual exhibits at the forefront of new teaching methods
  • Offer a lecture series on media-related topics that will run throughout the academic year
  • Host visiting international scholars who will inform resident faculty and students about new media in their countries and learn about new media use in the United States
  • Create advisory groups of business and media professionals who will work in a "think tank" setting to study new technology and make recommendations about its use

"The unit will answer the question 'What happens next?' when it comes to the Internet and other new forms of communication," Jones said. "It will look at the impact of new media on society without the hype."

- UIC -

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