Research Assoc. Prof., School of Information & Director, Collab for Research on Electronic Work
Thomas A. Finholt. Dr. Finholt is the director of the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work, at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, where he is also a research associate professor. He received his Ph.D. in social and decision sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in 1993 and his B.A. with high honors from Swarthmore College in 1983. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Dr. Finholt was a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a research fellow at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.
Dr. Finholt’s current research focuses on the design, deployment, and use of cyberinfrastructure in science and engineering. He was a co-developer of the world’s first operational collaboratory, the Upper Atmospheric Research Collaboratory (UARC), which was a finalist in the science category for the 1998 Smithsonian/Computerworld awards. His recent work has focused on the development of NEESgrid, the collaboratory component of the NSF’s George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). When completed in late 2004, NEESgrid will be a grid-enabled environment for teleoperation and teleobservation of remote instruments at fifteen structural engineering labs around the US. In addition, Dr. Finholt is a Co-PI on the Science of Collaboratories effort, an NSF ITR project to identify and disseminate successful design principles for cyberinfrastructure-based science and engineering research. Examples of Dr. Finholt’s previous research include studies of: the impact of geographic dispersion and computer-mediated communication on trust and performance in virtual teams (a collaborative project with Bell Labs); the design and use of collaboratories for manufacturing engineering (funded by NIST), for radiology and for space physics (funded by NSF); the design and administration of online surveys (funded by NSF); and the impact of access to archived digital content on scholarly practice (sponsored by the Mellon Foundation).
Dr. Finholt co-founded the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work (CREW) in 1994, and has served as the director of CREW since 1997. He is the author of numerous articles on collaboratories and computer-mediated communication, and has served as a consultant on cyberinfrastructure to both the NSF and the NIH.