(Palen, Leysia A - 2022) -- Distinguished Professorship
Having joined the CU faculty in 1998 as an Assistant Research Professor in Computer Science, Palen has served the CU community in a variety of roles, culminating in her current roles as Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Information Science. She also founded this latter department as its chair in 2015, a department that has attracted world-class faculty who engage in a wide variety of pressing problems in information science, and that offers new bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs to CU students.
Palen is widely credited with pioneering the field of crisis informatics, which examines the role of information and computing in mass emergency and disaster situations. Her scholarly work engages with the areas of human-computer interaction, human-data interaction, and computer-supported cooperative work. Her work has been cited over 20,000 times and its longevity has been recognized by the ACM SIGCHI Societal Impact Award (2015) and her inclusion in the ACM SIG Computer Human Interaction Academy (2016).
Palen has been a Principal Investigator in research projects supported by National Science Foundation (about $5 million), which has expanded the CU Boulder scholarly community through interdisciplinary multi-faculty and multi-student teams that cross computer and information science with the social sciences. She has mentored 15 Ph.D. students who engage in interdisciplinary work; 13 of these students are women, which is a rarity in male-dominated tech fields. Her former students have gone on to conduct research and lead impactful labs in their own specialized areas of crisis and disinformation at top universities in computer science and information science. A dedicated instructor and administrator, Palen has continued to innovate curriculum, mentor researchers, and stimulate student engagement.