Advisors

Prof. Noshir Contractor

Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, USA. He is the Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University.

He is investigating factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in communities. Specifically, his research team is developing and testing theories and methods of network science to map, understand and enable more effective networks in a wide variety of contexts including communities of practice in business, science and engineering communities, disaster response teams, public health networks, digital media and learning networks, and in virtual worlds, such as Second Life. His research program has been funded continuously for over a decade by major grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation with additional funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Rockefeller Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.

Professor Contractor has published or presented over 250 research papers dealing with communicating and organizing. His book titled Theories of Communication Networks (co-authored with Professor Peter Monge, published by Oxford University Press in English and by China Renmin University Press in simplified Chinese) received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association. He is the lead developer of IKNOW (Inquiring Knowledge Networks On the Web), and its Cyberinfrastructure extension C-IKNOW, a socio-technical environment to understand and enable networks among communities, as well as Blanche, a software environment to simulate the dynamics of social networks.

His papers have received Top Paper awards from the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association. In 2000 he was awarded the Outstanding Member Award by the Organizational Communication Division of the International Communication Association. He has served on the editorial boards of Human Communication Research, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, Organization Science, and the World Wide Web Electronic Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

He has consulted with Procter & Gamble, Boeing, Charles Schwab, Fiat, Illinois Power, McKinsey Management Consulting, Merrill Lynch, Michigan Consolidated, National Cancer Institute, Paramount Pictures, the Utah Transit Authority, and Vodafone. He developed one of the first graduate and undergraduate “virtual” courses on “Emerging Technologies in the Workplace” to be webcast and cablecast by Jones International University. Internationally, Professor Contractor has also conducted workshops on social network analysis and the management of knowledge networks in China, Finland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Professor Contractor holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (Chennai). He was on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for twenty years prior to joining Northwestern in 2007.

Prof. Scott Poole

Marshall Scott Poole is David and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and Director of I-CHASS: The Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of Illinois. He is also a CCSS Fellow in the Organization Science Program at Vrije University in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His research interests include group and organizational communication, information and communication technologies, collaboration, organizational change and innovation, and theory construction. One of Scott’s current research projects is the Virtual Worlds Exploratorium Project, a multi-university collaboration which investigates communication and behavior in massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs). Specific research within this project includes studies of team effectiveness, mentoring and learning and trust in MMOGs. Another of Scott’s current research projects focuses on coordination of multi-team systems in emergency response organizations and on how communication and information technologies promote or inhibit effective response.

David Edery

David Edery is Manager of Fuzbi, an independent consulting firm focused on the business and design of digitally-distributed and online games, and CEO of Spry Fox, a game development studio focused on making the world a happier place. David is also a director on the board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and a research affiliate of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program (MIT CMS). Previously, David was the Worldwide Games Portfolio Manager for Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade service, and the MIT CMS Program’s Associate Director for Special Projects before Microsoft.

David is also the co-author of Changing the Game: How Video Games are Transforming the Future of Business – a review of the ways that games are helping companies to connect with customers, to attract, train, and motivate employees, and to boost their productivity.

David received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he concentrated on marketing and entrepreneurship. Prior to receiving his MBA, David worked as a software engineer and founded a successful software development and consulting firm. Last but not least, a long time ago in a place far, far away, David received his BA in English Literature from Brandeis University. (Who says English majors can’t be good engineers, or good businesspeople for that matter?)