Beaton wins Thornburgh Forum Faculty Grant


Brian Beaton, Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences, has been awarded a Faculty Academic Support Grant from the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law & Public Policy. The $2500 grant will be used to identify research materials for a new graduate course to be offered at the iSchool. The  Faculty Academic Support Grant Program supports the inclusion of the Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection into course instruction in the many degree programs offered at Pitt.

Thanks to this grant, Dr. Beaton will be able to incorporate pertinent materials into a future graduate course on “Knowledge Economies.” The course will examine the central role of information technology and knowledge production within recent economic history; look at deindustrialization and the rise of information-intensive industries; and explore case studies of economic development, with a particular emphasis on Pittsburgh as an exemplar of economic revitalization in the information age. Beaton will be using materials from the Dick Thornburgh Papers housed in Hillman Library’s Archives Service Center to write case studies and to develop a primary source document reader for students in the course.  

This course is being developed and will be taught by Dr. Beaton, who joined the iSchool faculty in August of 2012. It meshes with his research and teaching interests, which include science and technology studies (STS), the role of information technology in society, and public policy. Dr. Beaton recently won a Strong Research Fellowship to conduct research at the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG), a Gaming Research Fellowship from the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and served as a co-PI on a Humanities Center Collaborative Research Grant from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Beaton’s current grant was provided by the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy, which was established in 2007 and hosts a University-based archive covering the former Pennsylvania Governor’s diverse career. Mr. Thornburgh has had a storied public service career, having served as Governor of Pennsylvania, Attorney General of the United States under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations.