Award-winning game designer Jessica Hammer will soon level up when she takes on the role of interim associate director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science.
"We are lucky to do exceptional research and teaching at the HCII. Even better, we get to combine the two to shape the future of human-computer interaction," said Hammer, the HCII's Thomas and Lydia Moran Assistant Professor of Learning Science. "I want to make sure that all members of our community — from our first-year undergraduates to the most senior faculty — can contribute to this mission."
Hammer, who has often learned the hard way how to develop a game to meet its vision, said that her training will help her ensure the department's practices and organizations are best suited to meet its goals.
"I want to help create a department where our work is not just impactful, but also joyful," Hammer said.
Hammer will take on the new role while the HCII's current director, Jodi Forlizzi, transitions to her position as the associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in SCS and reduces her duties as department head. Forlizzi will continue to oversee faculty hiring; the reappointment, promotion and tenure process; staff hiring and budgetary matters. Hammer will lead faculty meetings, attend faculty leadership meetings, and oversee the curriculum and awards committees. Forlizzi will supervise the HCII master's programs; Hammer the Ph.D. and undergraduate programs.
"I have enormous respect for everything Jodi has accomplished as director of the HCII. She has helped us get through globally challenging times and has empowered others in the department to learn to lead from her," Hammer said. "We will be conducting a search for a new director, and part of my role as associate director will be providing leadership continuity to the department. I'd like to help the new director quickly master the basics of the job, so they can move on to reinforcing what's already great at the HCII and figuring out where they can help us grow."
Hammer holds a joint appointment with CMU's Entertainment Technology Center. She earned her B.A. at Harvard University, her M.S. from the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program and her Ph.D. in cognitive studies at Columbia University.
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