SCIS offers new B.S. program in Human-Centered Technology Design

The University of Maine School of Computing and Information Sciences (SCIS) offers a new Bachelor of Science in Human-Centered Technology Design program, starting with the fall 2023 semester.

The degree program was approved at the Jan. 30 meeting of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.

Human-Centered Technology Design, or HCTD, focuses on the design and development of digital technology with a grounding on the needs and capabilities of the humans who will use it. HCTD brings together elements from new media, computer science, spatial computing, psychology, communications, and innovation engineering.

The fast-growing field has appeared in engineering, gaming, media, arts and communications programs in more than 75 U.S. colleges and universities over the last decade, but no college or university in Maine currently offers a major in HCTD, despite a demand for related jobs in the field throughout New England and nationally. Interviews conducted with Maine high school guidance programs also found that HCTD would help bridge computer science and new media for college-bound high-schoolers.

“This program offers new opportunities for UMaine students who are excited about designing technology that meets people’s needs,” says Emily Haddad, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Programs like HCTD are also key to expanding the workforce of creative, adaptable technology experts in Maine.”

UMaine’s program will feature a collaborative, project-based learning curriculum throughout all four years. Developing from existing resources in SCIS and in other UMaine programs, the HCTD major will create new research-learning opportunities and a new pathways-to-careers model for both the campus and the UMaine System.

“HCTD will build upon the design expertise of new media faculty, the program development expertise of computer science faculty and the human-centered computing expertise of spatial computing faculty, drawing upon the strengths of all three existing programs. This major will attract students who want to build technology for human use and benefit,” says Penny Rheingans, professor of computer science and director of SCIS.

Contact: Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe, HCTD Undergraduate Program Coordinator