- Michele Masucci -

Michele MasucciDr. Masucci received her Doctorate in Geography from Clark University in 1987. She also holds an M.A. in Geography (Clark University 1986) and a B.S. in Geography and Regional Planning (Salisbury University 1982). She has been on tenure-track appointment at West Georgia University (1989-1991), at Auburn University (1991-1997) and at Temple University since 1997. She currently serves Temple as the Interim Vice Provost for Research. She is also the Director of the Information Technology and Society Research Group at Temple University and Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. She served as Chair of the department from 2010 – 2012, and Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research and Director of Research Development from 2008-2012

Her research examines how barriers to accessing information resources using geographic information technologies are interrelated with community development and environmental quality problems, including accessing health, education, and social services. She has worked to develop university-community partnerships with organizations that address human rights issues, community and environmental planning organizations in the Southeastern U.S. and in Brazil involved in water quality monitoring and assessment, and with informal educational settings on integrating information technology curricula through educational programs aimed at advancing knowledge of to develop information resources.

She is the Principal Investigator of BITS (Building Information Technology Skills), an ongoing research program that was initiated with funding by the National Science Foundation in 2004 and has continued through funding from Philadelphia Youth Network and other grantors. This program engages high school youth from the School District of Philadelphia to learn information and communication technology skills through providing experiences and training in geography, cartography, geographic field methods, and digital representation of place, environment, and social problems in the city. It studies how these experiences shape perceptions of place and creates the foundations for place-based learning and participatory use of information technologies, including geographic information technologies.

The program is one of the foundations for the implementation of a newly funded initiative, called Urban Apps and Maps Studios, supported by the Economic Development Administration, the Knight Foundation, the Philadelphia Youth Network and the Doris Duke Foundation. Dr. Masucci is the PI or Co-PI of nearly $2,000,000 of funding related to the program that will be supported for the next five years.

Dr. Masucci’s research also investigates the ethical implications of e-health. She has also examined the relationship between geographic, social, and networked access to information technologies and health outcomes among 400 cardiovascular disease patients in a comparative study of health care systems in Philadelphia and rural Pennsylvania funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She developed and implemented an internet training protocol that addressed digital divide barriers to accessing information technologies among patients enrolled in the study, assessing self-efficacy issues related to acquiring skills needed to use the internet communication tool developed for the study, and analyzing social, demographic, and spatial patterns associated with health outcomes among patients who use the communication tool.

Previous research has been funded by the USIA College and University Affiliations Program, USDA, Fulbright, and the Regional Center for Teacher Education in Georgia. This work has examined the relationships between community planning, environmental management and information uses and technologies in non-governmental organizations in the Atlantic Rainforest Region of Brazil, in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin region, and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her work on identifying criteria for assessing appropriate use of IT in marginalized community settings is the focus of a new book that examines the geographic and policy implications of the digital divide. It is called: Information and Communication Technology Geographies: Strategies for Bridging the Digital Divide (2011, Gilbert and Masucci, Praxis).