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Sarah Kuhn

Sarah Kuhn, Ph.D. Professor
  • Phone 978-934-2903
  • Fax 978-934-4028
  • Office Health and Social Sciences Building #349
  • Email


Technology, Society & Human Values

Research Interest

Research & teaching interests include the effects of computerization on work and software and engineering design.

Educational Background

Ph.D., MIT


My field of study is the use and design of information technology. I use social science methods to study work processes and the impact of computer technology in the workplace. These interests have led me also to study the process by which information technology is designed, and how technical specialists are educated. I am interested in the design process and design education in software, mechanical engineering, and architecture. In my teaching and research I also explore issues such as participatory design of information technology, workforce diversity, and the intersection of business, society, and public policy.

During the 2000-2001 academic year I was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, pursuing research at the Radcliffe Public Policy Center.  My current research has two main areas of focus: Project TechForce, a study of women and men in software and internet workplaces in Massachusetts; and the use of "design studios" and project education in computer science and engineering.

I am co-creator, with Professor Marian Williams of Lowell's Computer Science Department, of a Graduate Certificate Program in Human-Computer Interaction. I teach a graduate course  called  " Software  Design  in  Context,"  which  explores social science and policy  literature on computerization, and the implications of this literature for practitioners and for the wider society. I received my Ph.D. in 1987 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Urban Studies and Planning.  In addition to my university-based activities I have engaged in consulting and action research projects in industry, including a year-long project at Digital  Equipment Corporation that examined issues for professional women in a technology-based  company.  I have worked with labor unions non technology- -related concerns and with community groups on community development issues.
My publications include articles  on  the design  and  use  of  computer  systems  in organizations, and on the education of software  professionals and mechanical engineers.  I am author of Computer Manufacturing in New England and co-author of The Retail Revolution. I am past Co-Chair of the 1992 Participatory Design  Conference and  Program Co-Chair of the 1998 Participatory Design Conference.  I  have given numerous talks at professional and practice-oriented conferences, and most enjoy work which allows me to integrate scholarship with action.