The Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Awards program recognizes scholarship that advances inclusive excellence, providing $50,000 to awardees to support efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion. This pilot program at UCI, funded through an Advancing Faculty Diversity grant from the UC Office of the President, provides a two-year appointment for newly hired faculty, including Anne Marie Piper, an associate professor who joined the Department of Informatics in July 2020. Piper was named a recipient of the award for her research into human-computer interaction and accessible computing and efforts to create more equitable and inclusive digital experiences.
During the inaugural Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Awardees public forum, Douglas Haynes, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusive excellence, talked about how “the recipients of this award will set a new standard as much for the country as for the campus.” He introduced “five of our newest founding members at UCI, who will be presenting talks to you today that help answer the question, ‘Why does inclusive excellence matter in my work at UCI?’”
Piper’s talk focused on creating inclusive digital futures. As an ethnographer of technology, aging and disability, she examines how to make technology accessible throughout people’s lifespans. Keeping older adults connected and safe online and managing their digital footprint is a new form of caregiving work she has seen emerging in the past few years — work that was only exacerbated by COVID-19.
“Staying connected has been hard for everyone, but it has been especially difficult for many older adults and people with disabilities,” she explained. “We’ve had more than two decades worth of research on the smart home of the future and remote caregiving technologies, yet when faced with a global pandemic, we see we are still drastically underprepared for making that future happen.”
Along with faculty and students in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS) and the Steckler Center for Responsible, Ethical, and Accessible Technology (CREATE), Piper is working to design inclusive technology that supports lifelong well-being. Her overall focus is answering the question, “How can we use technology to bring about greater human connection but do so in a responsible, ethical and accessible way?”
— Shani Murray