At the end of this year, Linda Ettinger, PhD, will be retiring after twenty-eight years with the University of Oregon Applied Information Management (AIM) Master’s Degree Program.
Linda was engaged in early efforts to bring attention to the links between computing and design in the arts. As an assistant professor, she worked closely with colleagues in the UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts to sponsor an annual conference on computer graphics, which convened from 1982–1989. This major conference brought together professionals from many fields including computer science, medicine, business, art, and engineering to explore how their industries interconnect with the field of computer graphics.
Linda’s interest in interdisciplinary academic work contributed to her early participation in the development of the AIM Program. She had the academic responsibility to develop the “information design” segment of the master’s degree. Linda taught several graduate courses in this component herself, making the long trip to Portland from Eugene, often returning to Eugene in the middle of the night. She also took on the task of working with faculty from across the curriculum who taught other components of the program.
In her role as academic director, Linda saw the curriculum through various administrative and academic reviews, selected teaching faculty, and took the lead role in student admissions. She worked with the AIM Program half time in addition to her traditional, tenure-related responsibilities at the School of Architecture and Allied Arts.
Rather early on, Linda’s academic interests in AIM shifted from the information design content area to the larger applied research element associated with the final student research culminating the program. She worked closely with participating faculty to improve the research component. With students typically working full time in professional settings and also managing family life, the research component was very difficult to complete in the traditional manner. Linda’s initiative to redesign the final research component was critical to the success of AIM and resulted in the AIM Capstone course.
Linda has a unique talent of getting close to AIM students and supporting their early efforts in research, regardless of the research topic. Over the years she has continued to let the final course evolve to best suit the needs of students while retaining the high research standards required at the University of Oregon. Often students come into the class quite apprehensive of the work before them but at the end, after working closely with Linda, they are very proud of the work they have completed. It is, after all, an earned master’s degree from a respected research university and the accomplishment marks a milestone in their lives.
Prior to her work as a UO faculty member, Linda taught art and design at different institutions. At UO she took coursework with Dr. Beverly Jones and Dr. Dave Moursund, who greatly influenced her interests in “applied computing.” In 1982, she completed her doctoral dissertation, investigating ethnographic methods in education and writing with her state of the art Apple II+. She earlier finished a master of science degree from Illinois State University in jewelry and metalsmith and holds a bachelor of fine arts in art history from Southwest Missouri State University (Missouri State University).
Linda turned over her academic director position in 2012 and is working hard at handing off the Capstone research course in preparation for full retirement. Her vision and legacy ensures that the AIM Program will continue to educate students for years to come.
PUBLISHED: November 25, 2013