I was returning to the University of Alberta in order to serve on the examining committee for Milena Radzikowska, who successfully defended a dissertation entitled Looking for Betsy: a Critical Theory Approach to Visibility and Pluralism in Design. Her degree is interdisciplinary between Modern Languages and Cultural Studies and Humanities Computing, but she took a design approach, creating three designs that formed a conceptual space that she then interrogated from the perspectives of critical design, feminist HCI, and rich-prospect browsing theory. The designs had to do with an experimental interface to a decision support system for the oil industry.
I was very pleased at the high quality of the project, and the rest of her committee seemed to agree; their questions and the resulting discussion were excellent. The defense was on Monday afternoon; my related activities on Tuesday consisted of providing Milena with my proofreading and minor edits. I can’t wait for her to start her new professorship in Nebraska, since it will make our collaborative research projects somewhat easier to pursue.