Put the words “Internet studies” into a Google search and one of the top choices will be the Berglund Center for Internet Studies at Pacific University in Oregon.
After 10 years on the Forest Grove campus, the Center has developed an international following and is one of the most prominent institutions in the U.S. related to the study of the Internet and its impact on society, according to Jeffrey Barlow, the director, and Theresa Floyd, the program coordinator. Barlow is also a professor of history at Pacific. The Center.
Founded with an endowment in 2000 by alumni Mary (B.S. ’58) and James (O.D. ’60) Berglund, the center provides a host of programs related to the impact of electronic media and the Internet on all aspects of life.
Housed in the basement of the Berglund Hall, the center provides a variety of avenues to Pacific students, faculty and staff and other interested people from the around the world to study and research the Internet’s impact.
The center sponsors six Roundtable presentations every year, bringing experts on some of the Internet’s recent developments to campus to speak. Last year’s presentations included topics such as cloud computing, social media and how businesses can use it, use of the Kindle reader in the classroom, and adoption of health information and electronic technology, among others.
One of the center’s missions, notes Floyd, is to ‘offer students the experiences, in a professional environment, that they wouldn’t get anywhere else.” Each year, an internship award of $5,000 is divided among four students who are offered an opportunity to explore various aspects of the Internet.The award is renewable for four years so there are usually three to four student fellows in residence each year.
In addition, the center annually employs around 15 students from many different academic disciplines. They work on several different projects, including publication of the Interface, the Berglund Center’s online journal, as well as videos of the Roundtable presentations, DVDs, on-demand book publication and other projects.
Over the last 10 years, more than 100 students have been involved with the center. As a result of their work, many have gone on to professions in organizations such as the National Security Agency, Google, Intel and Oregon Public Broadcasting, among many others, notes Barlow.
The Berglund Center also offers fellowships for staff and faculty for research related to the use of the Internet. Some 21 fellows have been funded in the last 10 years. Information on the recipients and their works can be found at http://bcis.pacificu.edu/journal/fellows.
Besides his position as director of the Berglund Center, Barlow teaches Asian history for the College of Arts & Sciences and holds the Matsushita Chair for Asian Studies. His expertise and relationships with China has brought many interesting opportunities and projects to the center.
“We are the first in the world to do online classes in China in real time,” says Barlow. The Center has a relationship with Wenzhou Medical College and Barlow says that in the future, the center hopes to facilitate real-time online courses in business and health science disciplines.
Graduating students from Pacific have taughtEnglish in China through a program facilitated by Barlow. In the last five years some 30 graduates have participated in the program, says Barlow. In addition,through the relationships crafted in the program, six Chinese scholars have come to Pacific to participate in the master’s of education program offered by the College of Education.