CSU, Chico News

Transatlantic Masters Program Launched in New Field of Visualization

Date: 12-11-2009

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico Professor of Psychology Neil Schwartz has established a new transatlantic graduate program where students will become experts in the cutting-edge field of international cognitive visualization (ICV).

Students will earn a master of arts degree by attending CSU, Chico as well as the University of Grenoble (France) and the University of Koblenz-Landau (Germany) over the span of two years. The curriculum includes courses in cognitive psychology, applied computer graphics and learning science.

The ICV program will include internships with industry leaders and require students to learn two languages so they will be fluent in English, German and French.

Schwartz is partnering with Professor Wolfgang Schnotz, University of Koblenz-Landau, and Professor Erica de Vries, University of Grenoble, to launch the new master’s program on the three university campuses.

Six U.S. students, three French students and three German students will be the first group of students enrolled in the program starting in 2010. The first semester will be in Germany, the following semester in France and the second year in Chico.

Students with bachelor’s degrees in psychology, instructional design, computer graphics and foreign languages are among those who may be interested in pursuing the burgeoning area of visualization media.

Schwartz said the use of visualization media and tools, such as graphs, diagrams, decorative pictures and animations, has become critically important to engineering, law and other fields. For instance, attorneys use increasingly complex computer graphics, animation and simulations to illustrate testimony, display evidence and show trends in litigated cases.

Advanced visualization tools rely on new research on cognition about how the brain absorbs and processes information, Schwartz said.

In addition, the global economy has made it imperative that professionals understand how visualization can be used to bridge the linguistic, legal and cultural gaps between people from different countries and constituent groups.

“This is an emerging discipline that will provide tremendous employment potential to trained professionals in countries around the world,” said Schwartz. “I think the students entering this graduate program are going to feel like they are getting in on the ground floor of something very, very exciting.”

Schwartz is the author of more than 130 papers, chapters and journal publications on cognition and learning. He is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction, the American Psychological Society and the National Consortium for Instruction and Cognition. He received his PhD in learning, cognition and instruction in 1981 from Arizona State University. He has been a CSU, Chico professor since 1987.

For more information about the ICV program, call (530) 898-4968, e-mail nschwartz@csuchico.edu or go to http://www.csuchico.edu/psy/icv/.