CSU, Chico News

Leading-Edge International Master’s Program in Cognition and Visualization Is Funded

Date: 10-29-2010

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Neil Schwartz
International Cognitive Visualization Master’s Program

A dual master’s program among universities in the United States, France and Germany has been funded on both sides of the Atlantic for $832,000 by the European Commission and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, a program of the U.S. Department of Education. The master’s program, International Cognitive Visualization (ICV), breaks ground in an emerging science by being the first of its kind worldwide to train multilingual students to be specialists in both cognitive visualization and international business.

The program, which will accept applications beginning Oct. 1, 2010, was developed over two years through the International Graduate Research Exchange by Program Director Neil Schwartz from California State University Chico, and his partners, Professor Wolfgang Schnotz from the University of Koblenz-Landau and Professor Erica de Vries from the University of Grenoble.

Twelve students, selected from applicants from the United States, France and Germany, will take courses in cognitive psychology, applied computer graphics and learning science. In addition, they will intern with an international company. As part of the program’s development, companies expressing an urgent need for such specialists were identified.

The first group of students will begin a month-long German-language immersion intensive in September 2011and then move to the university town of Landau at the end of October to begin their coursework. In February 2012, they will move to Grenoble, France, and enter a month-long French language immersion intensive. In March, they will begin their second semester at the University of Grenoble. They will finish in July and then move to CSU, Chico to begin the fall semester in August. They will finish in May 2013, with a dual degree in the time it would normally take to complete one degree.

The graduates will be specialists in visualization graphics. “Visualization media and tools are everywhere,” said Schwartz. “Students, executives, lawyers, engineers, Internet venders, textbook editors and many more rely on graphs, pictures, illustrations and animations to stimulate interest, ensure comprehension, persuade and inspire—in short, to connect with the human mind.”

ICV will train specialists in understanding how these visualization and media tools work and how to evaluate them. These specialists will work alongside graphics designers, design teams and management staffs to help create visualization tools and solve problems in an international context.

“This emerging discipline 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.”

Students with bachelor’s degrees in psychology, instructional design, computer graphics and foreign languages are among those who may be interested in applying for this master’s program.

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/.

The development of the ICV Program is an extension of the International Graduate Research Exchange, a consortium of laboratories providing graduate research apprenticeships in the learning sciences in Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Cyprus and the United States.