Michele Masucci, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research
Director, Information Technology and Society Research Group
Professor, Department of Geography and Urban Studies
Dr. Masucci received her Doctorate in Geography from Clark University in 1987. She also holds an M.A. in Geography (Clark University 1986) and a B.S. in Geography and Regional Planning (Salisbury University 1982). She has been on tenure-track appointment at West Georgia University (1989-1991), at Auburn University (1991-1997) and at Temple University since 1997. She is the current Vice President for Research at Temple University, and has served previously as Vice Provost for Research, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research, Director of Research Development, Director of the Information Technology and Society Research Group and Chair of the Department of Geography and Urban Studies. In her role as the Vice President for Research, she oversees the research enterprise for the university, including strategic research initiatives, technology transfer, research integrity and compliance, and grant administration. Dr. Masucci is Temple's representative to the Federal Demonstration Partnership, where she leads the Pipelines Initiative, aimed at expanding access to STEM careers for women and underrepresented minorities. She is also Temple's representative to the Government University Industry Research Round Table (GUIRR) of the National Academies.
Dr. Masucci’s research examines how barriers to accessing information resources using geographic information technologies are interrelated with community development and environmental quality problems, including accessing health, education, and social services. She has worked to develop university-community partnerships with organizations that address human rights issues, community and environmental planning organizations in the Southeastern U.S. and in Brazil involved in water quality monitoring and assessment, and with informal educational settings on integrating information technology curricula through educational programs aimed at advancing knowledge of to develop information resources.
She is the Principal Investigator of BITS (Building Information Technology Skills), an ongoing research program that was initiated with funding by the National Science Foundation in 2004 and has had continued funding from other sponsors. This program engages high school youth from the School District of Philadelphia to learn information and communication technology skills through providing experiences and training in geography, cartography, geographic field methods, and digital representation of place, environment, and social problems in the city. It studies how these experiences shape perceptions of place and creates the foundations for place-based learning and participatory use of information technologies, including geographic information technologies. She also co-Directs the Urban Apps and Maps Studios, supported by the Economic Development Administration, the Knight Foundation, the Philadelphia Youth Network, the Doris Duke Foundation and other sponsors. Dr. Masucci’s research also examines the relationships among geographic, social, and networked access to information technologies and health outcomes among inner city patient populations receiving care for heart disease through funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. She has also examined the role of environmental variables on chronic disease using geographic information systems technologies to analyze spatial patterns of exposure to toxins that pose metabolic risks at the community scale of analysis. Previous funded research has examined the relationships between community planning, environmental management and information uses and technologies in non-governmental organizations in the Atlantic Rainforest Region of Brazil, in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin region, and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her work on identifying criteria for assessing appropriate use of IT in marginalized community settings is the focus of her recent book that examines the geographic and policy implications of the digital divide. It is called: Information and Communication Technology Geographies: Strategies for Bridging the Digital Divide (2011, Gilbert and Masucci, Praxis).