The institute’s faculty fellowship and scholars program bridges the gap between academia and policymakers. The institute assembles multidisciplinary teams of faculty who combine their expertise to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. Professors lead students through the polytechnic process of Learn by Doing in the lab, studio and field, teaming with them to create solutions that contribute to society’s changing needs.
Dr. Douglas D. Piirto is the Faculty Sponsor with the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy and the Department Head and Professor for the Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. He is a Registered Professional Forester in California (RPF No. 2179). His research focuses on applied aspects of natural resources management, forestry, and environmental science.
Senior Research Fellows
Dr. Foaad Khosmood is a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy's Open Government Initiative. He is the Forbes Professor of Computer Engineering and Assistant Professor of Computer Science, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Dr. Khosmood has industry experience as a senior software engineer for Intel and graduate internships at IBM and Symantec. He is the lead author for an intelligent security device patent titled "offline packet analysis". Dr. Khosmood's research involves computational stylistics, natural language processing and artificial intelligence. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Dr. Elise St. John is an expert in applied, mixed-methods research, and has extensive experience with cross-disciplinary collaboration within and across academic and non-profit research institutions. Prior to joining the institute’s team, Elise held positions in governmental, intergovernmental and non-profit research organizations, as well as other academic institutions. With a background in Political Science, Sociology, and Educational Policy, her research spans various public policy areas. Her current research agenda focuses on the political and organizational dynamics of educational reform, with a particular attention to the implications of accountability policies and issues of equity. Elise earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Organizations and Leadership from the University of Washington in 2014, where she was a U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Predoctoral Fellow, and her dissertation won the 2015 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Mixed Methods Research group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She also holds degrees in Sociology and Political Science from San Jose State University and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Dr. Tanya Flushman is a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy’s 21st Century Education Initiative and an Assistant Professor in Cal Poly’s School of Education. Her research expertise includes content literacy learning in preschool and elementary school (with an emphasis in science) and reading, writing and language development in preschool and elementary school.
Dr. Franz Kurfess is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy's Open Government Initiative Initiative and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He is an expert in and instructor of Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge-Based Systems, Human-Computer Interaction, and User-Centered Design. Before joining Cal Poly, he was with Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the University of Ulm, Germany, the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, CA, and the Technical University in Munich, where he obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science. His research involves Artificial Intelligence and User-Centered Design, with particular interest in the usability and interaction aspects of knowledge intensive systems.
Dr. Alex Dekhtyar is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy's Open Government Initiative and a Professor at the Department of Computer Science, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Dr. Dekhtyar is an expert in and instructor of databases, data-mining and bioinformatics. His research involves uncertain reasoning and management of uncertain data, semi-structured data management, software traceability, data mining and machine learning and bioinformatics. Dr. Dekhtyar has worked on numerous cross-disciplinary projects that involved anthropologists, political scientists and architects, and Old English scholars. In 2013, his paper on automating software traceability published in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Requirements Engineering in 2003 won the "Most Influential Paper" award. Dr. Dekhtyar received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Dr. Michael Latner is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy's Open Government Initiative and an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at Cal Poly, where he teaches graduate courses in research design and quantitative methods in the Masters in Public Policy Program, undergraduate courses in political participation, campaigns and elections, and California and U.S. government, and coordinates research through the Center for Public Policy at Cal Poly. Dr. Latner earned his Ph.D. in political science in 2008 from the University of California at Irvine. Dr. Latner's research interests focus on political participation, representation, and civic technology. He has published several articles on the impact of electoral systems on voting behavior and political competition, and is an expert on political participation, Dr. Latner is well-suited to evaluate programs designed to expand public access to and engagement with government.
Dr. Dale Dolan is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy’s Energy Independence Initiative and the Hood Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Cal Poly. Dr. Dolan has experience in renewable energy projects, power electronics, power systems, education and advanced motor drives. He has published research on the construction of a wind turbine emulator using advanced motor drives and on the modeling and construction of a novel virtual air gap variable reactor. His research expertise involves sustainable/renewable energy generation, wind power generation, power systems, electromagnetics, power electronic applications for distributed generation, grid connection impacts of renewable generation, energy policy promoting widespread implementation of sustainable power generation, sustainable energy project economics and sustainability of technologies. He is committed to making renewable energy a strong component of the world’s supply mix to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Dr. Shirley Magnusson is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy’s 21st Century Education Initiative and a Professor in Cal Poly’s School of Education, specializing in science education, particularly at the elementary school level. Her research has focused on understanding student and teacher knowledge and the development of scientific knowledge and reasoning, particularly in contexts of inquiry based instruction, and her work has included the development of novel texts, in paper and electronic form, to support such knowledge development.
Dr. Dean Wendt is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy’s California Energy Independence Initiative and Director of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences and Dean of Research. He has research expertise in marine ecology and conservation and strives to use data to inform the actions of ocean policy and management communities. His research expertise include marine ecology and conservation with an explicit focus on generating long term data sets for management of marine resources. Dr. Wendt is also actively involved with west coast regional ocean observing networks and the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs Science and Technology (COAST) where he strives to connect his scientific expertise with policy and decision makers.
Dr. Davide Falessi is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology & Public Policy's Open Government Initiative and Associate Professor of Computer Science. Dr. Falessi has experience in collaborating with several software companies including Cisco, Keymind, DNV (Norway), and Finmeccanica (Italy). Dr. Falessi is the author of several research papers published in all the most important international peer reviewed venues in software engineering including IEEE Software, IEEE Transactions on Software engineering and the ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodologies and a Program Committee member of around eight international conferences per year and he is the current Multimedia editor of IEEE Software. Dr. Falessi’s main research interest is in devising and empirically assessing solutions to concrete software engineering problems. He received his Ph.D. in computer engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.
Dr. José Navarro is a Faculty Scholar with the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy’s 21st Century Education Initiative and Assistant Professor in the English Department. Dr. Navaro's research expertise included Literary Studies, Latina/o Literature, multiethnic American Literature, Survey of American literature and Chicana/o Film at Cal Poly. In his first year on the tenure track, he was nominated for the California Faculty Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award (2012) and, last year, he was nominated for the Cal Poly President’s Diversity Award (2014). Dr. Navarro’s overall research interests include Chicana/o and Latina/o literary & cultural studies, Chicano/Latino masculinities, Chicano and Latino gang narratives and, specific issues related to Chicana/o and Latina/o literacy and educational access. He is also a member of the Cal Poly Chicano/Latina Faculty Staff Association (CLFSA) and the American Indian & Indigenous Faculty Staff Association (AIIFSA).