ISE and KCH announce new student chapter of national Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
We are happy to announce a new student group that is relevant to many different majors on campus. The Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering (ISE) in The Grainger College of Engineering has partnered with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health (KCH) in the College of Applied Health Sciences to form a student chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES).
Human Factors/Ergonomics (HF/E) is defined by the International Ergonomics Association and HFES as “the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people” (https://www.hfes.org/About-HFES/What-is-Human-Factors-and-Ergonomics). In other words, HF/E is applied to systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness in addition to improving the wellbeing of the humans involved.
HF/E intersects many disciplines, including “psychology, sociology, engineering, biomechanics, industrial design, physiology, anthropometry, interaction design, visual design, user experience, and user interface design” (https://www.hfes.org/About-HFES/What-is-Human-Factors-and-Ergonomics)—hence the cross-campus collaboration to form the student chapter. The diagram below gives one possible overview of these overlapping disciplines.
Historically, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been a leader of human factors and ergonomics. Christopher Wickens, who was Head of the campus Aviation Human Factors Division at the Aviation Institute co-authored seminal books in the field, including the textbook used in most introductory classes. Current Illinois faculty/staff members affiliated with HFES include Jessie Chin (School of Information Sciences), Tim Hale (Health Technology, KCH), Patty Jones (Beckman Institute), Alex Kirlik (Computer Science), Dan Morrow (Educational Psychology), Wendy Rogers (KCH), and Abigail Wooldridge (ISE).
The new student chapter is co-advised by ISE’s Professor Abigail Wooldridge and KCH’s Professor Wendy Rogers.
Membership is not limited to students from these departments, and the group has also attracted members from Architecture, Bioengineering, Brain & Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Economics, Health Technology Information Sciences, Mechanical Science & Engineering, Molecular & Cellular Biology, and Psychology. In addition to its interdisciplinary nature, the group also seeks to involve students at all levels of their training, including undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral scholars. The group currently consists of 69% undergraduates and 31% graduate students.
The diversity of majors of the student officers reflects a few of the fields that involve ergonomics.
The student group aims to support students in professional development in the field of human factors and ergonomics. Plans include developing an accessible website, a speaker series, conference attendance, corporate networking events, and a writing group for students working on professional papers, theses, and dissertations. The broadly interdisciplinary nature of the group will enable networking opportunities between disciplines. At the HFES annual conference, the students in attendance will host an Illinois Night, at which students can network with Illinois alumni in the field.
The group also hopes that bringing together students from all corners of campus will create opportunities for friendship that might not otherwise have come about.
Students who are interested in human factors and ergonomics should consider joining the HFES Illinois Student Chapter to learn more about it from the inside.