The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced the launch of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center that will study how technology affects law and society in today’s world.
This new center, which is located in the University of Nebraska College of Law, is an interdisciplinary research center created to facilitate new ways to look at technology, its regulations, how it affects society and the laws surrounding it, according to Gus Hurwitz, the Menard director of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center and an associate professor of law.
Hurwitz said this is something that he has been wanting to do for some time, and he has been working on getting the center ready for the last couple of years.
During the last two years, there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work, such as working with the university and other colleges, gaining funding and supporters for the center, hiring new faculty to the university and finishing up the final details so that the center can begin its work, Hurwitz said.
Hurwitz said he hopes to see the center evolve into more than just another center on another college campus.
“In three to five years, I want us to start to develop a national and international reputation as the place that academics working in any of these fields can come to to have unique conversations across disciplines that they can’t have anywhere else,” Hurwitz said.
Hurwitz said he already has a vision for what he wants the center to be known for.
“We’re an interdisciplinary center for conversations about how law affects technology, technology affects the law and how both affect society,” Hurwitz said.
This center is made up of multiple disciplines including law, business, engineering and journalism, according to Nebraska Today.
One of the faculty members of the center is Kyle Langvardt, a first amendment scholar and an assistant professor of law at UNL.
“I think what we’re trying to work out is not just how the law applies to technology, or how the law should apply to technology, but also how technology itself can work as a policy instrument,” Langvardt said.
This center will also offer a wide breadth of opportunities for students at UNL. The center will allow students to have the opportunity to learn about and have discussions about specific legal and policy problems that most schools do not offer, Langvardt said.
The center has a cohort of student fellows that will have lots of opportunities to be involved.
“A lot of our research-focus programming, workshops and stuff like that, conferences — if we ever get to host conferences again — the student fellows will be involved with helping us organize them, run them, asking questions of presenters, providing feedback, all that stuff,” Hurwitz said.
There will also be classes related to the center that will be open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students across the university.
Hurwitz believes a key to making the center successful is through conversations with people from all different disciplines and areas of study.
“It’s going to be weird. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be awkward. Everyone is going to have no idea what’s going on for a while,” Hurwitz said. “That’s my mission over the next few years and how I’m hoping to facilitate this, facilitate these awkward conversations between different disciplines and on the other side is some new language.”