Associate Professor of Information Systems
School of Business
Stacy Hollins is an associate professor of information systems at Maryville University. In this role, she teaches highly collaborative and interactive technology courses including Digital Foundations, Business Processes and Information Systems, and App Development. She also facilitates hands-on and experiential learning in Maryville’s Cyber Fusion Center while working with students to provide free hardware and software solutions to nonprofit organizations. Before joining Maryville, she served as the department chair and associate professor in the Information Systems department at St. Louis Community College. Earlier, she worked as a lab manager for a nonprofit called Discovering Options. Dr. Hollins is a graduate of the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where she earned a PhD in Educational Technology. Her dissertation, titled “The Digital Divide through the Lens of Critical Race Theory,” was named an American Libraries Association Top 10 Dissertation of 2015. She has more than 20 years of progressive technology, training, education, and management experience.
Determined to close the diversity gap in tech: How Professor Hollins found her true calling
Stacy Hollins, an associate professor of information systems at Maryville University, had her first experience with computers because of her close relationship with her grandmother. At the age of 13, an industrious Hollins started working at a downtown St. Louis nursing home that her grandmother ran. She did light secretarial work at first, filing and typing letters for her grandmother on a typewriter. Little did Hollins know that a new piece of office equipment would change the course of her life.
“I was very interested in the computer because I had been typing on a typewriter,” Hollins said. “That’s when I realized it was something that was going to change the world.”
Hollins had a natural affinity for using and understanding the new technology, and it was an innovation that set her grandmother’s business apart as well. She said that using the computer was a differentiator, making the nursing home look more professional than its competitors. This early introduction to computing technology laid the groundwork for Hollins’ career, as she is now the assistant dean and associate professor for information systems at Maryville University.
Since all of Hollins’ professional life has run in tandem with the information technology revolution, it comes as no surprise that she has unique insights into some of the most pressing issues in the technology industry today. Hollins is keenly aware of the need to increase diversity in the technology field and the importance of educating everyone about including people of color in the industry, especially in leadership roles. Her PhD dissertation, titled “The Digital Divide through the Lens of Critical Race Theory,” was named an American Libraries Association Top 10 Dissertation of 2015.
Hollins’ passion for working with technology was a game-changer for her career. As she progressed as a professional, she realized all of her advancements were in large part due to her ability to understand and implement new technologies to improve the efficiency of business practices. “Every time I was promoted or moved to a different job, it was a direct result of my technical skills and being able to use them in business to help businesses profit,” Hollins reflects.
She wanted to use that realization to encourage more people, especially women and people of color, to consider careers in technology. As Hollins spent more time in high-level tech meetings, she was keenly aware that she was often the only woman in the room and the only person of color. The inequity of technology was obvious in her work, and she was determined to find ways to understand and tackle the digital divide.
Hollins sees the lack of access to technology for all people as a hurdle that must be addressed and remedied. Her role as assistant dean and her involvement with the cutting-edge Cyber Fusion Center at Maryville University is rooted in her mission to confront the lack of exposure that people, especially women and minorities, have to computer science and technology. This situation is a prime example of the adage “you can’t be what you can’t see.” Hollins sees this from the vantage point of a leader in the technology field and understanding that the dangers of groupthink hinder innovation and adoption of new technologies. If all of the decision-makers in an organization come from similar backgrounds, important questions of access and usability may not be addressed for a significant portion of the population.
When asked why inclusion and diversity matters, Hollins shares some of her experiences. “For me, diversity is important because I believe in and support inclusion. I realize that when only one demographic is seated at the table, making decisions, planning for the future, and sharing experiences, that those resulting decisions, plans, and experiences are lacking. I believe that diverse experiences and perspectives at the table expand our view.”
Hollins is tackling issues of groupthink and inclusion head on in her work at Maryville. She works with student organizations on campus to educate them on what diversity is and why it matters, and mentors students from all backgrounds about the importance of becoming comfortable with technology and opening their eyes to career tracks in tech that they may not have previously considered. The student-run Tech Bar at the Cyber Fusion Center is another avenue that Hollins uses to spread access to tech to underserved populations. Her background in nonprofit work is put to good use here as Maryville students refurbish computers that are then donated to local St. Louis area nonprofit organizations to help increase access and familiarity with technology.
Hollins’ journey from nursing home secretary to assistant dean of the School of Business at Maryville University is an inspiring story. It illustrates what one person can achieve when they are determined to continue to learn and acquire skills throughout their career. It also highlights how important it is for young learners to be exposed to all of the opportunities that working with technology affords. The commitment of Hollins and Maryville University to increasing tech awareness and access for everyone is helping create a more inclusive and innovative future for all of us.
ISYS 100: Digital Foundations ISYS 120: App Dev – Storyboarding ISYS 250: Management Information Systems ISYS 497: Cyber Fusion Center Tech Bar
Areas of Expertise:
- Digital divide
- Information systems
- Nonprofit software solutions
- Educational technology
Phone: 314.529.9421 Email: email@example.com Office: ABAC 2221