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Shelia R. Cotten

Professor of Media and Information, Michigan State University

Shelia R. Cotten is an MSU Foundation Professor in the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University. She studies technology use across the life course and the social, educational, and health impacts of that use. She conducts large-scale community based intervention studies designed to use technology to enhance various aspects of quality of life. Dr. Cotten has studied the largest dissemination of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO laptops in the United States. She recently finished a randomized controlled trial designed to enhance quality of life among older adults through the use of technology training. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. She is the past Chair of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA) and the 2013 recipient of the Public Sociology Award from the CITASA section of the American Sociological Association. Dr. Cotten enjoys teaching courses on the social impacts of technology, survey research, and research methods. Prior to joining MSU, Dr. Cotten was a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.


  • 2017–present
    MSU Foundation Professor, Michigan State University
  • 2013–present
    Professor, Michigan State University
  • 2014–present
    Director, Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research
  • 2014–2017
    Director, Trifecta
  • 2005–2013
    Associate to Full Professor, University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • 1999–2005
    Assistant to Associate Professor, University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Fellow, Gerontological Society of America