France Bélanger, University Distinguished Professor, R.B. Pamplin Professor, and Tom and Daisy Byrd Senior Faculty Fellow in the Pamplin College of Business Department of Accounting and Information Systems, continues to play a preeminent role in advancing research in the fields of information systems, technology management, and security and privacy on a global scale.

Ranked in the top 1 percent of information systems researchers in the world, Bélanger has authored or co-authored more than 200 papers and book chapters. Her work has been published in the top information systems journals and garnered major awards.

The Association for Information Systems (AIS) recently named Bélanger recipient of the AIS Fellow Award. The recognition honors individuals who have impacted the information systems discipline in terms of research, teaching, and service and was given to Bélanger “in recognition of all of the valuable contributions she has made to AIS and to the field of information systems during her distinguished career,” according to Patrick Chau, chair of the AIS Fellow Award Committee.

The award, established in 1999, was conferred to Bélanger at the 2022 International Conference on Information Systems, or ICIS, in Copenhagen on Dec. 12.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized for my lifelong contributions to my field by the very senior and accomplished scholars involved in the selection committee,” said Bélanger. “It is, of course, the result of a lot of hard work, but a substantial part of my successes must be attributed to the fantastic people I have collaborated with over the years.”

Bélanger received further recognition at the ICIS when she received the Best Paper Award from the Association for Information Systems Women Network College for co-authoring the paper, Watchers, Watched, and Watching in the Digital Age: Reconceptualization of Information Technology Monitoring as Complex Action Nets. The paper is a continuation of Bélanger’s exemplary research focusing on digital interactions among individuals, businesses, and governments and related information security and privacy issues — work that seeks to obtain a greater understanding of the complex phenomena at the intersection of humans, technology, and society.

“I always had a passion for research because, in the information systems field, it is possible to explore topics that can make a difference,” she said. “I believe that as academics we need to help people understand the world around them – in my case technology, security, and privacy – and to design tools and solutions that can facilitate the leveraging of technology for the good of humanity. Passion drives the need to continue my research. Inspiration honestly comes from the people who have accomplished so much ahead of me.”

In September, Bélanger was honored by Woxsen University of India with the establishment of the France Bélanger Professorship in Information Systems in recognition of her “unwavering contributions to the field” of information systems.

Among her current projects, Bélanger has launched Voices of Privacy, a web initiative intended to raise general awareness of information privacy issues and help inform and educate individuals so they can make more informed choices about what to, or not, to share. The project combines web videos, also known as webisodes, and resources such as news articles, how-to videos, and more, to highlight current issues about information privacy and solutions for those seeking to enhance their information privacy knowledge, including what they can do to protect their information on different platforms they use, such as the web, their smartphones, and more.

“Voices of Privacy is one of those exciting initiatives that derives from my research but is focused on helping society,” said Bélanger. “I have always wanted to write a book about information privacy to really lay out for people what issues they face in various online environments and what they can do to protect their information. However, we live in the digital world today so it made sense to bring the message to webisodes, rather than text, so we can reach a broader audience.”

Bélanger co-created Voices of Privacy with Donna Wertalik, professor of practice in marketing.

“I immediately thought of Donna to co-create this project with because of her enthusiasm for and long-term experience in digital marketing, her work with PRISM, and her understanding of all aspects of information sharing and the digital space,” she said. “We both jumped into this uncharted territory with the goal of making a difference. We hope everyone tunes into Voices of Privacy.”

Since joining Virginia Tech in 1997, Bélanger has received more than $1.5 million in research funding from 16 grants, including three from the National Science Foundation.

Her international recognitions for research excellence include the INFORMS ISS Design Science Award, the Hoeber Excellence in Research Award, the IEEE Education Society Research Excellence Award, and the Lifetime Academic Achievement Award from the International Institute for Applied Knowledge Management. She also received the prestigious Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence in 2015.

Bélanger has served as senior editor, associate editor, and/or guest editor at five of the top six journals in information systems. She taught and conducted research in Portugal as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair and worked in Germany, Australia, and New Zealand as a recipient of various fellowships.

During Virginia Tech President Sands’ recent State of the University remarks, Sands announced that Bélanger will serve alongside two faculty colleagues in leading the next iteration of Virginia Tech’s Beyond Boundaries strategic plan.

Pamplin Sesquicetennial spotlight: France Bélanger

Bélanger spoke to her cutting-edge security and privacy research and upcoming Voices of Privacy initiative during Pamplin's virtual Sesquicentennial celebration in December.

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