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Meghan Harper, PhD, became the new director of Kent State University’s School of Information (iSchool), effective July 1, 2021. Harper acted as interim director for the iSchool over the past academic year, a year of great uncertainty and uncharted waters due to the pandemic. “Dr. Harper provided exemplary leadership and service to the iSchool this past year, made exponentially more complicated and challenging by the pandemic. She is kind, thoughtful and a collaborative colleague who is an effective advocate for the School’s programs, faculty, staff and students,” Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information, said. “Along with her impressive academic record, she brings previous administrative experience and strong institutional knowledge to this important position. I am excited for the future of the iSchool under Dr. Harper’s leadership.”
Prior to joining Kent State, Harper held administrative positions in K-12 public schools. Since joining the faculty in 2001, Harper led the school library media concentration, and was the MLIS graduate coordinator for the School.
Harper holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, master's in library science (with K-12 Library Media Certification), and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education (with K-8 certification), all from Kent State University.
Read more on the Kent State iSchool website.
iConference 2022 is now accepting submissions, with research papers due Sept. 13, 2021, and all other submissions due Oct. 4. Full details can be found on the conference website, and submissions can be made on the ConfTool submission site.
iConference 2022 will take place online Feb. 29 – March 4, 2022. This global event is jointly hosted by University College Dublin (Ireland), and Kyushu University (Japan) and University of Texas at Austin (USA). Presented by the iSchools, this is the 17th annual event in our series.
The iConference is open to all information scholars and researchers, regardless of affiliation. We encourage everyone to download our Submissions Call and share it among your school, information communities, colleagues and friends.
The iConference 2022 theme is Information for a Better World: Shaping the Global Future. As societies build their post-COVID-19 realities, we have an unprecedented opportunity to apply information for a better world. The conference invites scholars to reflect and contribute through their research and engagement in the following tracks:
Visit the iConference 2022 website for more information.
On Sept. 24, 2021, the iFederation will present an online panel examining academic resilience and opportunities for the information community in our post-pandemic world. Titled The Rising Phoenix: Perspectives on Resilience for Education, Research, & Practice, the panel will consist of iSchools Executive Director Michael Seadle, ALISE President-Elect Sandra Hirsh, and ASIS&T President Brian Detlor. The panel will be held in conjunction with ALISE 2021 Annual Conference, and advance signup is required.
The panel presentation is described as follows: As we start to emerge from the global pandemic and as our society grapples with critical economic, social, and environmental crises, we must implement resilient measures to move forward and evolve in our field of information science. Members of our community must consider the pandemic’s impact on research, education, and practice and create a proactive plan that is even more inclusive, reflective, and robust than ever. Members of the iFederation, made up of ALISE, ASIS&T, and the iSchools will address some of the ways their associations are thinking about and addressing resilience. Learn more
Lankes led the iSchool for the past 5 years, doubling the size of the iSchool’s undergraduate program, revising its bachelor’s, MLIS and Ph.D. programs, expanding external research funding and launching a graduate certificate in equity, diversity and inclusion.
To assist the school during this transition, Professor Karen Gavigan has returned from retirement to serve as the school's interim director.
Gavigan served a decade on the iSchool’s faculty before retiring in 2020. Her research interests include the use of graphic novels in schools, and the ways in which school library programs and resources impact student learning. She is a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ (IFLA) Standing Committee for School Libraries. She has also served as a chair and / or member of numerous committees of the American Library Association (ALS), and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). She is co-author of the book, Connecting Comics to Curriculum: Strategies for Grades 6-12 (Libraries Unlimited), and co-editor of the books, AIDS in the End Zone (Palmetto Press), and Literacy Behind Bars: Successful Reading and Writing Strategies for Use with Incarcerated Youth and Adults (Rowman & Littlefield Pub., Inc.)
Abebe Rorissa became the new Director of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on July 1, 2021.
Before assuming his current position, Rorissa was Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity, University at Albany. He also worked in Ethiopia, Lesotho, and Namibia as a lecturer and practitioner. He has published in leading journals such as JASIS&T, Information Processing & Management, and Government Information Quarterly. He was a member of the ASIS&T Board, its Executive Committee, & a recipient of the ASIS&T Watson Davis Award for Service and SIG Member of the Year Awards. As of November 2, 2021, he will be the President-Elect of ASIS&T.
The Rutgers School of Communication and Information is pleased to make the following announcements.
The Scholars Kiran Garimella and Shagun Jhaver will join the Library and Information Science Department as assistant professors in fall 2021. Read full story.
The newly published book “Research Methods in Library and Information Science -7th Edition,” by Professor Marie L. Radford, chair of the Library Science and Information Department at SC&I, is designed for LIS master’s and doctoral students, new faculty, and professional librarians. The book has been revised to include timely scholarly areas, issues, and methods. Read full story.
Jill E. Baron (Rutgers iSchool MLIS’12) serves as the Librarian for Romance Languages and Latin American, Latinx, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. She also co-directed “Change the Subject” (2019), a 54-minute documentary film about a group of Dartmouth students who challenged anti-immigrant language in the Library of Congress subject headings. In an online Q&A, she shares her career path and advice for current students. Read full story.
The organizers of iConference 2022 have formally issued the conference’s Call for Participation. All information scholars and researchers are encouraged to share the CFP throughout the information community. iConference 2022 The conference will begin accepting Research Papers and other submissions in July 2021.
iConference 2022 will take place online, Feb. 28—Mar. 4, 2021. The conference is hosted by the iSchools at University of Texas at Austin, University College Dublin, and Kyushu University. The conference theme is Information for a Better World: Shaping the Global Future.
The organizers seek Full Research Papers, Short Research Papers, and Posters for online presentation during the conference. The organizers also invite proposals for an array of creative and interactive sessions, including Workshops and all manner of Sessions for Interaction and Engagement.
The iConference will also continue its tradition of preparing and mentoring future thought leaders. Currently enrolled Ph.D. Students may apply for the Doctoral Colloquium, while the Early Career Colloquium provide guidance for early career researchers, post-doc fellows and assistant professors. Master’s and undergraduate students are encouraged to apply to the Student Symposium.
The conference submission portal is scheduled to open in early July. New developments will be posted to the iConference 2022 home page. Also follow the iConference on Facebook and Twitter: @iConf | #iconf22
The newest member of the iSchools organization is the Chung-Ang University Department of Library and Information Science in Seoul, Korea. The school’s membership application was approved by the iSchools Board of Directors last week.
Originally called the Department of Library Science, the school was founded in 1963 as an undergraduate program for library studies, one of the earliest such departments in Korea. The master’s program opened in 1970, and the school’s doctoral program was launched in 1983. In 1989 the school adopted the name Department of Library and Information Science as a response to evolving demands for innovation in the information society. To date, the school boasts roughly 2,000 graduates that now play leading role in various fields, ranging from public institutions to major companies.
The Chung-Ang University iSchool is chaired by Prof. Dr. Seonghee Kim, and currently has 52 students in its doctoral program, as well as 31 master’s students and 190 undergraduates. The school has joined the iSchools global membership at the Basic membership level.
Amy Dodson has been named the 2020 recipient of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award, for supporting the value and necessity of equity, diversity, and inclusion as a part of her library’s mission and service. The award is given annually by the faculty of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and cosponsored by the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), a nonprofit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association (ALA).
Dodson, director of the Douglas County Public Library (Nevada), faced enormous public criticism last year for posting a diversity statement on the library’s Facebook page that included the line, “We support #Black Lives Matter.” The Douglas County sheriff equated this statement with the Black Lives Matter movement and perceived it as support for violence against law enforcement. He posted a letter on the sheriff office’s Facebook page stating this and adding that library staff should no longer call 911 for help with disturbances.
The sheriff’s letter led to national media coverage and protests in Douglas County, and Dodson was told to take down the diversity statement by county officials. Some of her most strident critics were members of the library’s board of trustees, which voted to investigate Dodson’s actions using $30,000 of the library’s budget to pay for a third-party investigation. The law firm conducting the investigation found that the library, Dodson, and her staff had not violated any laws or policies in introducing the diversity statement.
According to the letter of nomination, “Throughout the investigation, Dodson steadfastly supported the need for diversity initiatives while working to assure the safety and comfort of her staff.”
The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award acknowledges individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Each year, the recipient is recognized at the ALA Annual Conference. The award was established in 1969 by the Illinois iSchool’s faculty to honor Robert Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the School.
Read this story on the Illinois iSchool website.
The iSchools have chosen Sanda Erdelez of the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science to be the organization’s new chair elect. Erdelez is SLIS director and professor at the Boston USA-based iSchools member. As chair elect, she will prepare to assume the organization’s leadership in early 2022, taking over from current chair Gobinda Chowdhury.
“I am honored and humbled by your support as I take on this new role,” said Erdelez in a message to her iSchools colleagues. “I look forward to working with all of you on advancing the information field!”
Erdelez previously served on the iSchools Board of Directors. She replaces former chair-elect Diane Kelly, who resigned her position in order to take on a new and expanded leadership role at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
"During our election, Sanda received broad support our membership," said Executive Director Michael Seadle."My staff and I look forward to working with her."
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