Summer SLIS Update

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Greetings my Friends,

Normally summer is a slow period in academia, but not at the School of Library and Information Science. The faculty, students, and staff have been busy moving forward Carolina’s Knowledge School.

The big news is that the school’s graduate program in library and information science has been reaccredited by the American Library Association! This has been a multi-year process that has involved all parts of the school. The faculty worked with our National Advisory Council and our Diversity Leadership Group to put together a program report that covered all aspects of the school. ALA looked at everything from our curriculum, to the moral of our students, to the condition of Davis College. While there are always things for us to improve upon, the committee gave us the thumbs up.

This is a mark of quality for the program over the past years, and our plans for the future. Special thanks go to Dr. Sam Hastings, Sarah Keeling, Angela Wright, and our past and current faculty and students. Librarianship remains the vital core of all we do at SLIS, and we remain dedicated to the profession.

People and Places

As of August 1st, SLIS’s home, the College of Information and Communications will have a new dean. Tom Reichert will be joining us from the University of Georgia. His background in public relations and working with information startups will be great for the college, and for the school.

This summer we also say goodbye to Angela Wright who is taking on new challenges in the College of Education. Angela was a vital part of the school. Aside from keeping the ship running she was a dedicated councilor to our students and embodied the idea of a student-centered institution.

This summer we also received official word that Heather Moorefield-Lang received tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.

As a reminder, we will have four new faculty join us in the Fall. Lucy Green, a superstar in school libraries, Vanessa Kitzie, a new scholar already making her mark in information science, Ehsan Mohammadi, a data scientist extraordinaire, and Jeff Penka, our de facto entrepreneur in residence.

Trips and Conferences

SLIS has been on the move this summer – literally. Dr. Tu-Keefner attended an international medical library conference in Ireland. Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang keynoted the Pennsylvania Library Association’s Forward Information Literacy Summit and the South Carolina Library Association’s iteach 4.

Dr. Susan Rathbun-Grubb, Dr. Heather Moorefield-Lang, Dr. Feili Tu-Keefner, Dr. Liz Hartnett, Dr. Karen Gavigan, Dr. Jennifer Arns, Kim Jeffcoat and I all were at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago.

Dr. Moorefield-Lang presented three sessions: “AASL Best Websites,” “AASL Best Apps and Websites Revealed,” and “Exploring Best Websites.” She also did her own presentation, “Makerspaces: The View from Here.” Heather also took over as director of Region Four and joined the Board for the Association of School Librarians (AASL).

Dr. Gavigan and Dr. Copeland collaborated on a presentation, “Transforming Learning in K-12 Libraries Through Inclusionary Best Practices.” They co-authored the work, and Dr. Gavigan presented on their behalf.

Dr. Gavigan also presented with alumna Susan McNair (librarian at Birchwood School – SC Department of Juvenile Justice). Their session was called “Telling Their Stories through Graphic Novels – Views from Behind the Fence.”

I was the featured speaker at the RUSA President’s Program, titled “Forget the Future: Our Time is Now!”

This summer I also connected with colleagues in Norway during a trip to Oslo, at the Metrolina Conference in Charlotte, and in Australia via a Skype Keynote.

Grants and Funding

One of the school’s goals for next year is to increase our external funding. We got a good start this summer. Dr. Karen Gavigan received a second year of funding from the Library of Congress to continue preparing teachers and school librarians to teach with primary sources.

Our South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy received a large grant with the College of Education from the Hearst Foundation. The grant will build a community approach to literacy that can be replicated across South Carolina and the country.

My One Year Anniversary

It is hard to believe that it was a year ago, July 1, 2016, that I started at the University of South Carolina. It has been a true joy to be part of the SLIS team. A special thank you to all of the alumni that both welcomed me and shared their experiences (and hopes) for SLIS. Every day I confirm my belief that SLIS is going to be the global leader in library and information science.

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