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news & notes: september 2020

Welcome new iSchool undergraduates!

The iSchool welcomed 119 new BS in Information Sciences (BS/IS) students in the Fall 2020 semester. The School's undergraduate enrollment surpassed projected numbers and captures a diverse range of interests from data analytics to user experience. Tony Torres, academic advisor and coordinator of undergraduate affairs, greeted new BS/IS students outside the iSchool building with t-shirts and bags before the first week of classes.

iSchool assumes administration of Informatics programs

Administration of the Illinois Informatics Institute has been transferred from the Office of the Provost to the iSchool. This is a hosting relationship that preserves the multidisciplinary nature of the Institute’s programs, which were previously managed by several colleges including the iSchool. Read more.

Bill Henderson passes away

The iSchool is sad to report that William (Bill) Henderson has passed away. Mr. Henderson team-taught preservation courses for the iSchool with his wife, Professor Emerita Kathryn Luther Henderson. The William T and Kathryn Luther Henderson Conference Room (room 131 of the iSchool building) is just one example of the couple's generosity to the School and University. 

Sherry Williams 
iSchool alumna works to preserve African American history

iSchool alumna Sherry Williams (MS '19) founded the Bronzeville Historical Society to preserve the history of African Americans who called the Chicago South Side neighborhood home. The neighborhood was known as the "Black Metropolis" during its heyday in the early twentieth century. Read more.

Fall iSchool career fairs

The iSchool is hosting two career fairs this semester. Alumni are welcome to attend as job seekers or as employers. Registration is now open for both events through Handshake:

Due to the additional registration steps required, participants should register at least two weeks in advance of either event to allow for time to resolve any technical issues if necessary. Questions? Contact Michele Plante.

iSchool at virtual AISLE, ILA 2020

The iSchool will participate virtually in this year’s Association of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE) and Illinois Library Association (ILA) annual conferences. Details will be announced closer to each virtual event.

iSchool Alumni Recruiter Network

Help the iSchool recruit top talent by joining our new alumni recruiter network! To participate, complete a brief interest form, which will be used to pair you with a potential student. Should you be an appropriate match, the iSchool will alert you and share your email address with the interested student. We ask that you respond to any email from the potential student as soon as you are able. The time commitment should be less than an hour. If you have any questions, please email the iSchool Advancement Office.

Alumni Connections Facebook group

If you’re on Facebook and would like to be more involved with the iSchool, please join the iSchool Alumni Connections group. You’ll find information about your fellow alumni, discussion on professional activities, and updates (some serious, many humorous) about the School and University. It’s a great way to reconnect!

Emergency fund established for students impacted by COVID-19

Through the iSchool Student Emergency Fund, we are committed to helping our students who are struggling with loss of employment because of the pandemic and facing tough decisions of whether to buy groceries or pay rent. In addition, we are thankful for our alumni and friends who contribute to the iSchool Annual Fund, which supports activities and programs benefiting students throughout the academic year. Learn more about the campaign and the iSchool’s priorities.

Illinois study tracks evolution of SARS-CoV-2 virus mutations

In a new study, University of Illinois researchers and students, including iSchool PhD student Tre Tomaszewski, show the SARS-CoV-2 virus is honing the tactics that may make it more successful and more stable. The study originated as part of a Bioinformatics and Systems Biology class that tracked the mutation rate in the virus' proteome through time. Read more.

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Anthony Martínez

MS/LIS student and Spectrum Scholar Anthony Martínez holds a BS in business administration and marketing from Idaho State University. He decided to earn his LIS degree in order to become a public librarian and strengthen educational and recreational resources for young people and their families in rural communities like the one where he grew up. Read more.

Phelps defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate Kirstin Phelps successfully defended her dissertation, "Collective Leadership for Community Action: A Case-Based Inquiry into Supporting Digital Literacy Initiatives," on August 14. Read more.

Practicum Spotlight: Newberry Library

MS/LIS student Nada Abdelrahim served as an intern for the Midwest Dance and Theater Archives at the Newberry Library for her practicum experience. She is interested in archives and special collections and hopes to have a career as an instructional librarian within a special collections department. Read more.

Vasquez and Tinio selected for ARL Kaleidoscope Program

Master's students Hailey Vasquez and Jerilyn Tinio have been selected to participate in the 2020-2022 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Kaleidoscope Diversity Scholars Program. Read more.

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Ashley Mitchell

MS/LIS student and Spectrum Scholar Ashley Mitchell holds a BS in psychology from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, and has worked in public libraries for over 19 years. She wants to inspire other people of color to pursue a career in LIS by becoming a librarian herself. Read more.

Jonathan Puckett 
Puckett receives prestigious Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

MS/LIS student Jonathan Puckett has been selected as a recipient of the Sherrill Carlson Fellowship by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. The fellowship, worth $35,000, is one of two national awards given by the society to the top-ranked nominee in the humanities and the arts. Read more.

Meet BS/IS student Athena Tang

BS/IS student Athena Tang was drawn to the iSchool because of her interest in human-computer interaction and user experience. A sophomore from Walnut, California, Tang is pursuing a dual degree in graphic design.  Read more.

Tamara Roosevelt 
Roosevelt honored for outstanding service

Tamara Roosevelt, senior grants and contracts coordinator at the iSchool, has received the Outstanding Service Award from Sponsored Programs and Research Compliance (SPaRC), a working group at the University of Illinois devoted to the management and administration of sponsored programs. Read more.

Talbott receives advising award

Academic Advisor Katelyn Talbott has been named Outstanding New Advising Professional by IlliAAC, a professional development organization for student and academic affairs staff at the University of Illinois. Read more.

Twidale named interim PhD program director

Professor Michael Twidale will serve as interim PhD program director for the iSchool for one year beginning August 16. He took over from Associate Professor Jana Diesner, who recently concluded her three-year term of service as PhD program director.  Read more.

LeBlanc to join iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Zoe LeBlanc will join the faculty as an assistant professor in August 2021. She is currently a postdoctoral associate and the Weld Fellow at the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University. Read more.

New AI institute receives $20M in funding

iSchool Associate Professor Jingrui He is one of the researchers involved in the new Artificial Intelligence for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management, and Sustainability (AIFARMS) Institute at the University of Illinois. The National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes program, a joint effort between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), recently awarded the University $20 million for the institute. Read more.

Knox and Koh receive grant to study public library makerspaces

Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Emily Knox and Associate Professor Kyungwon Koh have received a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for their project, "Measuring the Impact and Value of Makerspaces in Public Libraries." Read more.

Ian Brooks 
New appointment for Trainor

The iSchool is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Trainor as a senior lecturer. He has served as an adjunct senior lecturer at the School since 2008 and as assistant director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS) from 2009 to 2011. Read more.

iSchool instructors ranked as excellent

A record forty-one iSchool instructors were named in the University's List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent for Spring 2020. The rankings are released every semester, and results are based on the Instructor and Course Evaluation System (ICES) questionnaire forms maintained by Measurement and Evaluation in the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. Read more.

Bashir receives grant to study privacy measures in public libraries

Associate Professor Masooda Bashir has received a $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for her project, "Securing our Public Libraries: A Forum on Privacy and Security." The project seeks to identify the existence and absence of privacy protecting technologies in public library systems. Read more.

IOPN to launch textbook series with titles by Wong, Wolske

The Illinois Open Publishing Network is excited to announce the upcoming release of two open access textbooks, Instruction in Libraries and Information Centers: An Introduction co-authored by iSchool Adjunct Lecturer Melissa A. Wong and A Person-Centered Guide to Demystifying Technology by iSchool Teaching Assistant Professor Martin Wolske. Read more.

Sharon Comstock 
Comstock named to the Public Library Data Alliance

Senior Lecturer Sharon Comstock has been named to the first roster for the Public Library Data Alliance (PLDA) by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). Representing an array of stakeholders, this group will continue the work of the COSLA's Measures that Matter initiative. Read more.

Jill Naiman 
New appointment for Naiman

The iSchool is pleased to announce the appointment of Jill Naiman as a teaching assistant professor. She has served as an adjunct lecturer at the School since 2018 and as a visiting scholar at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) since 2016. Read more.

Choi & Hopping 
Choi and Hopping receive promotions

Inkyung Choi and David Hopping have been promoted to the position of teaching assistant professor. In August 2019, Choi joined the iSchool as a lecturer and  Hopping as a visiting lecturer. Read more.


He research group presents at KDD2020

iSchool presents research at JCDL 2020

Visit our newsroom page to see the latest School news.


 Submit your own class note.

Emily Adams (MS '17) started her new position as librarian at Parkview Junior High in Lawrenceville, Illinois.

Jeanie Austin (PhD '17) has authored a book about library services to people who are incarcerated. The book, with the working title "Library Services and Incarceration: Recognizing Barriers, Strengthening Access," will be published by ALA in 2021.

Susanne Belovari (MS '02), the archivist for faculty papers at the University of Illinois Archives, won the 2020 Sophie Coe Prize for her work on the forgotten history of Viennese cuisine. 

Margaret Bienemann (MS '76) retired at the end of January 2020 from the University of Texas Libraries.

Heather Campbell (MS '19) has been named discovery and metadata librarian at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. She also was appointed to the editorial board of ACRL's College & Research Libraries News and the ALA Publications Committee.

Stephanie Davis-Kahl (MS '98) has been appointed university librarian and copyright officer for the Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Kathy Edwards (MS '06) was promoted to librarian at Clemson University Libraries in July 2020. At Clemson, she has been the research and collection development librarian for architecture, art, city planning, and historic preservation since 2008 and was tenured in 2013.

Rebecca Graham (MS '20) has been appointed assistant professor and instructional design and technology librarian at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.

Charles Headley (MS '78) retired in March after thirteen years as senior executive director of development services at Southern Methodist University.

In December 2019, Annie (Dougherty) Miskewitch (MS '03) was appointed by the Board of Trustees as executive director for the Schaumburg Township District Library. Schaumburg Library has three locations just outside of Chicago, IL.

Safiya Noble (MS '09, PhD '12) has been appointed to the Oxford Commission on AI and Good Governance, which was formed by Oxford University to advise world leaders on effective ways to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning in public administration and governance.

After many years of teaching a job hunting class, Pamela Posz (MS '95) has published her book, Power Posz: and other Hacks for Getting the Job You Want.

Rachel E. Scott (MS '07) was appointed associate dean for information assets at Illinois State University.

Ruth Slagle (MS '17) started her new position as instruction librarian at Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tennessee, in March 2020.

Lydia Tang (MS '15) was awarded the Society of American Archivists' Mark A. Greene Emerging Leader Award, and three projects she contributed to received SAA Council Resolutions for the Archival Workers Emergency Fund, Task Force to Revise Best Practices for Accessible Archives for People With Disabilities, and the Accessibility & Disability Section.

Lucy (Becker) Thomas (MS '68) retired as adjunct librarian at Santa Barbara City College. Previously, she served as director of the Reeves Medical Library and as a school librarian. Her honors include Beta Phi Mu, distinguished member of Academy of Health Information Professionals, and officer of the Faculty Senate. She co-authored "Making Informed Medical Decisions," a handbook for consumers of healthcare, with Nancy Oster.


Visit our class notes page to see more.


Please check our events calendar in coming weeks for fall events. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events are either canceled or being held online.

Fall 2020 Open House
September 11, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The Center for Children's Books 2020-2021 Speaker Series: Matthew Rubery
September 17, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

School of Information Sciences Virtual Career & Internship Fair
September 23, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

GLAM Virtual Career Fair for Government, Library, Archives, and Museum Employers
October 7, 1:00-4:00 p.m.