The GSLIS faculty have voted in favor of submitting a formal proposal to change the name of our School to the School of Information Sciences. This vote followed several years of discussion among faculty and a month-long period of stakeholder consultation during which formal feedback was solicited from alumni, students, staff, and friends.
“This name encompasses the breadth of our teaching, research, and public engagement,” said Dean Allen Renear. “It will allow us to sustain the success of our number-one ranked MS program in library and information science while we build new programs, including a planned MS program in information management.”
All feedback provided by stakeholders was shared with faculty to inform the vote, including comments submitted through a web form, summaries from meetings, and comments from leaders in the field. Prior to the vote, an open discussion was held during the public session of the October 21 faculty meeting. All faculty participated in the vote, and a two-thirds majority voted to support moving forward with the name change process.
To fully inform stakeholders and encourage their comments, the following documents were made available through a “Future Directions Feedback” button prominently placed on the GSLIS home page: Leading in the Future: An Expanded School Vision, Frequently Asked Questions, Statements of Support, and the Proposal to Establish a New Master of Science in Information Management.
The public comment period occurred from September 10 through October 9. Packets containing the relevant documents with a request to provide feedback were sent by postal mail to 2,799 alumni and emailed to 5,051 alumni; the remaining alumni could not be contacted at their request to opt out of receiving information from our School and University. Students and staff were informed via email, with communication to students shared in the Student Affairs Weekly Digest. All communications included notification of several public sessions to share information and answer questions. In total, nine sessions were held:
- An informational session for staff (September 4);
- Five student sessions, including two offering virtual attendance (September 10, September 28, and October 7); and
- Three alumni sessions, including one public meeting and two virtual meetings (September 14, 15, and 29).
Our School is grateful to everyone who gave generously of their time by providing feedback, which was valuable to our faculty as they considered and discussed the name change proposal. A summary of the feedback received will be shared with alumni and students within the next few weeks.
The vote by our faculty marks the beginning of a process that will take many months and involve several levels of University administrative approval before the name change can occur. Details concerning these steps are outlined in the FAQ. The first step involves the submission of a formal proposal to the Office of the Provost for transmittal to the Senate Educational Policy Committee, where it will begin its journey.