iSchool names new MS program directors

Maria Bonn
Maria Bonn, Associate Professor, MS/LIS and CAS Program Director
Catherine Blake
Catherine Blake, Associate Professor, MS/IM Program Director, and Associate Director, Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship

The iSchool is pleased to announce the appointment of new directors for its master's degree programs. Associate Professor Maria Bonn will serve as program director for the MS in library and information science (MS/LIS), and Associate Professor Catherine Blake will serve as program director for the MS in information management (MS/IM). They will begin their three-year terms on May 16.

Prior to joining Illinois in 2013, Bonn served as associate university librarian for publishing at the University of Michigan Library. She also had been an assistant professor of English at institutions both in the U.S. and abroad. Her research focuses on understanding the needs of scholars in a contemporary publishing environment; comparing the collaborative practices of scientists and humanists and how they might inform each other; and examining best strategies for libraries to benefit from economies of scale while remaining embedded in local communities. She received her BA from the University of Rochester, MA and PhD in American literature from SUNY Buffalo, and a MS in information and library science from the University of Michigan.

"It is imperative that we have well-trained professionals to support information access and curation and that those professionals think critically about the values that inform and drive their practice," Bonn said. "Our MS/LIS is an important avenue for the intellectual and professional conversation that shapes and guides that training, and I look forward to being a leading voice in that conversation."

In addition to her professorial role, Blake serves as associate director of the iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship. Her research interests include biomedical informatics, natural language processing, evidence-based discovery, learning health systems, socio-technical systems, data analytics, and literature-based discovery. Prior to coming to Illinois in 2009, she was a faculty member at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a research scientist, and an applications programmer. Blake holds an MS and PhD in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine, and a BS and MS in computer science from the University of Wollongong, Australia.

"It has been really rewarding to see how the information management program has helped students secure a range of exciting new positions across a variety of industry sectors," Blake said. "I am very interested in growing student engagement opportunities through internships and practicums so that students can see first-hand how their training can really impact information science problems in the real world."

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