Global Leadership in Education

Our goal is to lead the world in education in the information sciences.

The iSchool contributes to the University’s goal to provide transformative learning experiences: "With a solid academic core, Illinois will deliver on the fundamental promise of a public university—to teach students and to pioneer the science and the art of learning. This is transformative knowledge—for the individual and, collectively, for the world in which we live and work."

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is founded on, and enjoys global recognition for, strong engineering and agricultural education programs. The iSchool contributes to the University's strengths through the application of contemporary and ever-emerging technologies, practices, and ways of learning. We span disciplinary boundaries in order to address international challenges, such as climate change, health equity, and social justice, and we educate our students to take on these challenges.

Acknowledging Native lands

The iSchool embraces the University's land grant mission. It also recognizes and acknowledges that the School is on the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. These lands were the traditional territory of these Native Nations prior to their forced removal. These lands continue to carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity. The iSchool affirms that as a land-grant institution, the University of Illinois has a particular responsibility to acknowledge the peoples of these lands, as well as the histories of dispossession that have allowed for the growth of this institution for the past 150 years. We must acknowledge the problematic history of the Morrill Act that created the land grant universities and remember whose land we were granted. We also are obligated to reflect on and actively address these histories, especially in the area of knowledge justice, and the role that this University has played in shaping them.

The iSchool is proud of our global reputation as a leader in information education. This reputation benefits our graduates, allows us to recruit outstanding faculty, and increases the visibility and impact of our work.

We educate our students with both foundational knowledge and the skills to build capability throughout their careers. Our programs do not just address the needs of the moment—they prepare students for evolving careers, and they prepare them to be thought leaders who are instrumental in building the new areas of their fields of practice. We are committed to ensuring our reputation and to the quality of professional and academic education that gives rise to it.

Ensuring continued excellence

As we enter the next stage of the iSchool’s development, we affirm and renew those commitments to ensuring student success and to excellence in all our programs. We continue to produce graduates who are leaders in the information professions. Complex problems require education where learners not only "see" the role of information in all its forms, but see beyond fixed disciplinary and professional limits to envision human-centered solutions that transform learners into leaders. The iSchool is ideally positioned to educate students from across the globe to take on those leadership roles.

Pursuing key initiatives

key technology

Moving forward, the iSchool will pursue key initiatives to:

  • Ensure that all components of our degree programs are in place and adequately supported.
  • Evaluate and continue to design pedagogy and education delivery models to optimize distributed learning.
  • Leverage Informatics and the Fab Lab to strengthen and emphasize the School's ability to span disciplinary boundaries in education.

Advancing Informatics Programs

The iSchool includes Informatics Programs, which fosters cross-campus, interdisciplinary research, education, and engagement involving the application of computing and information in diverse areas. Programs include the PhD in Informatics, MS in Bioinformatics, and minors in Informatics and Game Studies & Design, as well as the CU Community Fab Lab, a makerspace for tinkering, design, and prototyping.

Informatics Programs prepares students for the ubiquitous application of information-based technologies. For example, the minors engage faculty expertise across disciplines in engineering, humanities, science, media, fine and applied arts, business, agriculture, education, and medicine. These agile programs bring opportunities for the iSchool to lead new interdisciplinary initiatives around emerging sociotechnical concerns, to democratize what counts as legitimate ways of knowing and doing, and to build frameworks for the critical thinking and complexity needed to solve global challenges.

The CU Community Fab Lab is committed to creating an open, collaborative, and capacity-building makerspace that builds a dynamic experiential learning environment. The courses offered by the lab utilize hands-on, playful, and experiential learning approaches with a range of technologies. The Fab Lab has significant potential to make the iSchool a destination for learners who are pursuing careers in makerspaces in libraries, education, and youth services, as well as to be a key provider for the iSchool’s lifelong learning and K-12 pipeline efforts.