Since joining the UMD iSchool as a faculty member in 2012, I have consistently been impressed by the scale and scope of the College’s activities and impact. Whether promoting development of School Library Media professionals as change agents, making cybersecurity more usable, transforming legal practice by creating new e-discovery technologies, renvisioning the Masters of Library and Information Science, realizing the future of archival educations and research, or creating new ways of engaging kids and communities in health, science, and technology, the UMD iSchool is at the forefront of thought and practice in the information professions. As the new Interim Dean, I am even more aware of how much impact you, the College’s faculty, staff, students and alumni, have through your professional activities, teaching, and research.
Over the next year, we will build on prior successes to lay groundwork for the next generation of iSchool research, education, and community projects. With more than $5 million in new funding and the largest graduating class ever, last year was an amazing culmination of Dean Jenny Preece’s term. Already this year there are exciting developments such as:
- New directors for the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) (Dr. June Ahn), the MIM Program (Dr. Kathy Weaver), and the MLIS program (Dr. Paul Jaeger);
- Emerging efforts in Undergraduate Information Science education begun by Dr. Susan Winter and continued by Dr. Vedat Diker, and
- Many new faces as we are joined in the Fall by 220 new students, one of the largest incoming classes ever.
I will also have the privilege to work with Keith Marzullo who will be joining the iSchool in July 2016 as Dean. Keith, an internationally recognized distributed computing scholar, educator, and research leader, brings to the iSchool a wealth of skills, contacts, and expertise that will allow us to increase the College’s visibility, engagement, and impact.
As with any significant leadership transition, there are many questions and concerns. At the same time, there are many exciting opportunities. As Interim Dean, I am looking forward to working with every one of you to continue the traditions that have made the UMD iSchool a great place to study and work and to chart new directions that will serve the College, the University, and the larger iSchool community into the future.
Brian Butler, Interim Dean
University of Maryland, College Park
College of Information Studies