Message From the Dean
The University of Maryland College of Information Studies – the iSchool – trains students to become information professionals.
We’ve been living in what has been called the Information Age for decades now. We often think of this age as being about rapidly-changing technology. Many people my age are amazed when they think back at how the Internet has changed everything. Parents of our students are often amazed at how their children use mobile devices to find information or reach a key person at any place and time. Our students will be amazed by the devices their children will have, and a decade from now, all of us will laugh at how the mobile devices we carry now will seem quaint and primitive.
Technology is tangible and shapes our lives and behaviors in deep ways. The Information Age, however, is more than a revolution in technology. Technology is an enabling vehicle that delivers information. It is the explosion of information, and the resultant need for collection, organization, access, and conceptualization that is at the core of the Information Age. Technology and information shape our lives and behaviors, but in return, our lives and behaviors shape the technology and information. People are an integral part of the Information Age – it is a socio-technical revolution. This combination of technology, information, and people together makes up the Information Age.
The iSchool is at the center of this Information Age revolution. In our college, interdisciplinarity is the norm. Our faculty and researchers are accessibility designers, archival scientists, computer scientists, cybersecurity experts, data scientists, human-computer interaction designers and researchers, information scientists, organizational psychologists, privacy researchers, social scientists, systems engineers, user-experience designers, and a former mayor of College Park. We have cross-appointed faculty with Behavioral and Social Science, Computer Science, English, Education – and with more connections in the works. What brings such a diverse group of educators and researcher together is that we are changemakers: we are interested in leading, guiding, and understanding the major transformation that the Information Age brings to our lives.
What is the future of the Information Age? The details are hard to see, but I do know that it will be a continuation of the socio-technical revolution that we have been undergoing for three decades now. This world will be largely defined by the way we manage, visualize, and utilize information, and from that information create new knowledge and identify opportunities. Our students, with their mastery of information and their vision of the possible, will play a central role in creating this future world. They are in the right place – the iSchool, the University of Maryland, the Capital Region – and at right time to drive that change.
The iSchool offers the following academic programs to help prepare our students to create the future:
- Bachelor of Science in Information Science students learn to bring together information, technology, and people to meet critical needs at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. They are taking jobs as software engineers, cyber defense technologists, data curators, operations analysts, phishing analysts, software vulnerability analysts, user experience researchers, and web developers.
- Master of Information Management students learn about policies, processes, and applications for managing data, transforming data into information, and synthesizing information into actionable knowledge to drive competitive advantage. They go on to become strategic leader in the use of information and technology in many kinds of organizations, largely in the private sector.
- Master of Human-Computer Interaction students learn to design, evaluate, and implement new information technologies that are understandable, usable, and appealing to a wide variety of people. The program prepares students to enter careers in the user experience industry or to become successful in doctoral work in a particular specialization of HCI.
- Master of Library and Information Science students become experts in information collection, cleaning, and curation, and go on to work in libraries, archives, government agencies, the nonprofit sector, consulting firms, and industry.
- Ph.D. students address today’s hardest social and technical problems: such problems have information at their cores. Graduates of the program have accepted positions at leading universities and research institutions around the world.
Underlying all of our programs and research is a viewpoint that has been with our college since its founding: embracing diversity, increasing inclusion, and addressing societal good.
Please spend some time looking around our website to learn more about the iSchool and the education and research that we are doing here. If you’re a changemaker as well, come join at the center of the Information Age revolution.