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College of Information and Communications


SLIS graduates a record number of doctoral students

Posted May 9, 2017
Photo: (front, l to r) David Lankes, Margaret Zimmerman, Sara Chizari, Simon Tarr, Sam Hastings. (back) Jason Alston, April Dawkins, Porchia Moore and Elizabeth Hartnett. Not picture: Cantrell Johnson.


The School of Library and Information Science celebrated a record number of eight doctoral candidates and 61 master's students at the annual Hooding Ceremony on May 5. 

In opening remarks, Dr. David Lankes, director of the school, told the assembly that graduation and hooding was both a celebration of an end of something and the beginning of something — whether it be a career, more studies or just a new phase of life.

"As you graduate it's not simply a matter of celebrating an accomplishment that you have done, but it is celebrating the potential that you represent," Lankes said. "It's a potential that you represent whether it is in teaching, in a classroom, in a library or a Fortune 500 company."

He charged the graduates to go forward in "love and wisdom to improve our society."

Charles Bierbauer, dean of the College of Information and Communications, gave the Hooding address. He discussed the importance of acquiring and maintaining accurate information in an era of fake news.

Bierbauer emphasized that at a time when information and the right to it are under siege, we cannot be passive or indifferent. Fake news, whether perpetrated or intimated, he said, is as much an insult to our intelligence as it is an affront to our democracy. (See all Bierbauer's remarks in the Hooding video on this page.)

Among the newly minted doctoral graduates are future faculty and librarians, social media influences, writers and scholars.

After graduation, what's next?

  • Dr. Jason Alston is the information literacy librarian and coordinator at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.
  • Dr. Sara Chizari is a user experience researcher for Red Hat in Raleigh, North Carolina. Red Hat is a leading provider of open source, enterprise solutions.
  • Dr. April Dawkins is an assistant professor at the School of Education in the Library and Information Studies Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Hartnett is the program coordinator at the South Carolina Center for Children's Books and Literacy where she will be able to contribute to community outreach by teaching children’s literature classes and continue her research there.
  • Dr. Cantrell Johnson served as a library assistant at the school for the past four years and is currently seeking an academic dean position.
  • Dr. Porchia Moore is an inclusion catalyst at the Columbia Museum of Art and is teaching for Johns Hopkins University in the Museum Studies program.
  • Dr. Simon Tarr is associate professor and coordinator of media arts
    in the School of Visual Art and Design at the University of South Carolina.
  • Dr. Margaret Zimmerman is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Sam Hastings, who recently retired as director of the School of Library and Information Science, recruited and mentored the doctoral students. 

Hastings said this class represents the best and brightest in the field. Many of them were Cultural Heritage Informatics fellows funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and the school.

"There is no doubt in my mind that they will change the world through their work and passion," Hastings said. "I am so very proud of each of them.  It takes a village to raise a doctoral student, so much appreciation goes to the entire SLIS faculty."