Dear students, alumni, partners and friends,
Whew! We’ve had a busy summer with study abroad, online classes, conferences and preparing for another academic year.
Our enrollment is at an all-time high. A 27 percent enrollment increase is a good challenge for our college to have, and we’ve been hard at work ensuring our newest SLIS and SJMC students have the space and staffing needed to succeed.
We’ve also racked up an impressive number of student and faculty awards in the past year, including three Southeast EMMY Awards, four Hearst wins, an ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, the South Carolina Public Relations Society of America Educator of the Year, and many others too numerous to mention. We hope to bring home even more accolades this year.
And if you haven’t already heard, our Social Media Insights Lab is up and running thanks to the generosity of our donors. What does the lab do? Its powerful software allows researchers and graduate students across the university to enhance their research with social media data. We’re also using it to monitor conversations in South Carolina and the U.S. leading up to the next presidential election. Keep up with our findings by following @UofSCInsights on Twitter.
As always, my door is always open if you ever want to chat about what’s happening here at the college or share ideas.
An update on the School of Journalism and Mass Communications
I’m thrilled to join SJMC this fall as the new director. It is an honor to join such a storied, student-centered and energetic program. I come to SJMC after 10 years at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, where I was a journalism faculty member and director of the School of Communication. A university mostly known for its STEM programs, the RIT communication programs had a distinct computing and interdisciplinary flavor. I’m excited to bring this experience to a larger, legacy program.
This year I look forward to meeting and collaborating with SJMC faculty, staff and students to understand our strengths and apply them in a way that makes SJMC a premier model for community-engaged journalism. In addition to adding more data and technology to our curriculum and research portfolio, I look forward to building partnerships with local media and community organizations.
On a personal level, I was originally attracted to the field of journalism because
I like meeting, listening to and learning from new people. I welcome the opportunity
to get to know you. Please don’t hesitate to stop by my office, room 322B on the third floor.
An update on the School of Library and Information Science
There’s a lot to be excited about at SLIS this academic year.
One of the new faces you’ll see in Davis College is Nicole Cooke, our Augusta Baker Chair. Dr. Cooke is a scholar in the area of diversity in librarianship, and she comes from the No. 1 ranked LIS program in the country (well, at least until the next ranking when we’ll take it). Later this year, we’ll also introduce you to several high-profile professionals who’ve signed on to serve as our inaugural class of SLIS Fellows, meaning they’ll be linked to the school as ambassadors for the program.
Our research efforts continue to pay off with a major IMLS grant for Lucy Green and another year of funding for Karen Gavigan's Teaching with Primary Sources grant from the Library of Congress. And our cohort programs are still helping South Carolina schools and libraries fill urgent vacancies.
This fall, we’ll also prepare for our golden anniversary: 2020 marks 50 years since the establishment of South Carolina’s LIS program. We’re working on some special events and other surprises to show how our first 50 years are propelling us forward for the next 50.
These are only a few highlights and what’s happening at SLIS. I’d need a lot more space to talk about Darin Freeburg’s upcoming special issue in the Journal of New Librarianship, or our hosting of the seventh Library Research Seminar, or Vanessa Kitzie’s work with marginalized populations, or Ehsan Mohammadi’s upcoming work on alternative citation metrics for scholars, or a potential partnership between Susan Rathbun-Grubb and the Research Library Partnership, or a new MOU with National Chengchi University in Taiwan headed up by Feili Tu-Keefner.
Last, thank you to the entire CIC community for your support during my cancer treatment and bone marrow transplant. Dick Kawooya did a spectacular job as interim director. All of your thoughts and emails and letters kept me going (even when I was forced into medical confinement in that other Carolina).