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SLIS adds new informatics minor

Posted November 6, 2018
By Abe Danaher, communications assistant

What is informatics? Beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year, it will be the newest minor offered by the School of Library and Information Science. Informatics replaces the pre-existing information science minor and will give students a more flexible way to learn how information works.

“The skills you get with the minor are applicable to anything you do,” says Dr. Elise Lewis, an instructor in SLIS. “Every organization uses information. Being able to analyze, manage and implement information in its many various forms is critical, and that’s the skill set that this minor offers students." 

There are two major changes between the information science minor and the informatics minor. The first and most notable is the name.

“Informatics is a much more marketable word,” says Lewis. She explains that the term informatics is becoming the popular way to describe people managing information. That positive connotation is something faculty hope will translate into more students, as well as more interest from potential employers. 

The second major change is in the structure of the minor. Instead of having four or five required courses, the informatics minor will be much more flexible for students and allow for greater customization of their own path within the minor.

Students will now be required to take three core courses. These include an introduction to information science, a course in data analytics and a knowledge management course. After that, students will be able to pursue different tracks within the school based on the classes they choose to take with their remaining credits. Whether students find themselves more interested in data analytics or the people involved in the transfer of information, they can pursue whatever appeals most to their interests.

The school announces this change just as informatics is becoming a growing sector among many different fields. Three of the biggest fields to emerge recently are nursing, health and political informatics. Because of the minor’s versatility, SLIS hopes to attract students from a variety of majors, particularly business and education.

“The idea is that if you add informatics to whatever your major is, then hopefully it will help employers figure out that you have an understanding of how information works and its impact,” Lewis says.

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