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College of Information and Communications

Building a culturally competent librarian workforce

Diversity, equity and inclusion have been woven into the School of  Information Science since it was founded 50 years ago. More recently, the school has bolstered its commitment to DEI through key hiring, targeted outreach and strategic programs, says Shirley Staples Carter, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion for the College of Information and Communications.

Some notable examples of the iSchool’s progress include the following: 

Student recruitment 

  • Partnering with Claflin University for a 4+1dual-degree program that allows Claflin undergraduates to start master’s studies at the CIC in their fourth year and graduate with both an undergraduate and a graduate degree within five years.
  • Matching funds ($5,000) for up to three master’s students who earn Spectrum scholarships from the American Library Association .
  • Leading the revised Spectrum doctoral fellowship program, which will support eight to 10 Ph.D. students across several institutions
  • Hosting an annual fall open house for undergraduate students from underrepresented populations 

Faculty recruitment and academics 

  • Creating new courses, such as Critical Cultural Information Studies and Social Justice Storytelling and Advocacy.
  • Revamping existing courses, such as Diversity in Libraries, Services to Latino Youth and LGBTQ Services.
  • Hiring key faculty members, including:
    • Nicole Cooke (research focuses: critical cultural information studies, misinformation and diversity and social justice in librarianship).
    • Clayton Copeland (research focus: access to information for people with disabilities).
    • Vanessa Kitzie (research focus: information practices of LGBTQ+ people and communities).
    • Mónica Colón-Aguirre (research focuses: information behaviors of Spanish-speaking Latinx populations and services for diverse users).

Partnerships and outreach 

  • Establishing an annual diversity, equity and inclusion symposium in collaboration with the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (started in 2018)
  • Teaming up with community partners, such as Richland Library, to offer DEI programming
  • Launching an equity, diversity and inclusion certificate program for practicing librarians.
  • Developing parent resources about discussing race and social issues with their children. 

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