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iSchool leadership changes announced

School of Information Science Director David Lankes will leave the University of South Carolina this summer for an endowed professorship at the University of Texas School of Information. He has led the iSchool since 2016. Professor Karen Gavigan will return from retirement to serve as interim director beginning July 16.

During his time at South Carolina, Lankes and the faculty doubled the size of the iSchool’s undergraduate program, revised its bachelor’s, MLIS and Ph.D. programs, expanded external research funding and launched a graduate certificate in equity, diversity and inclusion.

College of Information and Communications Dean Tom Reichert thanked Lankes for his efforts to advance the school’s reputation and global influence.

“David’s thought-leadership and advocacy have had a transformative impact not just on our program, but on librarianship worldwide,” says Tom Reichert, dean of the College of Information and Communications. “We’re proud of the work he’s done at South Carolina and look forward to continuing the momentum he’s built.”

Gavigan served on the iSchool’s faculty for a decade before retiring in 2020. At South Carolina, her research explored the use of graphic novels in K-12 education and the instructional role of the librarian. She has also received nearly $500,000 in Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources grant funding since 2016 to host training workshops to help K-12 teachers and school librarians enhance their civil rights lessons.

“I am honored to serve as the interim director of the School of Information Science this year,” Gavigan says. “I am looking forward to working with our terrific iSchool faculty, staff, students and Dean Reichert, as well as my colleagues in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. With the celebration of our 50th anniversary, this will be an exciting year for the iSchool.”

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