The Campaign for the faculty of information
We live in an Information Society. Just as revolutionary advances in industry and transport transformed the social, economic, and cultural world of earlier generations, so information technologies are now the prime forces for reshaping human progress. The rise of digital media has been likened by such thinkers as our own Marshall McLuhan to the shift from oral to written culture. There is no doubt that the Information Society is changing how we think, create and relate to one another. Take the cellphone. It is now a pocket-size computer. In conjunction with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the cellphone transforms the nature of communication. Famous corporations rise and fall according to developments in information technology, gaining billions in market value or diving into bankruptcy. But the impact of the information age is not confined to the economy. Language, social interaction, personal accomplishment and collective progress are all affected. How is language being altered by texting? What is the meaning of authorship when everyone blogs or self-publishes? What is the future of intellectual property when information can be shared instantly across the globe? How will our children learn to synthesize information with critical perspective? How can researchers maintain standards of accuracy when the Internet offers no assurance of the value of the information it conveys?
These are some of the questions the Faculty of Information must address in the immediate term. If we do not understand the impact of information technology on society, we cannot anticipate change but only cope with its consequences. One need go no further than the latest well-publicized leak of consumer data or diplomatic communication to understand that the stakes are enormous. The onset of the Information Society is not simply about access but about how to manage and understand information while upholding democratic principles and protecting its creators and proprietors. The core competencies of the iSchool in curation, museology and library science are central to all these issues.
The Faculty of Information
The University of Toronto is a place of pilgrimage for those seeking the origins of modern communications theory. Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan, two of the greatest media theorists of the 20th century, developed their seminal theories at U of T. McLuhan’s axiom— “we shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us” —has never seemed so prescient, with the growth of the Internet and mobile technologies. His remarkable legacy is perpetuated by the Faculty of Information (iSchool), a leading centre of research and education that has evolved continuously since its foundation in 1928 as Ontario’s first advanced training centre for librarians — the original information professionals. Our vision for the future is not simply to maintain our high standing as a centre for information research and professional education but to reach new levels of achievement. We will continue to marshal our strengths in history, philosophy, global affairs, information studies, English literature and computer science — breaking down the barriers between the sciences, humanities and social sciences — to understand the forces that are changing not only the way we work, but also how we think, communicate and imagine our communities. The iSchool will address the challenges of the Information Society through strategic expansion in the areas most relevant to the global information environment. In a knowledge-based economy that values creativity, innovation, ideas and their means of transmission, the role of philanthropic support for information research has never been more critical.
The Campaign for The Faculty of Information
Dean SEAMUS ROSS, a leading researcher in digital curation, was founding director of the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute, associate director of the UK Digital Curation Centre and principal director of Digital Preservation Europe.
â€œTo respond to the challenge of the digital age, the iSchool must educate professionals in all areas of information. Our graduates must be equipped to adapt quickly to rapid evolution in the field.â€?
The Campaign To respond to the challenge of the Information Society, the Faculty must maintain its tradition of excellence in research and education across all areas of inquiry related to information. Creation, organization, storage, access and retrieval, dissemination, preservation and conservation are all affected by the new technologies of data, information, archives, library science, museology and curation. Demand continues to grow for information professionals who are adept in these areas, as does the need for accelerated innovation in information research. In order to achieve our goals, we must focus on attracting exceptional students, enhancing the student experience, investing in programs that advance innovation and attracting faculty who are at the forefront of information research. Growth will be fostered by our core values of ethical practice, transparency, accountability, collaboration and methodological diversity. These are also the values of Boundless: The Campaign for the University of Toronto. The campaign for the Faculty of Information will stress three themes, each closely tied to the vision of the school and the emerging needs of the Information Society. • Student Experience – $3 million Fostering an experiential and experimental learning environment and providing more scholarships and bursaries to attract a diverse, talented and motivated student body. • Program and Faculty Support – $3 million Heightening academic capacity through new programs, chairs, professorships and fellowships. • Capital Projects – $1.8 million Expanding and revitalizing infrastructure to accommodate increased enrolment and modern research needs.
The Campaign for The Faculty of Information
STUDENT EXPERIENCE As libraries, archives, cultural centres and public and private information institutions evolve, educators must prepare students to address challenges and seize opportunities with agility and confidence. Our graduates must be knowledgeable, excellent communicators, adept project managers and strategic actors who are prepared to engage in continuous intellectual renewal. Information literacy has emerged as a key qualification in the 21st century. Our graduates are prepared to play a leading role.
Enrolment Growth Graduate enrolment at the Faculty of Information has doubled in the past decade. There has not been a corresponding increase in the number or value of scholarships, bursaries and fellowships available to students. This shortfall threatens our ability to ensure that an iSchool education is affordable and that students get the valuable hands-on experience and international engagement they need to become shapers and navigators in our information age. Our objective is to raise scholarship funding from our community and, ultimately, to establish a scholarship endowment in keeping with the reputation of the Faculty of Information and the University of Toronto.
Access and Opportunity Student support serves many functions. Most fundamental is the need to ensure that no qualified student is denied a Faculty of Information education because of financial need. To this end, we are seeking both endowed and expendable funding to support our students. In addition, we are seeking support to provide future professionals with opportunities for gaining essential practical experience through: • Internship funding • Co-op scholarship program support • Graduate student conference grants
The Campaign for The Faculty of Information
Top image: Allison Moore, Master of Information 2013 Candidate; Student Council Academic Affairs Chair Bottom image: Ashley Bodiguel, Master of Information 2013 Candidate; Student Council Social Committee Co-Chair
DAVID FERNáNDEZ is a second-year Master of Information student who is working toward a career in academic librarianship in the area of rare book and special collections.
“As an iSchool student, I believe we need to become skilled mediators in the transforming world of information. We are the future face of information.”
Program and Faculty Support
Our mission at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto is to push the frontiers of information practice and research across the disciplines of library and information science, museum studies, archives and records management, knowledge management, critical information studies and information systems and design. We have a bold agenda. We wish to reimagine our museums, galleries and other great cultural institutions that interpret history and provoke debate on the human condition. We believe that the benefits of the Information Society should be transmitted equitably around the world. And we will continue to reassess our relationship with information as a global commodity underlying all fields of endeavour. To achieve these goals, we plan to build on our strengths as a centre for education and research by supporting innovative programming and attracting exceptional scholars who will ensure our international prominence.
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Professor Periklis Andritsos holds an MSc and PhD in Computer Science from U of T. His research focuses on large database repositories and innovations that facilitate design and accelerate querying.
Professor LESLIE SHADE teaches communications. Her research focus is on the social and policy aspects of information and communication technologies, especially as they pertain to gender, youth, and political economy.
â€œThe myriad uses of information and communication technologies cross all segments of society, including those shaped by gender, youth and community groups. We must enable these voices to impact policy for the public interest.â€?
Innovative Programming How we educate information professionals must respond to changes in the way information is used in society. If we are to provide students with appropriate learning environments we need to create spaces where they can learn experientially, experimentally and empirically. The creation of six new iSchool Laboratories will enable the Faculty to facilitate research advances in databases, digital preservation, museums, ebooks, digital games and computer forensics. Museology is a global enterprise and a global discipline. Support for our Centre for Global Museology (CGM) will promote research into museum design, organization and management while facilitating collaboration between the academy and the profession. A vibrant environment housing flexible spaces, the Centre will encourage innovative solutions to the challenges facing our cultural heritage institutions while producing top practitionerscholars. The CGM will offer students, faculty and visitors a laboratory setting in which to explore innovations in theory and practice across the display, storage and workshop functions.
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Semaphore is a research cluster dedicated to inclusive design in the area of mobile and pervasive computing. At the heart of this research are the complementary goals of providing access to mobile and pervasive computing services in a variety of settings; and transforming these environments and tools to reduce disability brought on by a mismatch between individuals and their environments. These goals entail both theoretical and applied research into participatory material culture; sensory information processing; and adaptive games and inclusive play.
Academic Excellence Maintaining our leadership as a centre of scholarship depends on building our critical mass of outstanding faculty and supporting their professional growth. Establishing endowed chairs, professorships, fellowships and funding in priority areas will reinforce our commitment to progress in education and research while maintaining the reputation of the iSchool as a premier destination for the very best minds. The creation of a chair signals the high priority of a research area and its potential for programmatic growth. Chairs confer significant prestige on both the chair holder and the donor while attracting outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are inspired by the work of this individual. The Faculty of Information will seek visionary support for endowed chairs in communications, information literacy and archival science, all highly strategic areas of inquiry. As senior influential academics, these chair holders will play a major role in maintaining the pre-eminence of U of T as a bastion of communications scholarship and theory.
• An endowed Assistant Professorship will secure the next generation of expertise in the area of digital preservation and digital repositories. • Endowed Annual Postdoctoral Fellowships will enable the iSchool to enhance its profile by attracting outstanding international postdoctoral researchers at the outset of their academic careers. • Endowed Marshall McLuhan Centenary Visiting Fellows will strengthen the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology. Fellows will spend three to 12 months with the program, centred at the Coach House Institute. • Dean’s Fund for the Support of Faculty Innovation in Information Research will provide important funding for new and emerging ideas.
In addition to these chairs, the Faculty also seeks to create a number of important academic positions that will add substantially to our educational and research strengths and support the work of our chairs.
The Campaign for The Faculty of Information 13
Sustaining excellence in information teaching and research is impossible without appropriate infrastructure and technology. As the Faculty grows in response to the demands of the Information Society, the need for more extensive teaching and research space has become a pressing priority. Student enrolment has doubled in the past decade and is expected to double again over the next 10 years. To accommodate this growth, the Faculty of Information has occupied four separate spaces (The Claude T. Bissell Building, iSouth, Robarts Library and the Coach House), none of which offers the iSchool the environment it requires. Our entry into the Boundless campaign reflects our determination to optimize our powerful academic assets and to create an even more vibrant interdisciplinary environment for teaching, learning and discovery. We plan to manage this transformation in two stages. The first step will be a renovation of the historic Coach House, site of the famous Monday Night Seminars in
14 The Campaign for The Faculty of Information
which McLuhan held court, dissecting a world of digital media that was still in its infancy. Philanthropic support will help revitalize this legendary building and create a fitting home for the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology and its approximately 30 graduate students. The Centre will create a lively setting for international workshops, intensive seminars and progressive debates on digital media. The renovation will also confirm the Universityâ€™s respect for the legacy of one of its greatest thinkers. The longer-term solution is to build on our remarkable past and launch an entirely new era for the Faculty of Information through a new Faculty of Information building. This state-of-the-art facility will become the academic home of our next generation of scientists, scholars and researchers. The new iSchool building will be a catalyst of excellence by increasing enrolment, enhancing course offerings, providing contemporary resource and learning tools and enriching the educational experience for students.
Marshall mcluhan and his Centre for Culture and Technology occupied the Coach House in 1968.
Societies that thrive are those that anticipate and benefit from the forces of change. We seek to make sense of our new and exciting world, even as it unfolds, by catalyzing a new level of provocative information research and training skilled leaders who are adept in the management of information. We will succeed by being proactive, engaged and visible, with boundless advances in student support, program and faculty development and physical space.
Outstanding research requires a culture of scholarly inquiry and collaboration. Our goal is to provide a context for excellence by promoting community, building infrastructure and charting pathways to the future while responding quickly and deftly to those
developments that cannot be foreseen. By pursuing this vision the iSchool will aspire to new goals, reaffirm core values and assure the preeminence of the University of Toronto as a centre for the of study of the Information Society.
For more information contact: Faculty of Information, University of Toronto 140 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G6 (416) 978-3934 firstname.lastname@example.org