As the Fall semester gets into full swing SC&I is in great shape and looking to the future. We have appointed a group of brilliant new faculty. Joining Library and Information Science are Britt Paris , E.E. Lawrence , and Gretchen Stahlman as assistant professors; and Warren Allen as director of undergraduate studies in Information Technology and Informatics and assistant teaching professor.  Mark Beal joins Communication as assistant professor of professional practice.  We are also currently advertising five open rank positions : in Health Communication, Organizational Communication, and Library and Information Science with foci on Data Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Digital Information, and/or Youth and Libraries.
 
This continued expansion has created space challenges; where can we house new faculty and staff while sustaining high-quality research and teaching space. We have been able to take occupancy of some space in the Alexander Library. By refurbishing and remodeling this space we are able to provide an area where LIS faculty and Ph.D. students can enjoy the library environment. This means that SC&I is now spread across seven buildings around the junction of College Avenue and Huntington Street. This is a temporary fix – we will need yet more space as we fill the positions we are currently advertising. I am grateful for the faculty, staff, and students who have generously and uncomplainingly been moved around to make this work.

In August, the deans and chairs got together for two days of intensive strategic planning focused around a series of topics: developing our suite of master’s programs, reviewing our centers and clusters, implications from the new union contract, and building a culture of mentoring. We had a particular focus on diversity and agreed that Dafna Lemish’s role of associate dean of programs would be expanded to have strategic oversight of diversity issues in SC&I. We also focused on engaged scholarship – how do we understand it; how do we assess it; and how do we support it. This will be an important theme for the school to explore in more depth in the coming year.

One of my pleasures is being able to contribute to the teaching of a range of different undergraduate and graduate classes. This semester, for example, I taught a session with Amy Jordan on the introduction to Journalism and Media. I am always struck by the engagement of the students and the quality of their questions. With 264 students in this class, the discussion was quite lively and could have gone on for much longer. During the past few years, I have taught a session with Jack Grasso, focusing on PR and leadership and lessons from the school. You may be aware of Jack's passing. I was deeply saddened by the passing of such a lovely man and know he is dearly missed.