Deans, Provost: Merger ‘easy’ for SLIS, SoIC
By Nick Sobecki
“Change isn’t always easy or pleasant,” Robert Schnabel, dean of SoIC, said. “But this one has been easy and pleasant.”
According to Robel, Schnabel and SLIS Dean Debora Shaw, no cuts to either school’s faculty or staff are planned.
“The staff from both schools are working together to look at ways to share expenses,” Shaw said in an email. “We see the economic benefits in terms of academic synergies that will provide opportunities for growth.”
Both schools are planning for growth at the graduate level.
“We plan on creating a master’s in data science, and we would like to be able to make a graduate certificate,” Schnabel said.
According to Schnabel, students that are farther along in their student career will be unaffected by the change.
“For SLIS students it opens up whole new career paths,” Robel said. “My brother got a degree from SLIS in the ’80s and he works at CISCO now. Librarians have to be data specialists, so this makes a ton of sense.”
Both Schnabel and Shaw said there will also be no financial cost to IU due to this merger.
“You have to realize that informatics is a growing field and we are a healthy organization,” Schnabel said.
Schnabel said the merging of these topped rank schools will create one of the largest and most prestigious informatics schools in the U.S. SLIS was ranked seventh in the U.S. based on academic quality as decided by deans, program directors and faculty members in 2009 by the U.S. News and World Report. Also, SoIC was named a top IT school to watch by Computerworld magazine in 2008.
“This is an exciting time for our field,” Shaw said in an email. “Adding breadth and depth by creating this larger school will help our students prepare for challenging careers that will make a difference.”