Shaneka Morris was selected to participate in the Association of Research Libraries' Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce. She is the daughter of Paul and Thelma Morris of Marshall and a 1996 graduate of Marshall High School.
As a 2008-10 ARL Diversity Scholar, Morris will receive a $10,000 stipend over the next two years to assist her in completing her master's degree in library science. She will also attend leadership training workshops, be paired with a professional mentor and commit to working two years after graduation at a research library designated an ARL Signature Institution. These libraries actively recruit librarians from racial and ethnic minority groups.
Morris received her bachelor's degree in psychology from UNT in 2001. As an undergraduate, she was in the UNT Honors College and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, which encourages low-income undergraduates and those who are the first in their families to attend college to enter doctoral degree programs. McNair students are provided with research opportunities and faculty mentors.
As a master's student in library science, Morris has conducted research on how professors teach and how students use graphic novels and comics in the classroom, particularly in the library science field. She is conducting the research under the guidance of Elizabeth Figa, associate professor of library and information sciences, who wrote letters of recommendation for her. Morris plans to complete her degree in December 2009 or May 2010.
Morris is the third UNT student, and the second this year, to be named an ARL Diversity Scholar. Linh Uong, who is completing her master's degree in library science through the UNT College of Information, Library Science and Technologies' distance education program at Emory University, is also a 2008-10 Diversity Scholar. Michael Porter, who earned his master's degree in library science in 2005, was a 2004-06 Diversity Scholar.
The ARL Initiative is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and many of ARL's 123 member libraries. According to data from the Association for Library and Information Science Education, the number of students from racial and ethnic minority groups who are graduating from library and information science programs is decreasing, with master of library science students from under-represented backgrounds choosing careers in special and public libraries at higher percentages than they are choosing academic and research library careers. The ARL Initiative reflects the commitment of ARL members to create a diverse academic and research library community that will better meet the new challenges of global competition and changing demographics, according to the ARL web site.
Nancy Kolsti with UNT News Service
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