The School of Library and Information Sciences joined with an academic department in the College of Education — the Department of Learning Technologies — to become the College of Information, Library Science, and Technologies.
By combining the research and educational expertise in the school and the department, UNT will now be able to offer its students a comprehensive experience with hands-on training in conducting and applying cutting-edge research that focuses on both information science and technology.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a proposal from the UNT System Board of Regents, strongly supported by President Gretchen M. Bataille and Wendy K. Wilkins, provost and vice president for academic affairs, to create the new college. The college consolidates the former school and department into two academic departments — learning technologies and library and information sciences.
Jeff Allen will continue as interim chair of the Department of Learning Technologies, while a new chair will be appointed for the Department of Library and Information Sciences. Herman Totten, SLIS dean, will serve as dean of the new college.
Totten says the new college will create increased opportunities to attract and retain top students and broaden the learning experience for students enrolled. The new college also will increase the levels of research funding beyond what was previously obtained by the Department of Learning Technologies and the School of Library and Information Sciences, and attain higher national rankings for the academic programs offered by the department and the school.
The college, Totten says, will be more comprehensive in its academic offerings than either the department or the school individually. The degree programs that will be offered in the new college include two bachelor's degree programs, three master's degree programs and three doctoral degree programs. No new degree programs are anticipated at this time, but may develop in the future.
During the spring 2008 semester, SLIS enrolled 91 undergraduates and nearly 2,000 graduate students, while the Department of Learning Technologies enrolled 331 graduate students and more than 1,100 undergraduates. Combining the two enrollments will bring the new college's total enrollment to more than 3,500 students, Totten says.
Totten says undergraduates will particularly benefit from the new college because they will be taught by 31 tenured or tenure-track faculty members, including six faculty members designated as Regents Professors, a position awarded by the UNT System Board of Regents to the university's most outstanding faculty members.
He adds that faculty members from both academic units "have research interests that beg for collaboration." These research opportunities are another benefit of forming the new college, he says.
"The consolidation provides wonderful opportunities for innovation and sustainability for a global information society," he says.
Researchers in both the department and school focus on computer-based technologies, specifically information and learning technologies and related topics in human-computer interaction, distributed learning and student learning and information behavior.
Both units also are interdisciplinary, teaching students the knowledge and skills to provide information retrieval services in educational, research, medical and business settings.
In addition to its academic departments, the new college will house two centers and an institute — the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge, which has been part of SLIS, and the Texas Center for Educational Technologies and the Institution for the Integration of Technology into Teaching and Learning, which were both part of the Department of Learning Technologies.
Totten says the new college's location at UNT's Discovery Park, a nearly 290-acre research park located just north of campus, also will provide for greater interaction among faculty members in the college and faculty members in the College of Engineering's Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Department of Engineering Technologies, also housed at Discovery Park.
"The information technology field draws largely from computer science and engineering technologies," Totten says.
He says having a College of Information, Library Science, and Technologies will help UNT better compete with exemplary colleges of information science and technologies in universities worldwide.
UNT News Service Press Release
Nancy Kolsti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.