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Alex Grigg

I'm always a little confused about what the process is behind the scenes that causes a college to close down a graduate school. My guess is that it is strictly a cost/benefit analysis that causes such a decision to be made.

If I can be allowed my initial assumption that the decision is strictly financial, then I don't think that better programming and more relevant education will do much to keep LIS schools open. My suggestion would be to get the grant money coming in to library schools. If a college sees library schools as a source of income then they will be much less likely to close the doors. So maybe the question should really be what can we do at SLA to encourage library students (and faculty) to seek out grants and what can we do to encourage corporate and government organizations to offer grants to research in library fields.

I'd be glad to give up a Thomson or LexisNexis party at an SLA conference if that translated to grant funding for library research. There are certainly topics where research would be of use to the major vendors and although I haven't been seeking them out recently, the grant funded research opportunities never seemed to be abundant.

Jim Milles

I'm the Director of the Law Library and of the JD/MLS program here at UB. I hosted a discussion among some 19 students of the School of Informatics yesterday, and posted it as an episode of my podcast, Check This Out! (http://cto.libsyn.com)

Jill Hurst-Wahl

The statement below is being circulated via e-mail from UB.
-----

Kindly distribute to students, faculty, staff and alumni within the
Department of Library & Information Studies


Office of the Provost

University Provost

7 July 2006

Dear School of Informatics Community,

The purpose of my letter is to ensure that there is a clear
understanding of the recent decision to realign the School of
Informatics' constituent departments - the Department of Communication
and the Department of Library and Information Studies - and the reasons
for this decision. Before I begin, I would like to reassure our
faculty, students, staff, and alumni that undergraduate and graduate
courses and academic degree programs, including the programs in
Informatics, that have been offered in the School will continue to be
offered in their new administrative homes.

As you can appreciate, universities are not stagnant or fixed. This
reality is resultant of the dynamic constituency - students, faculty,
alumni, and staff - who comprise our universities. Our students,
faculty, alumni, and staff are continually shaping the contemporary
realities in which we live, learn, and work and will undoubtedly shape
those realities of tomorrow.

As part of this natural evolution, universities initiate change for
countless administrative and academic reasons. And, throughout UB's
history such has occurred -- as I suspect our faculty and alumni can
attest. The administrative change we are witnessing today in the School
of Informatics has been designed with one objective in mind: To ensure
our academic departments and educational programs are supported -
through maximizing the use of our resources in direct support of our
academic mission - so our students, faculty, and academic degree
programs can flourish. To this, we are committed.

It is also important to contextualize the decision to realign the
academic departments (Communication and Library and Information Studies)
in the School of Informatics from a broader institutional perspective.
Every academic discipline - from biostatistics to philosophy - does not
reside within its own unique school or college. Disciplines and
academic degree programs flourish because of the faculty's commitment to
expanding knowledge and educating the next generation of intellectual
innovation and leadership. It is the faculty, students, staff, and
alumni that make a particular degree program a successful enterprise
dedicated to academic excellence, rather than a particular
administrative arrangement or decanal reporting relationship.

In today's dynamic and increasingly complex world, faculty are actively
seeking to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries - counter to the
traditional "siloed" paradigm - so they may contribute to solving --
through a multidisciplinary lens and approach -- some of the most
challenging problems that face humanity. Indeed, this type of
interdisciplinary collaboration is exactly what our UB faculty have
chosen to pursue as evidenced by their active engagement in the
multidisciplinary UB2020 Strategic Strengths Initiative.

With this realignment, faculty and students from Communication and
Library and Information Studies will have more opportunities for
interdisciplinary collaborations among their departmental colleagues in
the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Education.
Through providing a more robust context to collaborate across academic
departments, students and faculty will have very real opportunities to
develop intellectual synergies - evidenced through their teaching,
research, or academic programming - with their colleagues in the
Graduate School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences,
respectively.

This summer and throughout the fall semester, Interim Dean Lucinda
Finley will be working with the Faculty Senate, the chairpersons in the
departments of Communication and Library and Information Studies, the
director of the Informatics Program, and the faculty as we proceed
towards the implementation of this administrative realignment.

At the start of the Fall semester, Professor Finley plans to constitute
a Department of Communication/College of Arts and Sciences Faculty
Committee and a Department of Library and Information Studies/Graduate
School of Education Faculty Committee so to facilitate a smooth
transition and to ensure faculty needs and ideas regarding their
research and teaching are heard and addressed. In the next week or so,
Professor Finley will convene a meeting with the School of Informatics
staff members to discuss transitional issues from both global and
individual perspectives.

We are currently in the process of scheduling a meeting with student
representatives from the departments of Communication and Library and
Information Studies and the Informatics Program. Professor Finley and I
look forward to the opportunity to meet with our students and to discuss
further the decision to realign the departments and the process of
implementation, as well as to address questions and issues specific to
our students.

Professor Finley has already had the opportunity to meet with the two
department chairs and the director of the Informatics Program to begin
to discuss transitional issues, and perhaps more importantly, to ensure
our continued investment in the departments of Communication and Library
and Information Studies so our academic degree programs continue to
strengthen. I am pleased to note that these conversations have been
exceedingly congenial and productive, especially regarding the
opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with faculty in the
Graduate School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences that
are presented by the administrative realignment.

President Simpson has expressed in many forums our vision to be one of
the nation's premier public research universities in the nation. With
this bold institutional vision in mind, allow me once again to
reemphasize: Undergraduate and graduate courses and academic degree
programs, including the programs in Informatics, that are administered
in the departments of Communication and Library and Information Studies
will continue to be offered in their new administrative homes - the
College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Education. I
have every expectation that these degree programs will progress and
flourish moving into the ranks of nationally recognized degree
programs. It is thus your degree from the University at Buffalo will be
increasingly valued in the public domain because of the commitment from
all corridors of our campus to academic excellence.

I hope this letter has provided you with further clarity regarding the
realignment of academic departments in the School of Informatics. I
hope you have a wonderfully enjoyable summer.

Sincerely,

Satish K. Tripathi

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Cc: John Ellison, Associate Professor and Director, Informatics
Program

Lucinda Finley, Frank Raichle Professor of Trial and Appellate Advocacy,
Law School, and Interim Dean, School of Informatics

Judith Robinson, Professor and Chair, Department of Library and
Information Studies

Frank Tutzauer, Associate Professor and Chair,
Department of Communication

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