The School of Information
The School of Information is one of 20 schools and colleges at the University of Michigan. SI is established as an independent organization within the University of Michigan by Regental By-Law; management of the School is placed in the governing faculty and dean. SI affairs include the intellectual content of its programs, the selection and promotion of its faculty, and the selection of its students. SI reports to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. The University provides the infrastructure for overall administrative and business support systems. The University supports the School financially through an annual general-fund appropriation and one-time funds. The annual budget for the School of Information is more than $15 million. Sources of income include tuition revenue, general operating funds from the university, sponsored research, other grant funding, and modest endowment income.
The School, founded in 1924 as the Department of Library Science, has a long history of excellence in library and information science and archival education nationally and internationally. The first archival courses at the School were taught by Robert M. Warner in the late 1970’s. As part of its continuing evolution to address rapidly evolving information needs, the University re-chartered the School of Information and Library Studies in 1996 to become the School of Information. The School inherits the rich traditions of service, leadership, research, and access from its predecessors and extends these values into the digital age.
The School of Information presently has 36 teaching faculty members and approximately 27 adjunct instructors. Faculty with a broad range of perspectives and interests are forging a new body of theory, principles, and practices from the best of past and present scholarship. SI is creating a new generation of professionals qualified to address complex information challenges. Since its reorganization in 1996, the School’s curriculum has become highly interdisciplinary with a mix of theoretical, practical, and hands-on instruction. SI offers four degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Information (beginning 2013), a Master of Health Informatics, a PhD in Information, and a Master of Science in Information (MSI). The American Library Association has accredited the MSI degree (including all of its specialized program areas). SI currently offers nine specialized program areas within in the MSI degree:
- Archives and Records Management (ARM)
- Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
- Information Economics for Management (IEM)
- Information Analysis and Retrieval (IAR)
- Library and Information Science (LIS)
- School Library and Media (SLM)
- Preservation of Information (PI)
- Social Computing (SC)
The MSI program is a 48-hour degree program typically completed during two academic years. All students complete three core courses in their first year: “Information in Social Systems: Collections, Flows, and Processes,” “Contextual Inquiry and Project Management,” and “Understanding Networked Computing." Students must also fulfill requirements for management and research methods. Additionally, students take six credits of cognate courses and must satisfy a Practical Engagement requirement consisting of six credits of internships or class-based experiential learning.
Beyond these core requirements, students are free to pursue one or more specializations, which vary between twelve and eighteen credits per specialization. SI has established this curriculum structure to foster interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and to provide students with opportunities to complete one or more specializations during their two-year course of study.
The School of Information is an excellent home for the Archives and Records Management and Preservation of Information specializations. Three important factors contribute to the School’s strength in these areas: (1) a full suite of courses in each specialization; (2) faculty research and experience; and (3) a strong existing technological infrastructure on which to build.