The Faculty of Information is one of the world's most important information and knowledge management schools. Our programs are led by leading researchers and faculty across multiple disciplines and result in exceptional research and career opportunities.
The Provost has made it official. The University has extended my term as Dean for two more years effective July 1, 2021. If this feels like Groundhog Day to you, believe me, I fully understand. I feel that way too.
Like many of you, I also share the sentiment that the Faculty of Information has, to a certain extent, been in limbo over the past few years as the search for a new Dean sometimes appeared to be never ending. I am determined that this time around, things will be very different.
I believe we are well positioned to move forward at this point in time. We are emerging from a pandemic that has given many of us new perspectives about what a university education can be. We have a self-study, complete with the insights and recommendations of external reviewers. And we have a community committed to doing better when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion issues.
Over the next few months, I will be asking all of you for your feedback on what role you believe our Faculty should be filling within the UofT, academia and the broader community. Based on this input, we will draft a document to serve as a basis for discussion as the Faculty works to write a strategic plan and set goals to implement it.
You should also know that next week we will be welcoming a new Chief Administrative Officer – that announcement will follow – who will play a key role in assessing the efficacy of our current set-ups, systems and staffing. With regard to the hiring of faculty members, we have been given the green light to fill five permanent positions.
Overall, I am very optimistic about what lies ahead. When I stop and reflect on all the things we accomplished under the enormous constraints of the pandemic, I never fail to be amazed. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have you as colleagues and it is an honour to continue in the position of Dean.
The iSchool has a proud history of great leaders who pushed the Faculty towards an innovative future for the Information field.
Brian Cantwell Smith
Winifred G. Barnstead