Syracuse University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) was recently created through a merger of the Office of Institutional Research and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment. The streamlined operation, located at 400 Ostrom Avenue, serves all members…
Andrew Sears Appointed Dean of the School of Information Studies
Vice Chancellor, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Gretchen Ritter today announced the appointment of Andrew Sears as the next dean of the School of Information Studies (iSchool). Sears comes to Syracuse from The Pennsylvania State University, where he has served as dean of the College of Information Sciences and Technology since 2015. Sears’ appointment, which was approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, begins Aug. 1.
“Through his leadership and scholarship, Andrew has brought renown to Penn State and garnered the respect of faculty and staff in structuring the college to support academic programs, experiential learning, student engagement and faculty success,” Ritter says. “He is joining a dynamic academic enterprise at the iSchool with the depth of experience necessary to continue to move it forward and adapt to an exciting and rapidly evolving information age.”
At Penn State, Sears leads a college that was founded in 1999 and is composed of 150 faculty and staff, offers 24 degree and certificate programs, and has more than 2,100 resident students statewide and nearly 1,500 students taking courses online through Penn State World Campus. The college was recently ranked No. 10 on the list of best online master’s programs in computer information technology by U.S. News & World Report.
As dean, Sears has focused on strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. As a result, the college saw an increase in the diversity of the student body, revisions to the faculty and staff recruitment process and the launch of a multi-year search for faculty working on social justice. Sears also expanded interdisciplinary collaborations through faculty hiring and partnerships and helped create a Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence, which advances multidisciplinary AI research across and beyond Penn State.
“I believe higher education exists to transform the lives of our students and to make the world a better place for everyone. We transform the lives of our students and their families through the education and experiences we provide, and we make the world a better place through our research, scholarship and outreach,” says Sears. “The iSchool at Syracuse has a long and proud history of innovation and impact, and its mission of expanding human capabilities by connecting people, information and technology has never been more important. I am excited to work with the faculty and staff of the iSchool to continue changing the world for the better!”
Sears’ own research projects have addressed issues associated with mobile computing, health information technologies, speech recognition and assessing an individual’s cognitive status via normal daily interactions with information technologies. His research has been supported by various industry leaders, government agencies and foundations, including IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Verizon Foundation.
Sears earned a B.S. in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in computer science with an emphasis on human-computer interaction from the University of Maryland-College Park. Prior to Penn State, he was professor and dean of the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Ritter expressed gratitude to David Seaman, dean of Syracuse University Libraries and University librarian, for once again serving as iSchool interim dean after Rajiv “Raj” Dewan concluded his deanship last year. She also thanked the search advisory committee and co-chairs and iSchool professors Megan Oakleaf and Carsten Østerlund. Management consulting firm Korn Ferry assisted in the search.
Starting out more than a century ago as a library science program, the iSchool was the first in the nation to transform into an information school. Today, the iSchool stands out as a premier institution for innovative programs in the study and design of information, data and technology systems for the public good. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top programs in library and information studies (No. 6), information systems (No. 5), digital librarianship (No. 4) and school library media (No. 3), the iSchool offers degree programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, with master’s programs available both on campus and online.