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About the School of Information Sciences

University of Tennessee Ayres Hall

the UT School of Information Sciences has achieved regional, national, and international recognition through its award-winning faculty, students and alumni; innovative teaching and research; commitment to diversity and inclusion; and personalized, online program options.

  • Top 10 Library and Information Sciences Program according to US News & World Report
  • Internationally Recognized Faculty with Diverse Teaching and Research Expertise.
  • Deep Bench of Exceptional Lecturers, Who are Leaders in the Information Professions.
  • Pioneer and Early Adopter of Online Library and Information Sciences Education.


The School of Information Sciences creates value through meaningful engagement for a diverse and pluralistic information ecology; advances original ideas for an information society through inquiry, discovery, scholarship, and creative activity; and leads by preparing ethical, innovative, and reflective information professionals.​


Enrich, elevate, and transform communities and the information professions through excellence in research, education, and service.


As a land-grant institution committed to excellence in research, scholarship, teaching, and service, the School of Information Sciences values:​

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion, respect for all opinions and people, free exchange of ideas, and academic freedom.​
  • Intellectual curiosity, reflectiveness, and lifelong learning.​
  • Engagement with students, the community, and the information professions.​
  • Adaptability, flexibility, and accountability in all we do, using data-driven, transparent, and collaborative decision-making.

Academic Programs & Career Pathways

The School of Information Sciences offers graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as career pathways to equip students with the expertise to excel in a variety of settings. SIS programs include a Master of Sciences in Information Sciences, School Library Media Specialist LicensureYouth Informatics Graduate CertificateGraduate Minor in Computational Science, Bachelor’s of Science in Information Sciences, Undergraduate Information Sciences Minor, and several MSIS career pathways, including:

Research & Academic Excellence

The School of Information Sciences actively embraces a varied and interdisciplinary approach to research and teaching and pursues and promotes an intellectual atmosphere of curiosity and creativity. The research faculty conduct in specialized areas not only contributes to the theoretical and practical knowledge bases in the information sciences, it also informs teaching and creates opportunities for students to get involved in ongoing research and/or launch their own research projects!

  • Academic Libraries and Librarianship
  • Data Curation and Data Management
  • Evaluation and Assessment of Libraries and Information Services and Systems
  • Geographic and Scientific Information
  • Human-Computer Interaction and User Experience
  • Information Behavior, Information Literacy, and Information Retrieval
  • Information Communication Technology in Developing Economies
  • Information Policy and Intellectual Property
  • Library and Information Science Education
  • Open Source Software and Communities
  • Scholarly and Scientific Communication
  • Social Justice and Information Services
  • Social Media and Social Informatics
  • Youth Informatics and Youth Services


The School of Information Sciences began in 1928 when the UT College of Liberal Arts launched an undergraduate school library media education program. The Department of Library Service was established in 1944 as part of the UT College of Education. In 1971, the Department became the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), and one year later, the program was accredited by the American Library Association. Finally, in 2002, the GSLIS joined the College of Communication and Information as one of four Schools, the School of Information Sciences.

  • 1971 – 1977: Dr. Gary R. Purcell
  • 1978 – 1992: Dr. Ann Prentice
  • 1992 – 1996: Dr. Jose Marie Griffiths
  • 1999 – 2003: Dr. Elizabeth Aversa
  • 2005 – 2015: Dr. Ed Cortez
  • 2016 – 2020: Dr. Diane Kelly
  • 2021 – Present: Dr. Abebe Rorissa
  • 1977 – 1978: Dr. William C. Robinson (acting)
  • 1996 – 1998: Dr. David Penniman (acting)
  • 1998 – 1999: Dr. Clarence “Bud” Minkel (interim)
  • 2003 – 2005: Dr. Doug Raber (interim)
  • 2015 – 2016: Dr. Dania Bilal (interim)
  • 2020 – Dr. Carol Tenopir