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Bulletin, April/May 2010

Schools of Information and Undergraduate Education

by Mary Lynn Rice-Lively, Guest Editor

Global economic challenges have yet to dampen the steady stream of students seeking a college or university degree from the United States. The Institute for Educational Sciences’ National Center for Education Statistics reports that enrollment in degree-granting institutions has grown 26 percent since 1996 with undergraduate student enrollment rising 25 percent between 1997 and 2007 [1]. In sum universities face the dual challenge of diminishing funding resources and increased student admissions applications.

According to Kevin McGarry’s 1997 analysis of the development of undergraduate programs in the United Kingdom [2], graduate professional school began to emerge following World War II. A similar trend was seen in the United States with many schools of library science that were first established as undergraduate degree programs evolving into the graduate programs during the late 1940s and 1950s.

Today 12 of the 20 U.S. members of the ISchool Caucus offer an undergraduate degree, two schools offer a minor (Illinois and University of Texas), two (Michigan and UCLA) offer select undergraduate service courses but no minor, and two (Carnegie Mellon and Indiana’s LIS program) offer no undergraduate courses. (See Table 1 for a complete list of these schools.) 

Table 1. ISchool Undergraduate Programs
Contributors to this issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology explore the development and evolution of two very different approaches to iSchool undergraduate programs (Florida State University and the University of Texas at Austin), reflect on pedagogical and technological innovations in teaching topics in information studies and look at today’s multitaskers – members of a generation who have grown up “digital” [3].

[2] McGarry, K, J. (1997). Undergraduate degrees in information and library studies: A retrospect and revaluation. Education for Information, 15(2). Retrieved March 3, 2010, from EBSCO Host.
[3] Tapscott, D. (1998). Growing up digital: The rise of the net generation. New York: McGraw-Hill.
[1] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). Digest of education statistics, 2008 (NCES 2009-020), Table 226. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from

iSchool School/Dept. URL Yes No Degree Concentrations
Carnegie Mellon X 
Drexel College of Information Science and Technology X BS information science, software engineering; information technology
Florida State University College of Communication & Information X BS computing
Georgia Institute of Technology College Computing
X BS (2) computer science; computational media
Illinois GSLIS X minor 
Indiana School of Informatics & Computing
X BS and BA computer science; informatics
Indiana School of Library & Information Science X 
North Carolina School of Information and Library Science 
Penn State College of Information Science and Technology X BS (2) & BA information sciences & technology; security & risk analysis
Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences X BSIS information systems; user-centered design; networks & security
Rutgers School of Communication and Information X BA information technology and informatics
Syracuse School of Information Studies X BS information management & technology
UC-Irvine Dept of Informatics X BS informatics
UC-Berkley School of Information X courses; no minor 
UC-Los Angeles Depart. Of Information Studies X courses 
University of Maryland -Baltimore Department of Information Systems X BS information systems
University of Michigan School of Information X courses in informatics collaborative program with CoLA and engineering. Degree offered by CoLA
University of Texas School of Information X minor in info studies 
University of Washington Information School X BS informatics

Mary Lynn Rice-Lively is associate dean, School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin. She can be reached by email at marylynn<at>