It is a renewed pleasure for me to write this message as I was reappointed as Director for the fourth time last June and this represents my tenth newsletter. While each year has seen many exciting developments, 2014 was punctuated with several important changes.
As planned, we introduced the new master’s program, the Master of Information Studies (MISt), and a cohort of more than 70 students was enrolled in Fall 2014. New courses in the areas of human computer interaction, data mining, and information security are now available. The most important change for the School, however, was our administrative move to the Faculty of Arts as approved by the McGill University Senate last May. In this newsletter, we share more information about this move and potential partnerships in the Faculty of Arts. These positive developments suggest that the field of information studies is increasingly recognized as an important domain both from a scholarly and a curricular point of view. Furthermore, new programs in development at SIS will be advertised soon and may be of interest to our recent alumni.
Unfortunately, drastic budget cuts imposed by the provincial government have made the management of the School somewhat challenging. We now face ongoing budgetary constraints and strict rules for hiring support staff and instructors. Although these are not the first budget cuts to affect the School over the last century, they exacerbate our need for external donations and funding as provincial legislation continually aims to reduce funding in higher education.
Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see that our doctoral program is growing steadily. For two years in a row, we have attracted exceptionally large cohorts of doctoral students. Since the program was implemented in 2009, it has attracted more than 40 talented new students. I am also happy to report that the School continues to boast an exceptionally vibrant and engaged student community, with two new professional student chapters founded this year, adding to our already impressive number of associations, groups, and chapters.
I always enjoy reading news from you, our alumni, who share with us such interesting and inspiring updates about your careers and achievements. It is a great pleasure to hear from you and see how a sense of community can be now strongly maintained through social media. We are now active on a number of social networks including Facebook and LinkedIn. We invite you to join our online networks as another way to keep in touch with the School and with your fellow alumni.
On that note, I hope that your 2015 will be full of positive milestones in your life and that you will let us know about them here at SIS.
With very warm wishes,