Vision for information, library science brings Marshall to UNC at Chapel Hill deanship

Release date: 
November 13, 1998

By L.J. TOLER
UNC at Chapel Hill News Services

CHAPEL HILL -- Her in-depth vision for the future of library and information services helped earn Dr. Joanne Gard Marshall of Canada her new job: dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science.

The UNC Board of Governors today (Nov. 13) appointed Marshall, a professor of information studies at the University of Toronto, as professor and dean in the UNC at Chapel Hill school, effective Jan. 1, 1999. She replaces Dr. Barbara B. Moran, dean since 1990, who chose to return to teaching and research on the school’s faculty.

Author of six books and numerous articles in her field, Marshall received this year’s John Cotton Dana Award for exceptional service from the 15,000-member, international Special Libraries Association. Marshall chaired production of the association document "Competencies of Special Librarians for the 21st Century." Previously, in 1995, the association honored Marshall for outstanding service for her study of the impact of corporate libraries on decision-making.

Marshall’s areas of expertise and research include health information, the value and impact of library and information services and technology, and information technology and the aging work force. She was recently appointed to an Association of Library and Information Science Educators’ council studying changing information and library science curricula.

"Just as Carolina strives to prepare all students to live and work effectively in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, we also must train professionals to manage this information explosion," said UNC at Chapel Hill Chancellor Michael Hooker. "Information and library science graduates will need full competency in new, sophisticated ways of managing information. Only a proven, seasoned professional with a vision for the future can ensure that our school continues to educate top-drawer specialists. I’m convinced that Dr. Joanne Marshall is that professional, and we are extremely lucky that she has agreed to come to Carolina."

She will lead a school of about 250 graduate students, 60 undergraduates and 19 full-time faculty members. The school prepares students for diverse forms of information work with libraries, archives and computer information systems and networks. The school offers master’s of science degrees in information science and library science, a doctor of philosophy in information and library science, and an undergraduate minor in information systems.

Marshall said optimism about the future of her profession and the school will mark her approach at Carolina.

"I am truly excited about the potential of our field in the 21st century," she said. "I see a very positive future for the school as the scope of practice for information and library professionals broadens in the information age.

"Every type of organization has discovered that one of its main functions is to gather, organize and disseminate information. As a result, the skills and approaches developed by librarians are becoming applicable in many diverse settings. The convergence of the information professions represented at the school provides the holistic approach to information management that is required to solve today’s information problems."

Marshall teaches topics including managing corporate and other special information centers, health sciences information resources, online information retrieval and research methods. Besides information studies, she holds appointments in Toronto’s health administration department; Centre for Health Promotion; graduate studies school; and Institute for Human Development, Life Course and Aging. She joined the faculty after earning a doctorate in community health at Toronto in 1987. Her dissertation concerned health professionals’ use of online information technology.

Marshall also earned a master’s of health science degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (1978), a master’s in library science from McGill University in Montreal (1968), and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta (1966).

Before joining Toronto’s faculty, Marshall worked for 15 years in academic and health sciences libraries. Her awards have included a Medical Library Association (MLA) doctoral fellowship, MLA Eliot Prizes for the most significant research in medical librarianship for 1982 and 1993, and the Award of Outstanding Achievement from the Canadian Health Libraries Association in 1992.

Dr. Joe Hewitt, director of the Academic Affairs Library and associate provost for university libraries, chaired UNC at Chapel Hill’s search committee to find the new dean.

"Dr. Marshall brings a strong background in technology as well as the traditional aspects of librarianship," he said. "She articulated an innovative yet balanced vision for the school that excited faculty and students alike. We feel very fortunate to have recruited a dean of Dr. Marshall’s caliber to lead the school during a dynamic period of growth and change."