Recruiting for 2012-14 Master's Fellowships - Educating Stewards of the Public Information Infrastructure

October 26, 2011


Manning Hall - University of North Carolina at Chapel HillThe School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is seeking applicants interested in public information curation and public policy for fellowships in the "Educating Stewards of the Public Information Infrastructure" or ESOPIproject. The Fellowships are funded through a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The fellowships are for students enrolled in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Science in Information/Library Science (MSIS/MSLS) dual degree program between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and the School of Government (SOG).

The two-year fellowships offer:

  • A 15 hour per week position as a Fellow in Public Information Stewardship
  • An annual stipend of $16,000
  • In-state tuition and health coverage
  • Opportunities to meet experts in the stewardship of public information via symposia, conferences and workshops

ESOPI² is a collaboration between SILS and SOG and offers internships hosted at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources, Archives and Records Section; UNC at CH's University Archives; the Town of Chapel Hill, NC: the UNC Environmental Finance Center; the North Carolina Orange County CIO's office; NC-LIVE; and the H.W. Odum Institute for Research in the Social Sciences on the UNC at Chapel Hill campus.

Two cohorts of five fellows (ten fellows over the grant period) will each combine coursework with internship assignments in one or more public-sector environments, leading to a dual master's degree in Information Science or Library Science and a Master's degree in Public Administration. Fellowship recipients will have the opportunity to engage in real-world public information projects and receive  mentorship from professionals in various types of government settings.
Applying for the Fellowship
The ESOPI²  Fellowship is provided to Master's level students who are pursuing the dual degree program offered by SILS and the SOG. Acceptance into both programs is a requirement for the award.
Steps for application are:
1. Apply to SILS via the regular admissions process found at: 
Students are encouraged to apply by December 13, 2011 as this ensures consideration of the greatest amount of university funding, but we are accepting applications for admission to SILS up to April 10, 2012.
2. Apply to the SOG via the regular admissions process found on the MPA Admissions page at: Students must apply by January 10, 2012.
3. In addition to the required written statement of your professional goals, please write a separate essay elaborating on how these goals are related to those of ESOPI².  Please see the ESOPI² Web page for more details: E-mail the essay to Dr. Helen Tibbo ( or Dr. Cal Lee ( no later than February 15, 2012. Earlier applications are encouraged.
Please note that we are only able to accept applications from United States citizens.
MSIS/MPA and MSLS/MPA Programs
The stewardship of public information is a fundamental responsibility of a democratic society. Public information serves as evidence of governmental activities, decisions, and responsibilities as well as legal contracts at the city, county, state, and federal levels. Providing appropriate access to public information promotes accountability, the rights of citizens, effective administration of policy, and a continuing memory of our social heritage.  The MSIS/MSLS and MPA dual degree program integrates policy development, issues of legal compliance, and extensive knowledge of government structures and information with principles, values, methods and technologies of the information professions. This dual degree opportunity is designed as a three-year, full time program. 
The 2009-2012 ESOPI Fellows have: 
  •     Created the State of North Carolina Best Practices for Using Social Media policy
  •     Authored an article on eDiscovery software capabilities at NARA
  •     Created a policy document on text messaging policy for the North Carolina State Archives
  •     Revised and developed new online training modules for the University Archives and Records     Management Services (UARMS) at UNC at Chapel Hill
  •     Developed an e-mail policy for the University Archives and Records Management Services at     UNC at Chapel Hill
  •     Advised local and state government energy efficiency and water quality programs on      
        possible financing options and institutional arrangements

ESOPI-2 Fellows and Leaders

2009-2012 ESOPI-21 Fellows and Project Leaders   

Remarks from Current Fellows

“UNC is unique in having a School of Information and Library Science and a School of Government,” said Brooks (Jon) Breece an ESOPI fellow. “This arrangement is fortuitous because of the increased importance placed on access, storage, organization and preservation of information - at all levels of government. We are in an age when technologies are rapidly evolving, and government agencies are attempting to utilize new mediums for documentation and interaction both inside government and with the public." 

"The knowledge I have gained and the opportunities I have been offered as a result of deciding to pursue a dual M.S.L.S and M.P.A. degree are priceless," said Emily Roscoe, one of the ESOPI fellows. "It is among what I consider to be the best decisions of my life.  Through the ESOPI-21 fellowship I have seen the strong interrelatedness of government (most specifically with public officials like the register of deeds) and the library science field.  It has been extremely valuable for me to see all sides of North Carolina State and local public offices -- the functions of government, the roles of both record-keeping and policy-making, and the value of professional advisors at the School of Government."