UK SIS Welcomes Nine New Faculty

The School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky is pleased to announce the addition of nine new faculty members for the 2017-2018 academic year. The new hires include three tenure-track faculty based primarily in the Information Communication Technology Program, one new visiting faculty member in the Library and Information Science program, and five faculty lecturers in its Instructional Communication and Research division.

"The School is pleased to welcome our new additions to its faculty. Each new faculty member brings expertise that compliments existing strengths of the School,” said Jeff Huber, director and professor of the UK School of Information Science.

Information Communication Technology Program

Fatima Espinoza Vasquez, Assistant Professor, will teach a social sciences course that demonstrates how emerging technologies have led to the development of ICT as a discipline, and its applications in the workplace and personal contexts.

Vasquez said, “I enjoy helping them [students] frame and solve problems using theoretical and technological tools. I enjoy watching their intellectual evolution throughout the semester. Students never cease to surprise me with their ingenuity.”

She joins the School from Syracuse University where she taught courses on information based organizations. She is a former visiting scholar at the University of Connecticut’s El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies. Her core research agenda focuses on ICT’s, social movements, and Latin American political participation. Vasquez earned her Ph.D. in Information Science and Technology from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and a M.S. in Information Management with a specialization in Project Management.

“Being a new faculty member, I am looking forward to meeting the UK students,” said Vasquez.

Bryce Newell, Assistant Professor, will teach a new course in cybercrime and digital law enforcement this semester, focused on types of current cybercrimes, how the justice system responds to these crimes, constitutional protections afforded to computer users, and law and policies that govern cybercrime detection and prosecution.

“I enjoy seeing my students improve and demonstrate their critical thinking, research, and analysis skills in the process of acquiring knowledge about the world around them and developing informed and logically- and empirically-defensible positions about issues of information and technology policy,” said Newell. “I am looking forward to getting to know and working with the students in the ICT programs at UK and to start building connections and research collaborations with other faculty and graduate students in the iSchool and elsewhere across campus.”

Newell comes to the Kentucky from the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT), at Tilburg University Law School in The Netherlands where he taught courses in technology policy and regulation. His scholarly interests include ICT law and policy, technology regulation, surveillance, privacy, access to information, policing, immigration, and information ethics. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Information Science from the University of Washington, his J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law, and is a former Google Policy Fellow.

Nicholas Proferes, Assistant Professor, will teach a course on issues in information communication technology policy, emphasizing the legal, political, and ethical issues confronting today’s information professionals, in addition to the subsequent impact of these issues on ICT policy and law development.

“One of my favorite things about teaching is that students often bring a wide array of backgrounds and life experiences into the classroom, and it can create a really rich environment for learning,” said Proferes. “For example, we might be discussing an issue like privacy on social media, or the digital divide, or intellectual property and a student will share this set of experiences that’s totally different from those of their colleagues. That moment of co-learning—of getting exposure to different perspectives or backgrounds or work-environments they’ve been in—is a critical component of broadening one’s understanding of a particular topic.”

He previously taught information policy courses at the University of Maryland iSchool where he was also a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Ethics and Values in Design (EViD) Lab. Proferes’ research focuses on how users understand information platforms like social media, and the policy and ethics issues that stem from them.

“I’m looking forward to making new connections across the campus, starting a few new research projects on user perspectives and experiences with algorithms, and teaching my ICT 205 Issues in Information and Communication Technology Policy course,” said Proferes. “I’ve also heard that fall in Lexington is amazing, so I’m looking forward to that as well.”

He received his Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, and he received his M.A. in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University.

Library Science Program

Robert Shapiro, Visiting Assistant Professor, will teach a required course on information organization where students learn fundamental principles and practices that facilitate access and retrieval.

“I think the most rewarding thing about teaching is getting the opportunity to expose students to new ideas, and expand their horizons. The most enjoyable thing about teaching though is getting the opportunity to learn from them and expand my own horizons,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro is a graduate of the School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky where he received his M.A. in Library Science. Shapiro previously served as Assistant Director for Research, Education, and Clinical Services at the Chandler Medical Center Library at the university. He is formerly a public health librarian and academic liaison to the College of Public Health for the medical center as well. His research interests include health literacy, health information seeking, and information access.

When asked what he was looking forward to this semester, Shapiro said, “The energy around campus – and online! – at the beginning of each fall semester is incredible. There’s really nothing like it.”

Instructional Communication and Research Program

Kody Frey, Faculty Lecturer will teach CIS 110: Composition and Communication I this fall, which is an introductory course in a two-course sequence designed to engage students in composing and communicating ideas using speech, writing, and visuals. Frey is a doctoral student in the Communication program at the University of Kentucky.

Amanda Lawrence, Faculty Lecturer will teach CIS 300: Strategic Business and Professional Communication, an intensive course that prepares students for their careers by developing effective communication skills applied specifically to today’s technology-driven and global business environment. Lawrence is also a doctoral student in the Communication program at the university.

Katie Morrissey, Faculty Lecturer will teach CIS 112, an accelerated composition and communication course that focuses on integrated oral, written, and visual communication skill development and emphasizes critical inquiry and research.

Rachel Steckler, Faculty Lecturer will teach CIS 110 this fall. Steckler earned her Master’s degree in Communication in 2012. In the past, she has taught a variety of communication courses for the college as a part-time instructor.

Fallon Watson, Faculty Lecturer will teach CIS 110. Her research interests are in interpreivist studies exploring nonverbal communication, interpersonal communication, campus culture, and popular culture. 

About the School of Information Science

The School of Library and Information Science in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky became the School of Information Science on July 1, 2015. The name change follows the expansion of programs at the School (both at the graduate and undergraduate level) and the increasing diversity of professions in the information field. The Instructional Communication and Research program became a part of the school in 2013, and the Information Communication Technology program debuted in 2014. The School offers a M.S. in Library Science, School Library Certification, M.S. in Information Communication Technology, B.A./B.S. in Information Communication Technology with a new online track option in information studies, and an undergraduate minor in Information Studies