On Sept. 1, Texas iSchool Professor Randolph Bias assumed the role of interim dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Information.
A pioneer of the user experience field, Dean Bias spent two decades in private industry before joining the School of Information in 2003. This summer, the international User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) honored him with its lifetime achievement award.
Dean Bias has determined three "interleaved, high-level goals" for the iSchool:
- to help maintain the vibrant, creative, collaborative, safe, inclusive, open-minded, learning and research environment that is the iSchool;
- to help facilitate a smooth transition to “that lucky new dean, whoever that shall be;”
- to sustain and grow the school’s reputation as a leader in the iSchool movement in particular, and in information studies research and pedagogy in general.
The iSchool is in the process of searching for a permanent dean. In the meantime, the continued success of the school will require a shared vision, good communication and a certain amount of compromise, he said.
“I welcome your input, your creative ideas and your mid-course corrections as we all work together to help our students toward inspired and inspiring careers, help our staff engage in rewarding work, help our faculty excel at research and teaching, help our alumni be proud of what they’ve left behind, and help understand and steer the greater world of interplay between humans and information,” Dean Bias told members of the iSchool community.
He succeeds Dr. Andrew Dillon, who served the iSchool as dean for 15 years.
“I thank Andrew, and Provost McInnis, for having the faith in me, and I will hold Andrew’s unmistakable dedication to the iSchool, and his leadership style and verve, as my explicit guides,” Dean Bias said. “Plus he knows that I shall keep him on speed-dial.”
“I assume this new post with almost equal parts humility and pride, enthusiasm and tremulousness,” he continued. “It stays at the front of my mind, that I have the (shared!) responsibility for sustaining the fifth-ranked iSchool in the nation. I’m like the lumbering lineman who, having thrown one of many blocks, is running alongside the star quarterback as he is about to complete a stunning run. And then, with just 10 yards to go, I am handed to ball to get to make the score myself. Wouldn’t it be a shame to trip, now?! Of course, 2018, and the hiring of a new iSchool dean, is not 'the goal line'–it is just the next major landmark in the 70-year evolution of our school. But as I am handed this 'ball' I receive it with all the attention, energy, and talent I can possibly muster, to keep it, and us, moving forward.”
Dean Dillon said he is delighted that Dr. Bias has agreed to take on the interim role, and he knows the school is in safe hands. Following a year of sabbatical, Dean Dillon has announced he will return to the faculty of the School of Information in Fall 2018.