This week I attended the annual conference of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), where the keynote address was given by Jorge Reina Schement, Dean of the School of Communication & Information, at Rutgers University. The address was excellent, but what stuck with me most was one of Schement’s closing statements, that “we need to become public scholars and contribute to the great intellectual debates of our time.”
I am a firm believer in the critical role public scholarship must play in any scholar’s repertoire, and especially those interested in addressing and influencing policy and social justice. And, I have been shown the power of public scholarship first-hand by those who I’ve been lucky to call my teachers, mentors and friends, such as Neil Postman, Siva Vaidhyanathan, and Jack Balkin, just to name a few.
In an attempt to instill the importance of public scholarship on my own PhD students, I included a public scholarship assignment in the Information Policy Seminar I recently taught. The results were excellent, and took the form of op-eds, open letters, and blog posts critically addressing a range of current topics in information policy.
Four of my students gave me permission to repost their assignments on my blog, which I will release separately. They include:
- “Avoiding getting burned by FireSheep”, by Nick Proferes
- “Google Book Search – The Decision Not to Digitize”, by Jeremy Mauger
- “Internet Neutrality Principles Should Apply to Wireless Providers”, by Liza Barry-Kessler; and
- A 3-part series: “Asserting Rights Online”, by Anthony Hoffmann
Please feel free to comment on their work.