SLIS Faculty at the Simmons Academic Homecoming Celebration

September 24, 2015

Academic Homecoming

SLIS Faculty Participate in Panels on Growing Global Citizens, Social Justice, and Women in STEM Fields

The Simmons Academic Homecoming Celebration was held on Friday, September 11, and SLIS faculty and staff played a major role. Assistant Professor Janet Ceja, Dean and Professor Emerita Michele Cloonan and Professor and Director Cathie Mercier participated in the panel "Growing Global Citizens," in which faculty presented global initiatives featured in the curriculum and faculty research that promote connectivity to the wider world and provide students with an international perspective.

Dean Abels participated in a "Social Justice" panel with Assistant Dean for Student and Alumni Affairs Em Claire Knowles and Assistant Professor Laura Saunders, addressing issues of social and racial injustice, institutional discrimination, and systemic poverty. SLIS faculty and staff shifted focus from information sources to the population LIS professionals serve, and how certain practices in the profession might reflect structural racism or sexism inherent in our society. This included an an overview of how the field of library and information science is engaging in critical reflection to improve practices, and exploring the specific ways in which the SLIS curriculum is moving to integrate critical reflection and social justice topics.

Assistant Professor Amber Stubbs participated in "The Mystery of the Disappearing Woman: Keeping Women and Girls in the STEM Pipeline." Even though high schoolers of both genders perform equally well in math and science, only 18 percent of bachelor’s degrees in engineering and computer science are earned by women. What happens to girls and women who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)? At what points in the STEM pipeline do women leave STEM fields, and why? Each of the panelists shared how Simmons helps encourage women to take STEM classes and to stay in the STEM field. Prof. Stubbs spoke about her own journey, starting as a freshman English major to become a faculty member with a PhD in Computer Science, and how Simmons helped her on that path.