Simmons Wins 2022 ASIS&T Student Chapter of the Year
For the third consecutive year, Simmons University's Student Chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) received the Student Chapter of the Year award from ASIS&T. Remarkably, the student chapter has now received this recognition twelve times since the year 2000.
"ASIS&T has 85 years of history," says SLIS Associate Professor Kyong Eun Oh, Faculty Advisor to the student chapter since 2016. "There are thousands of researchers, practitioners, students, and professors in the field of information science and technology from fifty countries around the world who are members of ASIS&T. This is one of the primary associations for specialists in our field."
This mission of ASIS&T is to advance research and practice in the field of information science and technology. The organization embodies the global voice of the field while embracing the values of interdisciplinarity, lifelong learning, community, and equity, diversity, and inclusion.
"ASIS&T is one of the premier associations for library and information science," adds SLIS Professor Rong Tang, who became Faculty Co-Advisor of the student chapter in 2020. "ASIS&T is very well known for its innovative approaches to information science and technology."
ASIS&T publishes a top ranked journal, JASIST (Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology), as well as other publications. There is also an annual ASIS&T conference, in which many Simmons faculty and students participate. At the most recent conference, SLIS faculty members presented work co-authored with graduate students; Tang and two SLIS graduate students presented their research on the visibility of DEI, social justice, and accessibility efforts on 28 LIS association's websites.
The ASIS&T student chapter is open to all SLIS students, who are invited to sign up via the ASIS&T listserv. Recently, SLIS has become an institutional member of ASIS&T, which allows an unlimited number of SLIS masters' students to become student members without having to pay a membership fee.
Being a member of Simmons ASIS&T greatly enhances the student learning and professional experience. "This is a great experience for students to enhance their leadership and networking skills," says Oh. "Our events engage alumnae/i and current faculty members as well."
As Faculty Co-Advisors, Oh and Tang are heavily involved in planning and organizing activities and events with the student officers. They are especially instrumental in helping students procure guest speakers for their events. "We have monthly events, so there are usually 8-10 events in a single academic year, and we try to balance social and professional events," explains Oh. "We therefore provide a variety of events and activities that can be fun and useful for the students." SLIS students can find out about upcoming events on the student chapter blog.
The student chapter hosts a variety of social activities, both virtual and in person, including an open house, tea time, and a pet parade. These types of events foster networking and socialization.
Other Simmons ASIS&T events are designed to cultivate professionalization, including themed events focused on design justice and equity. They have also held a technology and library session during which alumnae/i and doctoral students share their experience with technology challenges in public and academic libraries.
One especially popular Simmons ASIS&T event is the Career Panel, which features graduates of SLIS who hold technology-oriented jobs. These alums help current students understand how you can transfer the skills you learned at SLIS into an exciting career. "We have students who have graduated from Simmons who have ended up in a multitude of fascinating positions," says Tang. The panelists also discuss the development of soft skills such as communication, relationship-building, and collaboration. At the Career Panel, students receive advice about applying for jobs, including building a resume and preparing for an interview.
The student chapter has a partnership with the regional chapter called NEASIS&T (Northeast ASIS&T), and together they organize joint events. In March 2022, the Simmons ASIS&T and NEASIS&T co-organized a conference, "With Great Power: AI and Equity," which examined the equity considerations when creating and deploying artificial intelligence.
For Tang, one of the reasons the Simmons student chapter has received so many awards is because of its phenomenal student officers. "They are very committed, organized and forward looking."
According to Oh, "We are so successful because of our collaboration and our community. This is a very engaging community, and there is strong collaboration between faculty, students and alumnae/i. This is definitely one of the key factors to our success."
The student chapter's outstanding performance is also a direct reflection of SLIS. "SLIS is a fascinating place with a vibrant community," says Tang. "We have excellent students and top-notch faculty members doing innovative research. This can help students uncover unconventional practices that still keep the essence of what our profession is about. Students are not afraid to embrace emergent technologies and they are remarkably creative and forward-looking. They are the future of our field."