Faculty members and students of the international San José Gateway PhD program recently met up for the annual residency and welcomed two new doctoral students to the research community.
The annual residency was held on the San José State University campus from July 31 through Aug. 4. According to the program’s Associate Coordinator Dr. Virginia Tucker, 16 students and 15 faculty members participated, including Professor Dr. Christine Bruce and Dr. Ellie Sayyad Abdi from Queensland University of Technology, which is partnered with the San José State University School of Information in offering the primarily online PhD program.
Dr. Cheryl Stenström, a lecturer in the SJSU iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science program, was also honored for her service and leadership as assistant coordinator of the San José Gateway PhD program since 2013.
The purpose of the annual residency is to give attendees an opportunity to communicate face to face, to establish the groundwork for the online meetings that take place throughout the year, and to showcase new student work and progress.
Walter Butler and Jennine Knight are the newest students to join the doctoral program. Butler works as the acquisitions librarian for Pasadena City College, and Knight is the library administration and planning librarian at the Sidney Martin Library, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
Butler’s research will examine how open educational resource textbooks and their online communities are affecting academic library management. He said he is hoping the San José Gateway PhD program will energize him to continue looking at more questions when he’s finished.
“It feels great to be a part of the Gateway program. I’m really excited to learn more and grow, not just as a researcher but to really take advantage of the program and engage and challenge myself,” he said.
Butler, who will be supervised by Dr. Bill Fisher (SJSU) and Dr. Jason Watson (QUT), said meeting others in the program was important, and he was inspired and comforted to hear from other students about their research and experiences so far.
“Those conversations really assisted in putting aside nerves and fears, and then those doubting thoughts of ‘what did I get myself into?’ really became silent during the residency. Also, to be able to witness the support and energy that the group provides to each other during presentations and accomplishments was also fantastic,” he said.
Knight’s faculty advisors are Fisher and Dr. Sharmistha Dey (QUT). Her thesis, “The necessity for academic libraries to become strategic business partners: The case of the University of the West Indies,” draws from her 18 years of work experience in libraries—nine years at a special library and nine years in an academic library.
“Through the program, I know that I will strengthen my research, writing and presentation skills,” Knight said. “In addition, there is the opportunity to meet and network with colleagues. By doing this program my knowledge of libraries and librarianship will remain current. During the residency, I enjoyed the community spirit, and the atmosphere was quite relaxed.”
The San José Gateway PhD program will hold an online open house on Oct. 26 for interested candidates. The application deadline is early January 2018 for an August 2018 start, and an overview of the application process is available on the iSchool website. Additional information about the part-time PhD program can be obtained by filling out an information request form.