Distinguished Professor Judith Weedman Retires: Faculty Members Reflect on Her Career


When asked about the retirement of their colleague Dr. Judith Weedman from the San José State University (SJSU) School of Library and Information Science, one thing that came up over and over again is that Weedman has made a noteworthy contribution to the SJSU information school’s reputation and pedagogy. With her retirement now official, the school says good-bye to a valued scholar and instructor who has always been passionate about teaching and learning.

According to Dr. Sandra Hirsh, director of the SJSU information school, Weedman’s scholarly work is impressive and crosses disciplinary boundaries. Hirsh said, “She has studied communication patterns of scholars, the use of electronic media for professional socialization, interdisciplinary collaboration in large scale research projects, and the design of vocabularies for information retrieval.” Weedman has published her work in academic journals in various disciplines, including information science, communication, and computer science.

Weedman starting teaching at the SJSU information school in 1995, at the same time as her colleague Dr. Debra Hansen joined the school’s distinguished faculty. Hansen said that in addition to conducting her own research and guiding other faculty members through the tenure process, Weedman was also very supportive of student scholarship. Hansen explained, “Among the most important and enjoyable activities that we did together was working on student thesis committees. Judy had such wide ranging interests that I could always count on her to help me with student theses dealing with library history. She served on many thesis committees, greatly enhancing the school’s scholarly output and reputation.”

Dr. Virginia Tucker was one of the San José Gateway PhD program doctoral students fortunate to have Weedman as an advisor. “As I progressed through the program, I realized how my understanding of what a truly exceptional advisor is deepened at the same time my understanding grew for my own research…The journey was an adventure of a lifetime,” said Tucker.

Weedman’s work with the core class LIBR 202 Information Retrieval System Design is also regarded as one of her most important contributions to the SJSU information school. Weedman was interested in working on the revision of the course because, in her opinion, “information retrieval is one of the most fascinating areas of our field, because it involves representing things with language. Philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and a host of other disciplines come into play.” Tucker is taking over as LIBR 202 coordinator and is grateful for Weedman’s contributions on the LIBR 202 curriculum, which she said has been both creative and intellectually stimulating. “Within the community of our faculty, her contributions will be missed immensely; she has a gift for asking the questions that need asking,” said Tucker. 

Looking back on her time as a faculty member at the SJSU information school, Weedman said, “It’s the learning and the teaching that stand out. Doing original research is one way of learning new things, and teaching is another way. Our students are wonderful, intelligent, highly motivated people, and I have learned both from them and from preparing classes for them.” 

In her retirement, Weedman plans to spend more time traveling in the West, riding her horse, and hiking. She has not given up more scholarly activities, however, since, “there are still so many things I want to learn!” In particular, Weedman plans to do a lot of reading in the areas of philosophy and ethology.

The faculty and staff of the SJSU information school, along with students, alumni, friends, and colleagues, congratulate Weedman on her retirement.