Dr. Butler Becomes 20th Individual to Earn a PhD through International Partnership


Walter ButlerDr. Walter Butler is one of the few remaining individuals to have his doctorate conferred by Queensland University of Technology, the founding partner university of the Gateway PhD program. The partnership between the San José State University School of Information and the Queensland University of Technology lasted from 2008 to 2021. In March 2022, he became the 20th individual to graduate from the Gateway PhD program.

Butler’s dissertation is titled, “How community college librarians are creating value through an OER virtual community of practice: A netnography,” and focused on the educational efforts of community college librarians and the opportunities they create. Butler worked on his dissertation with Dr. Bill Fisher as his SJSU supervisor.

“Walter’s research is one of the first to look at the impact of Open Educational Resources (OER) on the LIS field, specifically its impact on community colleges,” said Fisher regarding Butler’s dissertation. Butler is also considered one of the first to “use netnography as a research approach in the LIS arena,” according to Fisher. 

Butler states he is “thankful” and that “the journey was definitely arduous, but all of the support from my advisory team and peers given at every step provided the necessary framework for success.” Butler is currently serving as a library chair at Pasadena City College and has held that position since 2020. In addition to serving as chair, he oversees acquisitions and technical services, teaches in the library technician certificate program, and coordinates Pasadena City College’s OER efforts.

The Gateway PhD program is currently being offered in a partnership between the SJSU School of Information and Manchester Metropolitan University. Students can earn a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Library and Information Management from Manchester Metropolitan University without having to relocate to England. The PhD program is expected to last six years and allows flexibility for students to complete their doctorate on a schedule that works for them.