iSchool Faculty and Staff Recognized for Commitment, Contributions


San José State University School of Information faculty and staff members were recently recognized by iSchool Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh with awards for their contributions to the school.

iSchool faculty and staff members at the awards reception on Feb. 26, 2018.

The Outstanding Professor Award was given to Dr. Virginia Tucker for her teaching excellence and dedication to students. Hirsh said Tucker was selected for the award because she consistently receives “extremely high” Student Opinion of Teaching Effectiveness (SOTES) scores. Hirsh said Tucker has also developed new courses, including one in the much needed subject of information architecture, and worked with Professor Emerita Dr. Judith Weedman to design much of the curriculum for INFO 202 Information Retrieval System Design.

Dr. Kristen Rebmann was given the Distinguished Scholar Award for engaging in active research and grant funding (both qualitative and quantitative) while teaching. She has secured a significant Institute of Museum and Library Services grant on TV Whitespaces that will result in practical value to library users. She also functions as the chair for the iSchool’s Diversity Committee, in addition to leading the first level Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Committee.

Dr. Cheryl Dee received the Distinguished Service (Faculty) Award for her extraordinary dedication to the iSchool’s mission by enriching the lives of students and instructors, in addition to exemplary service in a leadership capacity. Dee was given noteworthy support from students, with many from the Special Libraries Association Student Chapter, where she functions as the faculty adviser.

Sharing the Distinguished Service (Staff) Award, Online Student Adviser Sheila Gurtu and Learning Management System Services Coordinator Alfredo Alcantar were recognized for their exemplary dedication and service to the iSchool.

“Sheila does a phenomenal job with outreach to applicants and current students. She tirelessly works contacting incoming students and helping them get started in the program. She goes above and beyond her duties by representing our school at recruitment events,” Hirsh remarked.

According to Hirsh, Alcantar has shown “amazing” leadership through the conversion from Collaborate to the Zoom platform and has developed “excellent” training materials for both Zoom and Canvas. His patience is also remarkable and much appreciated as he provides technology support to students and faculty members.  

Beth Wrenn-Estes was awarded Outstanding Lecturer for achieving widespread recognition based on the quality of excellence in teaching, scholarship, performances, and service to the iSchool. Wrenn-Estes’ course on early learning in public libraries is among the first in the country that focuses on the issues of child development and family engagement.

During the awards ceremony, Hirsh read a statement shared by Suzanne Flint, library programs consultant at the California State Library: “Beth has worked tirelessly to ensure that the SJSU library school curriculum remains relevant to the changing needs of students and responsive to the library field at large. I’ve been honored to work with the Beth over the past year in developing an online course focused on early learning in public libraries. Her early learning course is helping to better prepare her students for the future.”

The Outstanding Teacher award was given to Raymond Dean for consistently receiving high recognition from students based on the quality of excellence in teaching. Dean is an alumnus of the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program and teaches INFO 240 Information Technology Tools and Applications.

Dr. Chris Hagar received the Faculty Excellence Award for Outreach and Collaboration for her outstanding contributions to developing external relationships that benefit the iSchool’s teaching, learning, and research community. Hagar is a crisis informatics adviser for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mission-Related Education Grant.

“Chris’ collaborations have exposed students to diverse work environments and provided students with opportunities to participate in virtual internships at Health Information For All; full-time professional employment with the Disaster Information Management Research Center at the National Library of Medicine; and executive roles in the Standby Task Force, among others,” Hirsh said.

Candidates are nominated by fellow faculty and staff members and by self-nomination. This year’s faculty and staff awards reception was held Feb. 26 on the SJSU campus at the Diaz Compean Student Union. Congratulations to all the 2018 faculty and staff award recipients!