SJSU and QUT Celebrate the 23rd Graduate of the Gateway PhD Program
Stephen Abrams Earns Doctorate

Dr. Stephen Abrams

Dr. Stephen Abrams is the 23rd individual to earn his PhD from Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The Gateway PhD program offered a doctorate through a partnership between the San José State University School of Information and Queensland University of Technology from 2008 to 2021.

Abrams started the Gateway PhD program in 2016. He was initially drawn to the international doctoral program because of its “online, part-time nature of the program.” As a resident of the city of Berkeley, California, Abrams believed the “proximity to San José was an extra bonus, as it simplified participation in the annual residencies and provided face-to-face access to my SJSU advisor.”

His dissertation, “A Communicological Critique of Evaluative Norms for Digital Preservation Success,” focuses on finding new ways to evaluate the “the adequacy of existing measures of success for the long-term preservation.” While conducting his research, Abrams says he felt “frustrated” that there were not qualitative measures in this field of study. “I wanted to advance scholarly and practitioner thinking in this area in a comprehensive and compelling way, and I thought that doing so in the context of doctoral research was the best way to achieve that,” Abrams explains.

Although challenging at times, Abrams never felt alone in his academic journey. “The Gateway program itself was the source of constant encouragement and suggestions on how to proceed effectively and efficiently,” Abrams affirms.

He also received helpful guidance from his supervisor, Dr. Anthony Bernier. “As his SJSU supervisor, supporting the development of Dr. Abram’s work has given me tremendous professional and personal gratitude,” Bernier states.

Abrams is currently the head of Harvard Library’s digital preservation program and is “putting into practice many of the philosophical and conceptual ideas explored in [his] thesis.” He believes earning a PhD has given him a “fuller professional career.”

For individuals thinking about going the PhD route, Abrams recommends they “think carefully about it, being clear-eyed about the intense physical, intellectual, and social demands it will make, but also recognizing the significant personal and professional benefits and gratification that will come at the end.”

The Gateway PhD program is currently offered through a partnership between the SJSU School of Information and Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England. Post-graduate researchers have the opportunity to earn a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Library and Information Management without the need to relocate to England.