Research Expertise

Queensland University of Technology logo

One of the many benefits of the San José Gateway PhD program is its research-focused model. The international program follows the Queensland University of Technology program model (European doctorate model) that emphasizes student research and reading from day one. The PhD candidate's research must reveal high critical ability and powers of imagination and synthesis and may be in the form of new knowledge or significant and original adaptation, application and interpretation of existing knowledge. Prospective doctoral students are highly encouraged to start thinking early about their research interests. 

Research Areas

The San José State University faculty specialize in the following research areas:

  • Archives and Records Administration
  • Big data
  • Information Retrieval
  • Information Systems and Technologies
  • Information Use
  • Education for Library and Information Science
  • Management and Leadership
  • Youth Services

Additionally, Queensland University of Technology faculty specialize in the following research areas of expertise:

  • Information use (especially, information literacy and human-information interaction)
  • Information and learning
  • Social media
  • Community and workplace information engagement

Faculty Specializations

As you ponder your initial research question, we encourage you to read the biographies and research profiles of the faculty members who specialize in your area of interest. The San José State University faculty supervise the students’ research and provide one-on-one mentoring. 


Anthony Bernier, Professor—AB (UC–Berkeley), MLIS (UC–Berkeley), MA (UC–Irvine), PhD (UC–Irvine). Doctoral supervision: information use; youth services. Specific focus: public libraries; critical youth studies; library design and architecture. [See Research Profile.]

Bill Fisher, Professor—BA (Arkansas), MA (Arkansas), MLIS (SUNY at Geneseo), PhD (Southern California). Doctoral supervision: management and leadership; education for LIS. Specific focus: information agencies in corporate settings; curricular issues in LIS. [See Research Profile.]

Pat Franks, Associate Professor—BS (Bloomsburg), MASS (Binghamton), PhD (Capella). Doctoral supervision: archives and records administration; information systems and technologies; management and leadership. Specific focus: archives and records centers; electronic documents; metadata and semantic web; records management. [See Research Profile.]

Debra Hansen, Professor—BA (CSU–Fullerton), MA (CSU–Fullerton), MLIS (UCLA), PhD (UC–Irvine). Doctoral supervision: archives and records administration. Specific focus: oral history; intersections of feminization and professionalization in LIS; history of libraries and librarianship. [See Research Profile.]

Sandy Hirsh, Professor—BS (UCLA), MLIS (University of Michigan), PhD (UCLA). Doctoral supervision: information use; information systems & technologies; information retrieval. Specific focus: information seeking and use in corporate and library settings; global user studies of information and technology use; online learning. [See Research Profile.]

Geoffrey Liu, Professor—BA (Wuhan), MA (Wuhan), PhD (Hawaii at Manoa). Doctoral supervision: information retrieval; information systems and technologies. Specific focus: natural language processing; virtual communities; data mining. [See Research Profile.]

Ziming Liu, Professor—MS (Zhongshan), PhD (UC–Berkeley). Doctoral supervision: information use. Specific focus: user behaviors in the digital environment. [See Research Profile.]

Associate Professors

Lili Luo, Associate Professor—BA (Peking), Master (Peking), PhD (UNC–Chapel Hill). Doctoral supervision: information use. Specific focus: Education for reference librarianship; Adoption of new technologies in reference service provision; Information seeking behavior in the digital environment. [See Research Profile.]

Kristen Radsliff Rebmann, Associate Professor—BS (Saint Joseph College), MLIS (San José), PhD (UC–San Diego). Doctoral supervision: information retrieval; information use. youth services. Specific focus: interventions to support critical multiliteracies among children participating in community–based informal learning environments; relationships between information behavior and human development. [See Research Profile.]

Assistant Professors

Michelle Chen, Assistant Professor—BS (National Taiwan University), MS Computer Science and Information Engineering (National Taiwan University), PhD (University of Texas at Austin). Doctoral supervision: Big data mining and visualization, online social network analysis. [See Research Profile.]

Christine Hagar, Assistant Professor—BA (University of Northumbria, UK), MA  History of Science & Technology (University of Northumbria, UK), PhD (University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign). Doctoral supervision: crisis/disaster information management. Specific focus: information needs and seeking in crises/disasters, using ICT in crises/disasters, roles for libraries in crises/disasters. [See Research Profile.]

Mary Ann Harlan, Assistant Professor—BA (University of California, Santa Cruz), MLIS (SJSU), PhD (Queensland University of Technology). Doctoral Supervision: information use, youth services.  Specific focus: information use and learning, youth information practices in digital communities. [See Research Profile.]

Virginia Tucker, Lecturer—BA (Stanford University), MLS (University of California at Berkeley), PhD (Queensland University of Technology). Doctoral Supervision: information retrieval, search experiences, online learning.  Specific focus: [See Research Profile.]


Sue Alman, Lecturer—BA (Washington & Jefferson College), MLS. (University of Pittsburgh), PhD (University of Pittsburgh). [See Research Profile.]

Mary Bolin, Lecturer—BA (University of Nebraska—Lincoln), MSLS (University of Kentucky), MA (University of Idaho), PhD (University of Nebraska). Doctoral supervision: Academic libraries. Specific focus: Organization, Administration, User Experience, Discovery. [See Research Profile.]

Cheryl Stenström, Lecturer—BA (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada), MLIS (University of British Columbia), PhD (Queensland University of Technology). Doctoral Supervision: influence, management, public libraries.  Specific focus: influence and decision making, library funding, advocacy. [See Research Profile.]


If you'd like to discuss your research interests with our faculty prior to applying, we offer individual consultations. Please fill out the San José Gateway PhD Information Request Form, and we will contact you.