DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas College of Information has been named to the iCaucus, the executive body of iSchools, a coalition of information schools and colleges at 65 universities in Canada, the U.S. and 20 other nations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Herman L. Totten, dean of the College of Information, said the selection to the iCaucus is very prestigious for the college because caucus members represent the top Tier 1 universities. Other U.S. iCaucus members include Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Syracuse University, the University of California at Berkley, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin.
Membership in the iCaucus, Totten said, positions UNT's College of Information in position to recruit the brightest and best students and faculty from around the world and participate in faculty exchange programs and host faculty from member iSchools who are on sabbaticals.
"It’s a real coup for us," he said.
Formalized in 2005, the iSchools organization is dedicated to advancing the information field in the 21st century by intersecting information, technology and people. The schools, colleges and departments in the organization were newly created or evolved from programs that formerly focused on specific tracks such as information technology, library science, informatics and information science, and now promote an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the opportunities and challenges of information management, including universal access and user-centered organization of information.
UNT's College of Information joined iSchools in 2009.
The iCaucus formed from six of the iSchools' original members and now includes 25 iSchool members. Criteria for caucus membership includes having a minimum of $1 million in research expenditures per year, annually graduating a minimum of five doctoral students per year and offering "a full array of academic programs that address the field of information," Totten said.
The iCaucus meets every spring to develop curriculum guides and grant programs for iSchool members, and to add new members. It also helps to organize the annual iConference, in which information scholars, researchers, professionals and students share their insights on critical information issues and present papers, posters and conference sessions on a variety of interdisciplinary subjects. The conference is open to those not affiliated with an iSchool member.
The College of Information was selected to host the 2013 iConference in Fort Worth — the only non-iCaucus member and the only Texas institution to host the conference. Totten said that conference gave the college an edge over other institutions for a place on the iCaucus.