April 11, 2012

Bruce reappointed iSchool dean, plans to increase students, faculty, industrial partnerships

Reappointed for a second five-year term as dean, Harry Bruce plans to add faculty to the UW Information School and hopes to increase enrollment by more than 35 percent. He also aims to increase industrial partnerships.

Harry Bruce

Harry Bruce

The university is fortunate to have Bruces leadership, said Provost Ana Mari Cauce, “and I look forward to working with him in coming years.”

Bruce plans to grow enrollment from 725 graduate and undergraduate students to 1,000 in the next several years. He also aims to double the number of undergraduate women in informatics from the current 49 by the fall of 2015.

Last fall, the iSchool reported 34 full-time and six part-time faculty members. Bruce is hiring three new faculty members for next September, two specializing in information management, one in digital youth. The latter addresses young people’s novel use of digital media, and how that affects the way such people are taught and integrated into the workforce. Bruce said information management and digital youth, as well as information assurance and cybersecurity, are of particular interest to the iSchool because of demand for experts.

Bruce also aims to double the iSchools 50 partnerships with industry. The first meeting of iAffiliates, scheduled for April 20, will bring iSchool faculty, students and research staff together with community partners to brainstorm new collaborations.

“Weve really established the UW Information School as a national and international leader. Weve moved from a start-up to a fully-fledged presence,” Bruce said. The iSchool is much better known in the information and technology community and better recognized on campus, he said.

But disappointments include “disinvestment by the state, particularly in the UW,” Bruce said.

Among other things, thats meant the iSchool was short-listed for possible consolidation if the university budget suffered draconian cuts. Consolidation didn’t happen, but the school had to give up plans for a move to Lewis Hall, which would have eased crowding.

Bruce, like other UW administrators, is tired of constant conversation about money and budgets. He hadnt expected the extent to which budget cuts would dominate.

In his first six years, Bruce said, hes understood more deeply “the importance of being yourself in your leadership role.” As to what he expected compared to the way the jobs played out, he said: “No one can really expect the extent to which your working life takes over. The time commitment to being an effective academic leader is phenomenal.”

He cited the importance of trust and loyalty, and of clear and regular communication. “Ive also realized how much I depend upon people, and how dependable people can be.”