We, the undersigned, are writing out of concern for the proposed consolidation of the Information School. As an important part of the UW community, the Information School continues to be a leader in academic excellence within the field of Information Sciences, Information Management, and Library Sciences, as well as continuing to grow and excel within our respective fields at a very healthy rate. We, the undersigned, want to ensure that the UW administration are well aware of the amazing contributions that the Information School provides to the overall UW community:
1. The number of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) graduates within the Information School is expected to grow from 300 to 500 students within the next two years. Washington state is #4 in the country in terms of high-tech companies, yet we rank 46th in STEM graduates. We need to look to increase our number of STEM graduates in order to fulfill demand, not to make cuts in the program.
2. This past February the Information School held the biggest and most successful iConference within its six year history. The conference showcased UW iSchool's talent in the areas of Information Security, e-Government, Health Informatics, Human Computer Interaction, Information Management, and Library Sciences.
3. The Information School research and scholarship activity is world class. In 2010, the UW iSchool received $6.75 million in grants and contract awards, which represents a steady increase in total awards received between 2003 to 2011.
4. The iSchool fosters a passionate and devoted group of alumni. Last year, 15.17% of iSchool alumni gave to the UW. Our participation rate is second on the UW campus to Dentistry and Pharmacy (which are both tied at 16.04%).
5. The Information School's award winning Librarian graduates go on to fulfill vital roles within our communities. A recent US research study has revealed that over 77 million people in the United States rely on services provided by the library system. Whether it is to find a employment or government services, the library system is an essential part of our society.
The information above is only a glimpse of the positive contributions the Information School has made during its existence. We hope the information provided will help persuade and change your minds. We believe that the Information School provides a unique experience and value to the UW student body. Consolidating our school would rob future students of the valuable opportunity of a rich and fulfilling educational experience from the Information School.