Dr. Harper Named New Director of iSchool

Meghan Harper, Ph.D., became the new director of Kent State University’s School of Information (iSchool), effective July 1, 2021.

Harper acted as interim director for the iSchool over the past academic year, a year of great uncertainty and uncharted waters due to the pandemic. “Dr. Harper provided exemplary leadership and service to the iSchool this past year, made exponentially more complicated and challenging by the pandemic. She is kind, thoughtful and a collaborative colleague who is an effective advocate for the School’s programs, faculty, staff and students,” Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information, said.  “Along with her impressive academic record,  she brings previous administrative experience and strong institutional knowledge to this important position. I am excited for the future of the iSchool under Dr. Harper’s leadership.” 

Prior to joining Kent State, Harper held administrative positions in K-12 public schools. Since joining the faculty in 2001, Harper led the school library media concentration, and was the MLIS graduate coordinator for the iSchool. 

Professional History of Scholarship and Service

Harper holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, master's in library science (with K-12 Library Media Certification), and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education (with K-8 certification), all from Kent State University.

Harper has published numerous articles, chapters, manuscripts, and reviews relating to her research interests, which include school library administration, facility design, multiliteracies, care-based practices, electronic portfolios, cataloging, evaluation and assessment. She is also the author of Reference Sources and Services for Youth and has two more books slated for publication. She received the Presidential Award from the Ohio Educational Library Media Association in 2013 and has been an invited speaker and presenter both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Harper is director of the Virginia Hamilton Multicultural Literature Conference, the longest running national conference of its kind. She is a member of several International Associations and serves on the Reading and Literacy committee of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL). Nationally, she is active in the American Library Association (ALA), and its divisions, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). She also serves on multiple national and state committees, including the Buckeye Children’s and Teens Book Award. Her interest in assessment and accreditation has led to her professional service for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Committee on Accreditation for the American Library Association.

New Directions and Continued Success

Harper has used her extensive knowledge of the iSchool’s history and strengths, as well as current trends in the information field to develop a targeted strategic plan for the iSchool’s future directions. Her experience as the Coordinator of the School Library Program, and her deeply rooted philosophical perspective that stems from her internationally recognized research in the area of trauma-informed care and the ethic of care that she brings to her leadership roles will serve her well. Dr. Harper states, “As an educator and leader, I strive to apply the principles of the ethic of care across my professional engagements.” She plans to continue working with the iSchool’s outstanding faculty, staff and students to carry on the iSchool’s excellent reputation as one of the top-ranked ALA-accredited programs in the country. Recently, the iSchool was ranked No. 5 in the nation for School Library Media, No. 9 in the country for Services for Children and Youth and No. 12 in the country for Archives and Preservation

Dr. Harper stated that she is “especially proud of what the iSchool has accomplished despite the myriad of pandemic related issues affecting higher education over the last year. Faculty and staff remained centered on strategic goals and served our students and iSchool constituents with an unending ethic of care over this last academic year. The iSchool remained steadfast in providing a robust and supportive learning experience for students and I am enthusiastically looking toward the future to working collaboratively with iSchool faculty and staff to create and implement the iSchool’s strategic goals.”

Transparency, Communication, and an Ethic of Care

Dr. Harper is committed to fostering open communication between iSchool faculty, staff, alumni, and students to facilitate trust and, ultimately, student success. For instance, during her time as Interim Director, Harper initiated The Dialogue with the Director virtual series. This series connected students with mental health resources, information about scholarships, and resources for building their professional toolboxes, while providing them a live avenue to connect with leadership at the iSchool. Harper also supported efforts by the student organizations GSAC and Student ALA Chapter to connect students through live events and networking. As Director, Harper is excited to continue and expand upon her initiatives for a holistically successful iSchool. 

Dr. Harper always welcomes questions from students. You can email her at sharper1@kent.edu.

POSTED: Monday, July 26, 2021 - 3:22pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 26, 2021 - 4:45pm