Kendra S. Albright Named New SLIS Director | School of Information | Kent State University

Kendra S. Albright Named New SLIS Director

Albright Brings Strong Academic Profile and Leadership Experience

Kendra S. Albright, Ph.D., will become the new director of Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), effective July 1, 2016. Albright currently serves as professor in the School of Library and Information Science and director of the African Studies Program at the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia.

“I’m excited about the many talents Dr. Albright brings to our School of Library and Information Science,” Amy Reynolds, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information, said.  “In addition to her strong academic profile and leadership experience, she is someone who values interdisciplinary programs, has a strong understanding of and demonstrated record in working on behalf of diversity and inclusion, and she is recognized internationally for her commitment to global education and research. I am confident that under her leadership our nationally-ranked programs will thrive and continue to innovate."

Albright will succeed Kent State Professor Jeffrey Fruit, who has served as SLIS interim director since January 2014.

“Jeff Fruit has provided steady leadership for the school and has worked closely with the faculty and staff to build and grow programs and provide important support and direction,” Reynolds said. “It’s impossible to overstate how important his contributions have been and how grateful I am to Jeff for serving so effectively in such a critical role. He has been a strong member of our leadership team. I am very fortunate to have had the privilege to work with him during my first year as dean.”

When Albright assumes the director role, Fruit will return to the classroom as professor and graduate coordinator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

Advancing the School's Mission, Prominence

“The faculty, staff and students of the School of Library and Information Science are excited to welcome Dr. Albright as their next director and work with her to advance the school’s mission,” Fruit said. “She is a respected and well-established scholar and a thoughtful leader who is committed to the profession.”

Albright says she looks forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that has made Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science one of the top-ranked programs in the country.

“I am honored to join the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University and to work with such internationally distinguished scholars, award-winning teachers, talented professionals and a diverse student body,” Albright said. “The director’s position represents an exciting opportunity to build on past successes and strengths and bring the school into an increasing position of leadership and prominence.”

Leadership

Albright’s experience includes leadership roles in both academic and non-academic positions. Prior to taking a position at the University of South Carolina, she taught at the University of Tennessee and at the University of Sheffield, the number one-ranked library and information science research program in the United Kingdom, where she also served as Deputy Director of the Centre for Health Information Management Research (CHIMR). Albright spent two semesters as visiting professor at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Before pursuing an academic career, she was division manager for Information Services at Information International Associates (IIa) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where she managed a $2.6 million contract for the U.S. Department of Energy to produce up to 36,000 bibliographic records per year for the Energy Science & Technology Database. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), she created and managed a team that provided research support to scientists and engineers on long-term projects. She also spent several years running her own research and market analysis consulting practice.

Scholarship and Service

Albright holds a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Tennessee, with concentrations in information sciences and information economics. She has a Master of Science in library science and a Bachelor of Science in human development, also from the University of Tennessee.

Her primary research has focused on the use of information and communication to solve human problems, particularly in the areas of HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. She also has an extensive interdisciplinary research agenda that draws theories and methods from psychology, economics, political science, and anthropology, resulting in extensive collaborations with other disciplines. She was named a University of South Carolina “Rising Star” in 2011 and has received several research awards, in addition to having more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, more than 30 invited presentations, and numerous grant awards. She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services. She also is co-editor (with Karen Gavigan) of the 2014 graphic novel AIDS in the End Zone, written by teens incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, which was featured in the New York Times and USA Today. 

Albright’s professional service record ranges from local to global involvement, including leadership roles in the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), Information Science Foundation for East Africa (ISFEA), and North American Information Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa working group on information research (co-founder and organizer). 

About SLIS

The School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University offers a Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) and Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM). In addition, the school participates in an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the College of Communication and Information. With more than 700 students enrolled, SLIS has the largest graduate program at Kent State. Its M.L.I.S. is the only American Library Association-accredited master’s program in Ohio and is recognized by U.S. News and World Report among the nation’s top 20 LIS programs, with a youth services program that is ranked 10th. For more information, visit www.kent.edu/slis.

The School of Library and Information Science is one of four schools in the College of Communication and Information. More information about the college is available at www.kent.edu/cci.