News / Susan “Leigh” Star joins iSchool faculty


1The School of Information Sciences is pleased to announce that Susan “Leigh” Star is joining the faculty of the iSchool. Star will hold the Doreen E. Boyce Chair in Library and Information Science, named in honor of Dr. Boyce, who served for many years as President of the Buhl Foundation. Star was selected for the Boyce Chair because of her interest and scholarship in the broad roles of the library and of information in modern society.  Dr. Star will lead the iSchool in shaping a research agenda and curriculum on the changing role of libraries in response to the continually changing needs of our networked global society.

Dr. Star will also serve as the Director of the Sara Fine Institute (SFI), which is dedicated to examining the ways technology impacts interpersonal communications and relationships with family, friends, professional colleagues, governing bodies, health care providers, and educational institutions. SFI Faculty Affiliates conduct research on social, political, ethical, medical, technical, and educational issues via innovative research projects and campus-community partnerships.

Star comes to Pitt from Santa Clara University (CA), where she served as a Professor in the Center for Science, Technology and Society.  She has held academic and scholarly positions at the University of California, Irvine; University of Caligari (Italy); University of California at San Diego; and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Dr. Star was awarded her PhD in Sociology by the University of California, San Francisco.

Star has been a co-Principal Investigator or a team member on a number of NSF-funded projects including “Monitoring, Modeling and Memory: Dynamics of Data and Knowledge in Scientific Cyberinfrastructures” and “Towards a Virtual Organization for Data Cyberinfrastructure.”  Dr. Star is the author of Boundary Objects and the Poetics of Infrastructure (to be published by MIT Press in 2009) and co-author (with Geoffrey Bowker) of Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (MIT Press 2000). She has published extensively in academic journals including Ethics and Information Technology, Social Studies of Science, Philosophy of Technology, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and American Behavioral Scientist.  Star serves as Co-Editor-In-Chief of Science, Technology and Human Values, the official publication of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (she was president of the Society from 2005-2007). In 2004, Star was elected to the Sociological Research Association, a lifetime achievement honor from the Society for American Sociological Association.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Star to the iSchool and to the University of Pittsburgh,” states Ronald L. Larsen, Dean of the iSchool.  “Her international scholarly reputation advances our capacity to prepare students for the challenges they will face as leaders in the information professions, and for them to view information and technology from a broad social perspective.  Dr. Star will teach in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as lead a research program that will advance our collective understanding of the information needs of a truly global, networked society.”

The Doreen E. Boyce Chair for Library and Information Science was established in August 1999 with a substantial gift from the Buhl Foundation.  Dr. Boyce was the President of the Foundation for 25 years and was a strong advocate for improving the human condition through informed use of technology.  It is the first named chair in the School of Information Sciences, where the curriculum and research activities are focused on people, their information needs, and the technology to manage such information.