Alumni Spotlight: James Andrews, MLIS (‘97), Ph.D. (‘00)

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Dr. James Andrews (left) honoring SISLT professor, Dr. John Budd (right) for delivering an Alice G. Smith Lecture at the USF School of Information.

Dr. James Andrews (left) honoring SISLT professor, Dr. John Budd (right) for delivering an Alice G. Smith Lecture at the USF School of Information.

James Andrews is a 1997 alumnus of the Library and Information Science program at the MU School of Information Science & Learning Technology. In 2000, he became the first student to attain a doctoral degree from SISLT. Both programs were attractive to Andrews because he was interested in librarianship and lived in neighboring Jefferson City with his wife, who taught dance.

As a master’s student, Andrews was a graduate assistant in the computing lab, working on projects such as the Truman Library digitization project (Project Whistlestop). He and a fellow student won the 1996 Gerd Muehsam Award from the Art Libraries Society of North America.

Andrews’ doctoral degree was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a predoctoral medical informatics fellowship through the MU School of Medicine. This provided a stipend, tuition waivers, and travel to key informatics meetings. Faculty were very supportive of presenting, publishing, and collaborating.

Here’s what Andrews said about his experience at SISLT, advice for prospective students, and more:

What did you appreciate most about your experience at SISLT?

The quality of the faculty and instruction was excellent. As a doctoral student, I was able to work with Bryce Allen, John Budd, Maryellen Sievert, and other faculty who helped me develop a deep understanding of both theory and practice. MU had an excellent reputation in both LIS and informatics, and I also enjoyed developing interdisciplinary skills.

How did the LIS and Ph.D. programs at SISLT impact your career?

The graduate education I received, from the MLIS, doctorate, as well as the informatics fellowship program, fully prepared me to enter and thrive in an academic position. I felt that I was provided a solid foundation in theoretical perspectives, as well as their practical implications, which has helped me in my role as a department chair.

What advice would you give prospective students who are considering either program at SISLT?

  • Take full advantage of the many academic resources and faculty available in SISLT.
  • Strive to be truly interdisciplinary and seek out collaborations.
  • Challenge yourself and dig deeply into areas that you are passionate about.
  • Articulate how your research or studies might impact the profession and help people.

Andrews serves as the Director of the School of Information at the University of South Florida.