In the Spotlight: Professor J. Brenton Stewart, School of Library & Information Science
Graduate Faculty Spotlight, September 2017
1. What factors influenced your decision to work at LSU?
Two big factors influenced my decision. I was working at another institution in the Gulf South and attended a talk about student engagement given by Dr. Saundra McGuire, Emerita Professor of Chemical Education. She was so enthusiastic and inspirational, and as I sat in the audience I thought, “I want to work at LSU!” Later, I visited the School of Library & Information Science’s (SLIS) website and read their strategic plan. Here too, I was impressed with school’s direction and I felt this was a school that was on the move and I wanted to be a part of it. Luckily, they were hiring in my area.
2. What is your current involvement with the LSU graduate student community?
I teach graduate courses in SLIS. One is a core course for the Master’s in Library & Information Science, and a rotation of four electives. Additionally, I’m an internship advisor for students working in academic libraries.
3. Tell us about your primary research interest at the School of Library & Information Science.
My research areas are in print culture history and academic libraries. On the print culture side, I focus on 19th century medical and agricultural journals, which I treat as information technologies, as well as information agencies of the period-- for example printers and booksellers in antebellum New Orleans. My contemporary research examines the academic library in the lives of distinct populations, namely African Americans and LGBTQ students.
4. Tell us about a cause you’re passionate about in higher education?
I’m most passionate about the changes we’ve made to the SLIS curriculum since I arrived at LSU four years ago. A growing trend in graduate education is micro or nano degrees, which provides students with highly marketable skills, but at a fraction of the cost and time that is typically associated with master’s degrees. We were able to capitalize on this growing market by offering two graduate certificates. Additionally, I was heavily involved with launching an undergraduate minor in Library Science, which also includes a general education course, LIS 2000 Introduction to Information & Society.