Linda C. Smith ~ Educator, Mentor, and Ally
Professor Emerita Smith has made extensive contributions to the Illinois iSchool and the library and information science (LIS) field
Her colleagues say:
"Linda has been a faculty member at the iSchool since 1977. Much of that time it was called the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and much of the time was critical, sometimes perilous, for library and information science education. The iSchool has thrived due to the quality of our students, the dedication of our faculty and staff and the ability of that team to evolve quickly, continuing to exert national leadership, through rapid change and potential challenges to our identity. The important constant (glue) has been Linda Smith who has held to a vision of this field as a whole and been deeply respected by those who have worked with her. Her knowledge of the history of the School, combined with her interdisciplinary perspective, make her a respected voice in pondering and undertaking change. She is quite a remarkable person, and I cannot imagine the iSchool having evolved successfully without her care, concern, and extremely hard work to make it so over 40 years."
—Leigh S. Estabrook, Dean Emerita of the School
Her students say:
"Particularly in her role as Associate Dean for the School, Dr. Smith has been extraordinary. She has overseen innovation in this role, including being key to the creation and sustaining of the much-lauded online Master's program in Library and Information Science, vanguard in its time and at the top of the field throughout its existence. Along with faculty colleagues, she has supported numerous initiatives that have generously benefited students, the research program at Illinois and the field in its entirety. One with which I am intimately familiar is the Information in Society fellowship, a multiyear grant that Dr. Smith won from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to support future faculty interested in an interdisciplinary social studies of information. As the recipient of one of the Information in Society fellowships, I can affirm that it was life-changing, and indeed put me on the path to the career I now have."
—Sarah T. Roberts, Associate Professor, Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
"Dr. Linda Smith was indispensable to my experience as a doctoral student and my success in becoming an Assistant Professor in LIS. She always had her door open for me to feel supported and ask questions about succeeding as a doctoral student. Dr. Smith is a brilliant academic in the field of LIS and her academic contributions continue to resonate across the field. I am so grateful she was my advisor and mentor."
—Melissa Villa-Nicholas, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, University of Rhode Island
"Dr. Linda C. Smith has had a tremendous career contributing pioneering research on artificial intelligence systems, bibliometrics, and innovative uses of emerging technologies in information science services and pedagogy. Beyond these substantial achievements, she is known by her colleagues and students as an outstanding mentor who goes above and beyond to support and anchor her mentees. Her dedication to her students as advocate and protector, has been a constant reminder to me of the powerful role educators may have in the lives of their students. I use the lessons she taught me daily, hoping to pay forward her particular brand of mentorship and guidance to my own students. I hold Dr. Smith in the highest regard, as do all who know her and have worked near her. The impact she has had in our field, in terms of both research and mentorship, is unparalleled and will continue to reverberate as a part of her lasting legacy."
—Miriam Sweeney, Associate Professor, College of Communication & Information Sciences, The University of Alabama
Source: adapted from "Linda C. Smith to retire"