By Tom Finholt
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Sixteen years ago, the newly created University of Michigan School of Information made educational history by offering the first Master of Science in Information (MSI). Now, it’s about to make history again by introducing the first-ever Bachelor of Science in Information (BSI).
This ground-breaking new undergraduate program will begin enrolling students in 2013 for classes starting in 2014.
The new degree will be the first of its kind in the nation, according to Dean Jeff MacKie-Mason. It is envisioned as an interdisciplinary program in the tradition of liberal arts and natural and technology sciences, rather than a professional or vocational program.
“We are uniquely positioned to offer this degree and do it well,” MacKie-Mason says. “The huge impact of the digital revolution has touched all our lives. It has affected the way we conduct business, make personal health decisions, engage in civic discourse, elect leaders, and raise our families. Yet our traditional disciplines of study haven’t addressed this subject in a unified way.
“The new degree will be distinctive because the core elements of the curriculum —including math, communications, statistics and history — will be designed and delivered by a single faculty whose central object of study is information.”
Undergraduates will have an opportunity to study with the school’s world-class graduate faculty and participate in research projects that are helping to shape the digital future. The degree will be open to juniors and seniors at the University of Michigan and to students who transfer from other colleges and universities.
A wide range of information classes for first and second year students will allow them to sample the subject area and decide if they wish to pursue the information degree. Currently the school offers three degrees: a master of science in information, a doctorate in information, and a master’s of health informatics (MHI) jointly with the School of Public Health. With this new degree, UMSI reinforces its leadership role among iSchools, developing innovative educational programs that anticipate the world’s information management needs.