Paul T. Jaeger, associate professor and co-director of the Information Policy and Access Center in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies, Maryland’s iSchool, has been named the first recipient of the Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award. This new award, sponsored by ProQuest, combines two individual awards offered by Library Journal (LJ) and the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) to recognize “the top LIS educator of an ALISE-member program or an ALA-accredited master’s program.” Jaeger was unanimously selected by a panel of judges appointed by Library Journal and the Executive Committee of the ALISE Board, as well as a representative from ProQuest.
Four of Jaeger’s current or former students wrote letters in support of his nomination, submitted by iSchool doctoral student Natalie Greene Taylor. The students all cite Jaeger’s commitment to mentorship, and his ability to tie his scholarship to his teaching and meld theory with practice, as well as his ability to inspire them to be leaders in the information profession and advocates for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Former student Elizabeth Larson says of Jaeger, “He dreams big, he acts on his convictions, and he takes you along for the adventure….After joining the [E-government] degree concentration he headed, I began to view being a librarian as something so much more. More radical, but also more integrated with the communities we serve. I began to see how librarians can be advocates for their communities and how civil rights issues play out in libraries every day.”
Jaeger is a noted scholar on the ways in which law and public policy shape information behavior, particularly for underserved populations. He is the author of more than 150 journal articles and book chapters, as well as 12 books, and his research has been funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others. Jaeger is editor of Library Quarterly, co-editor of the Advances in Librarianship Book Series from MIT Press, and associate editor of Government Information Quarterly. He also serves as the iSchool’s diversity officer and the faculty advisor for the iDiversity student group and American Library Association student chapter at the iSchool. Jaeger also heads the iSchool’s Symposium on Diversity in LIS Education and was recognized by the iSchool with the 2011 Award for Contributions to the Curriculum.
“We are so proud of Paul and so pleased that his outstanding work is being recognized by the larger LIS community,” says Jennifer Preece, dean of the iSchool. “Students at the iSchool benefit from our strong tradition of scholar-teachers, and Paul Jaeger is exemplary of the very best the iSchool has to offer. His ability to inspire, as well as instruct, students will have an impact on the information profession for many years to come.”
This award comes with a $5,000 cash prize, sponsored by ProQuest. Jaeger has elected to donate the prize money back to the iSchool in support of the 2015 Symposium on Diversity in LIS Education. He will be honored during a celebration at ALISE’s annual conference in January.