The School of Information Studies (SOIS) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was recently recognized as a grant recipient from the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program that will fund six doctoral positions.

The SOIS proposal, entitled “Overcoming Barriers to Information Access (B2A): Educating the Next Generation of Library and Information Science Leaders,” addresses the need for new PhDs in SOIS’ three key areas of doctoral study: information organization, information policy and information retrieval. The money from the grant, which totals $815,340, will support the recruitment, guidance and training of graduates for careers in which they can serve as role models to future professionals and researchers that address information access barriers.

SOIS PhD Program Director, Dietmar Wolfram, says that the grant provides a big boost to the PhD program. “[The grant] enhances what we already have and highlights our areas of specialization within the doctoral program and the expertise of the SOIS faculty, which has grown considerably over the past ten years,” said Wolfram.

The grant, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), supports programs that enhance library and information science education and that help develop library leaders. The grant will cover three or four years of funding for research and travel as well as tuition and scholarships for new PhD students selected for the B2A program.

B2A students’ research agendas will address how to overcome obstacles in information access as they relate to the areas of specialization within the program, for example, ways to improve information systems and services to different types of users.

Wolfram believes that the outcomes of this grant will result in a big step towards greater access and accessibility to information. “Digital divide and information poverty issues continue to be a concern in many parts of the developing world and even in parts of developed countries like the United States,” said Wolfram.  

The next step for SOIS will be to recruit a cohort of B2A doctoral students. Since the school began the PhD program in Information Studies in 2008, it has enrolled 10 students, with another seven students anticipated to begin this fall. The doctoral program hopes to eventually expand to 25-30 students.

“We’re immensely proud of this grant,” said SOIS Interim Dean Hope A. Olson. “It strengthens the school’s growing reputation in the field. It will also make new research possible and will help us continue to devote even more attention to information access.”

For more information on the grant, please visit:


The School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee offers several degrees and programs including the Bachelor of Science in Information Science and Technology, Master of Library and Information Science (accredited by the American Library Association), and Ph.D. in Information Studies. With a growing student body of more than 800, SOIS strives to meet the demand for information professionals at all levels in libraries, archives, corporations, government agencies, schools, and other institutions, and in higher education. SOIS is a leader in online education and currently enrolls students from all regions of the United States and from countries around the world. For more information about the school, its faculty, and its programs, see or call 1-888-349-3432.

Daniel Rude
Communications Assistant
School of Information Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee