About i3

Many academic disciplines are experiencing a shortage of faculty and students from underrepresented populations: the Information Sciences are no exception. iSchools are taking steps to reverse this trend by creating professionals and academic leaders who can serve as role models for future generations in this critical area.

Like many academic disciplines, the Information Sciences have a lack of faculty and students from underrepresented segments of the population. While the United States population is becoming increasingly diverse, the student population in Information Sciences programs has not kept pace with this trend. In fact, the IS graduate student population is significantly less diverse than the student population in graduate programs in general.

According to Association for Library and Information Science Education statistical reports, in 2003 only 11.3% of the students in LIS graduate programs were identified as being from a minority group while 26.5% of the students in all US graduate programs were of color (US Dept of Ed, 2005). Neither statistic accurately reflects the actual proportion of ethnic minorities in the US population, which was 31.3% in 2003 (US Census Bureau, 2003).

It is a similar story for iSchools.  For example, in 2008, African American students enrolled at iSchools comprised only 7.2% of the whole student population, while Hispanic students comprised only 4.5%. African American faculty at iSchools made up only 2.7% of the whole faculty population; Hispanic faculty made up only 2.3% (ALISE statistical reports). Clearly, the faculty and students in iSchools were significantly less diverse than the US population or the general population of students in graduate programs.

The lack of diversity in the faculty and student populations at iSchools profoundly impacts our discipline and the Information Professions:

  • our faculty and our schools are not representative of the people we will serve in the information professions;
  • people from underrepresented groups don't see role models for themselves within the Information Schools or the information professions;
  • students from underrepresented groups don't consider the information professions to be a viable career option because they don't see people of color in the field; and
  • the academic vitality and rigor of our institutions are diminished by the lack of diversity in our schools.

i3 seeks to nurture diverse professional and academic leaders within the field. In so doing, schools will create faculty members who reflect the diversity of the overall population - and who can serve as role models for future generations.

By exposing promising students to a discipline that actively wants to foster their success, i3 plans to increase the number of men and women from underrepresented populations undertaking graduate study in the field.


i3 is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


  • Drexel University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Pittsburgh