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Abebe Rorissa to Lead School of Information Sciences

Abebe Rorissa will be the new director of the School of Information Sciences on July 1, 2021. He is currently Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Associate Professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity at State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany.

“Serving as the Director of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee is my greatest honor and privilege,” Rorissa said. “We are a leading iSchool with excellent students, world-class faculty, highly qualified and dedicated staff, and alumni who are leaders in the field. Building on the strong foundation laid by my predecessors, I am looking forward to working with you all to continue the excellent work that defines the school.”

Chancellor’s Professor Carol Tenopir has served as interim director of SIS since August 2020 when then-director Diane Kelly was named UT Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Rorissa’s research interests focus on organization and retrieval of information; adoption, use and impact of information and communication technologies; and human information behavior.

He has held many leadership positions in the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), the major international professional organization in information sciences, including chair of the Nominations Committee, member of the Strategic Planning Task Force, chair of the Awards & Honors Committee, and an elected member on the ASIS&T Board of Directors. He is also the advisor for the ASIS&T Africa chapter.

He is a member of the EditorialBoard of several refereed journals including Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Studies, the  Ethiopian Journal of Science and Sustainable Development, and the Pakistan Journal of Library and Information Science.

Rorissa is also a leader with respect to diversity and inclusion. At SUNY Albany, he led efforts to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, initiated a strategic planning effort for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and developed academic initiatives to attract and mentor a diverse student body. He is a multilingual person of color with wide international and national experience working with and mentoring students of diverse backgrounds. He retains academic connections to the University of Namibia, and to Jimma University and Addis Ababa University both in Ethiopia, in addition to being well known in the North American Information Sciences community as a scholar and leader.

He holds a PhD in Information Science and a CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies – Post Master’s) in Digital Image Management from the University of North Texas, and an MS in Information Science and a BS in Mathematics from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.