Center for Digital Inclusion is Established at the University of Illinois

The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) is proud to announce the establishment of the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The CDI strives to foster inclusive and sustainable societies through research, teaching, and public engagement about information and communication technologies (ICT). CDI invites multiple perspectives from a broad cross-section of researchers at GSLIS and campus to inform the Center’s work, including experts in such areas such as information in society, history, youth services, and sociotechnical data analytics. Research is funded by a number of agencies including the American Library Association, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Partnership for a Connected Illinois, and the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Jon Gant, GSLIS research associate professor and a national leader in the areas of digital inclusion and broadband adoption, directs the Center. In the past two years, Gant has published groundbreaking research in the areas of Internet access and use, including co-authoring the first report to examine broadband adoption among minority communities.

“Along with my colleagues from GSLIS and campus, I am very excited to launch CDI,” said Gant. “CDI extends the land-grant mission of the University of Illinois by finding new and innovative ways to build digitally inclusive communities through research, teaching, and service. CDI also builds on the early work of many faculty members, students, and staff who served computing needs throughout the world with Prairienet and the Community Informatics Initiative. I am very proud to continue this tradition through our ongoing work focused on helping communities build high-speed broadband networks, deepening our understanding of how to foster greater adoption and sustainable use of ICTs to meet the human development needs across our society.”

Key personnel at the Center include Sharon Irish, coordinator; Martin Wolske, senior research scientist and adjunct lecturer; and LaEisha Meadards, project manager.

“GSLIS has a long history of important and innovative work in the field of community informatics, especially as it relates to digital inclusion. Under Dr. Gant’s leadership, CDI researchers will examine social issues in relation to technical developments—local, national, and global—in order to have high impact on real-world problems,” said GSLIS Interim Dean Allen Renear.

GSLIS, the top-ranked library and information science program in the United States, has a robust and internationally respected research program. CDI joins two other research centers at GSLIS: The Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS) and The Center for Children’s Books (CCB).

Tags: Americian Library Association, Broadband Illinois, CDI, Center for Digital Inclusion, DCEO, GSLIS, NTIA, Partnership for a Connected Illinois, University of Illinois

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