W. David Penniman Named Dean of UB School of Informatics

Release Date: June 27, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- W. David Penniman, Ph.D., former president and CEO of the Council on Library and Information Resources, Inc., and the American Society for Information Science & Technology, has been named dean of the University at Buffalo School of Informatics effective Sept. 1.

Penniman, who lives in Oak Ridge, Tenn., is a well-known figure in the national library and information-science communities.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the research, design, development and operation of information in corporate, educational and not-for-profit organizations, as well as expertise in information-science education and strategic planning and positioning.

In announcing his appointment, UB Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi noted: "Dave Penniman is an expert in information-related disciplines and has demonstrated creativity and dynamism in building programs crossing disciplinary boundaries in these areas.

"His blend of academic and executive experience in both profit and non-profit arenas connected to information systems and communications make him a perfect choice to lead our School of Informatics, which will be the model for the nation in producing the next generation of information professionals."

Penniman will succeed Thomas Jacobson, Ph.D., acting dean of the school since it was founded in 1999 as the result of the merger of UB's former School of Information and Library Studies and the Department of Communication, which was then in UB's College of Arts and Sciences. Jacobson will return to his post as chair and associate professor in the new school's Department of Communication.

The UB School of Informatics has more than 900 students and 20 faculty members.

Penniman's responsibilities will include the management of the school's communication department and nationally ranked Department of Library Studies, as well as the addition of new programs in emerging informatics areas and oversight of its current degree programs.

These include a bachelor's degree in communication; master's degrees in communication, library science, and information and communication, and a doctoral degree in communication. The School of Informatics also offers a post-master's degree advanced-studies program for those with a master's degree in library science, and in September will begin a new doctoral program in communication with a cognate in library and information studies. The school also has a cooperative doctoral program in higher education academic librarianship with the UB Graduate School of Education. The School of Informatics recently received funding from AT&T for its innovative curriculum emphasizing the integration of information technology into organizations.

A professional engineer and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Penniman has worked for the past seven years as a consultant to the senior management of such institutions as the World Bank, Eli Lilly and Co., BIOSIS, the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) Institute, Unilever, Carolina Power and Light, and TXU (formerly Texas Utilities).

In addition, from 1995-99, Penniman was a tenured professor and director of the Center for Information Studies at the University of Tennessee, where he also served as interim director of the School of Information Sciences.

He was president and CEO of the Council on Library Resources, Inc., from 1991-95. The council is an operating foundation that funds and conducts projects and programs for libraries and information services in university, public and school settings.

Penniman previously was with AT&T Bell Laboratories as director of the information services group (1990-91) and director libraries and information systems (1984-90), and the Online Computer Library Center, where he positions included manager of the Research Department (1978-80), director of the Systems Development Division (1980-82) and vice president of the Offices of Planning and Research (1982-84).

In 1977 he was a research scholar in the Computer Science Group with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

Earlier positions included associate manager of the Information Systems Section at Battelle Columbus Laboratories; associate director of the Engineering Publications Offices at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and project and design engineer with the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

Penniman holds a doctorate in communication theory from Ohio State University and a master's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also has completed advanced studies in organizational change and development at the Gestalt Institute in Cleveland.

He is a member of the board of directors of the high-tech service firm, PlanetConnect, and a former board member of the Getty Information Institute and Engineering Information, Inc., a

company responsible for providing print and electronic-based products covering engineering literature in the U.S. and abroad.

He has held major advisory appointments in many institutions, including Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Rutgers University, the National Library of Medicine, the American Association of Engineering Societies, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, and the National Cancer Institute.

In 1998, Penniman served on a three-member Library Journal research team that surveyed 29 public, academic, school and special library vendors to see how they fared in an increasingly tough marketplace and how successfully they met the challenges: integration, testing, and marketing a new generation of library and information systems.

He has published more than 60 articles and book chapters and has presented lectures and seminars throughout the world. He previously served on the editorial boards of Education for Information, Advances in Librarianship and The Bottom Line.

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