Gwen Harris FIAA Outstanding Alumni for 2014

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Innovator, leader, mentor, researcher, and catalyst. These are the words fellow colleagues and former students use to describe Gwen Harris (MLS 1994) in their letters of support for her nomination as the Faculty of Information Alumni Association (FIAA) Outstanding Alumni Award recipient for 2014.

Widely recognized as a pioneer and guru in web search strategies, Ms Harris received the award at Spring Reunion celebrations on May 28.

"Gwen Harris has been a catalyst for other professionals in teaching and librarianship to realize the potential of technology to raise our game—to make the information service provided by librarians more informed, authoritative, and efficient; to enable our educators to create excellent online learning experiences that meet their ambitious objectives; and to introduce students to the potential of online learning and proficient online presentation," offered Wendy Newman, Senior Fellow and Lecturer, in her nomination.

A solid leader, Ms Harris has operated her consultancy, G Harris Information Services, as an information professional since 1994. Starting in the early days of the World Wide Web, she has provided online search strategy consulting, web search guidance and updates through her website, and has been an instructor at the iSchool Institute (formerly the Professional Learning Centre), winning its 2001 Outstanding Teaching Award.

Stephen Abram, a well regarded library and information industry consultant, says Gwen’s involvement in professional associations, her intense innovation in e-Iearning, professional development courses, and most recently, the iSchool's first Massively Open Online Course (MOOC), make her “one of the go-to people in the profession for advice on technology as it applies to improving education and enhancing learning.”

Working with Wendy Newman, Gwen was the course designer and project manager for developing the iSchool’s first MOOC, "Library Advocacy Unshushed," which was delivered to over 4,000 students from all over the world in spring 2014.

Her stellar reputation comes from Gwen’s ability to see around the corner. In the 1990s, she and Sandra Wood were innovators in the library community in developing The Internet Guide, a self-study online course delivered by the Professional Learning Centre through LibraryNet to public libraries across Canada.

Her professional leadership in information searching and e-Iearning pedagogy is widely known in the profession and has helped to establish her alma mater as a provider of highly regarded online courses in Web Searching, Records Management, and related disciplines. She has also designed an excellent course management system for the new Public Library Leadership Fellows Program and done extensive editing of the video sessions produced for this program.

In all these ways and more, Ms Harris has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the information profession and to the field of librarianship.

FIAA President Kate MacDonald ’09 thanks Le Dieu Tran ‘05 and her committee for all its hard work and diligence in sorting through the nominations for this distinguished award.

About the Award
The FIAA Outstanding Alumni Award is given to a graduate of the Faculty of Information for innovation or leadership in libraries or information management, professional organizations, publications/research activity, and the community at large. Recipients are possessed of characteristics that enable them to be innovators, leaders, mentors, researchers, or catalysts. These winners are alumni who have made a difference to the profession.

Congratulations Ms Harris.

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