Associate Dean Jeff Bardzell Named Dean of UNC iSchool

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jeff Bardzell, associate dean for faculty and graduate affairs in the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), has been named dean of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bardzell’s appointment will begin on April 1.

“We are grateful for Jeff’s significant contributions to our college and community, and we are ready to support him as he pursues this well-earned opportunity,” said Andrea Tapia, interim dean of the College of IST. “The University of North Carolina is getting a forward-thinking leader, conscientious colleague and fervent student advocate. We wish him endless success as he continues his work to shape the next generation of information scholars and students.” 

Bardzell joined the College of IST in August 2020 as the associate dean for undergraduate and graduate studies. In that role, he led a team that provided strategic direction and management of students’ academic experience. In 2022, Bardzell received the McKay Donkin Award for contributing the most beyond his normal duties to the “economic, physical, mental, or social welfare of the faculty.” In 2023, he was named the college’s associate dean for faculty and graduate affairs, managing faculty appointments, promotions and annual reviews, and all aspects of the graduate student experience. 

His colleagues commended his dedication to students, particularly in areas related to equity and fairness. He conducted an in-depth review of the college’s undergraduate administrative enrollment program controls, recommending modest adjustments that afforded more entrance-to-major opportunities to a broader student demographic with little impact to the college’s capacity resources. His experience and expertise were also praised for minimizing disruptions during periods of leadership transitions in the college.   

“Moving to IST marked a significant professional transition for me: from a faculty member into academic leadership,” said Bardzell. “I want to express my gratitude to the staff and faculty who helped me through that transition, who helped me to grow into my role at Penn State. I believe we accomplished some important goals together and, for me at least, had some fun doing so.” 

With a background in literature, Bardzell brings a critical and humanities-oriented perspective to human-computer interaction, design and information science. His research examines design theory — focusing on critical design, research through design and design criticism — and emerging social computing practices, including critical-empirical studies on maker communities in the U.S. and Asia, intimate and sexual interaction, and online creative communities. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, is the co-author of “Humanistic HCI” and served as co-editor of “Critical Theory and Interaction Designs.” He has been awarded nearly $13 million in external grants and has won more than a dozen awards for his research and teaching. 

Before coming to Penn State, Bardzell served as a professor of informatics and program director for human-computer interaction design in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering at Indiana University–Bloomington. He had been an instructor at Indiana University since 2004, with visiting associate professor appointments at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, in 2015 and at Shih Chien University in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2016. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in English from Mary Washington College and master’s and doctoral degrees in comparative literature from Indiana University.