Eliza T. Dresang named Gleason Professor

Dr. Eliza T. Dresang, faculty member in the School of Information Studies, has been named the Eliza Atkins Gleason Professor by The Florida State University. Dr. Dresang has been a member of the faculty of the FSU School of Information Studies since 1996.

“Professor Dresang has been a model of what makes a great faculty member, exemplifying standards of excellence in the performance of teaching, research, and service in the field of information studies,” said Jane Robbins, dean of the FSU School of Information Studies.

Dr. Dresang has developed a theory called “Radical Change,” which is explained in her award-winning book, Radical Change: Books for Youth in a Digital Age, and numerous journal articles. Her theory was initially used to identify and analyze literature for youth reflecting the interactivity, connectivity, and access of the digital world. It has now been adopted in the scholarly community to explain various aspects of information behavior.

A related area of her research focuses on information policy, particularly access to controversial materials by young people. She co-authored School Censorship in the 21st Century with FSU Professor Emeritus John Simmons. Another important area of Dr. Dresang’s research involves information behavior of youth in relation to networked information sources and services. She and her co-researcher, Dr. Melissa Gross of FSU School of Information Studies, developed an exportable outcome based planning and evaluation model in Project CATE. The project is a study of technology use by children in an urban library (St. Louis) funded by a $219,000 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

In 2001, Dr. Dresang won the first School of Information Studies’ Outstanding Faculty Award. Dean Jane Robbins frequently receives unsolicited enthusiastic and laudatory feedback from students who have taken Dr. Dresang’s courses. She was a principal developer of and pioneered the online master’s degree offered through the School and, according to her students, is equally excellent in web-based and classroom teaching. Dr. Dresang has also made a significant contribution to the multicultural facet of the curriculum on the main campus in Tallahassee and at the FSU London Study Center, where she taught in 2001 and 2002.

Dr. Dresang has demonstrated exceptional service within the profession. In 2001 she was selected as Alumna of the Year by the University of Wisconsin School of Library and Information Studies. She is one of 11 members of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries Advisory Committee and was the chair of the prestigious 2004 Newbery Award Committee of the American Library Association, which grants a medal each year for outstanding children’s literature. Among her many contributions, she has served as a Councilor of the American Library Association for eight of the last 11 years, has been an member of the Board and the Executive Committee of the Association for Library Service to Children, and is currently an elected Trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

At FSU, Dr. Dresang is a leader and has served on innumerable committees which have been pivotal in shaping the direction of the School of Information Studies. She led the Master’s and Specialist Program team in a major curriculum revision, and from 2002-2004 she served as chair of the School’s Promotion and Tenure Committee and a member of the University Promotion and Tenure Committee. She is currently a member of the university search committee seeking a Dean for the School when the current Dean retires.

Dr. Dresang’s professorship is named for Eliza Atkins Gleason (b. 1909) who was a librarian and educator. In 1940, Dr. Gleason, a graduate of the University of Chicago, became the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in library science. From 1940-45 she was the dean of the library school at Atlanta University.