Bridge Building, Intersectionality and Inclusion
Research investigating the academic success of POC students in higher education from across interdisciplinary fields asserts the need to center the lives of those at the margin. This panel responds to the social justice politics at the heart of this positionality by offering multiple angles for conceptualizing diversity and inclusion in LIS doctoral programs. The panel aims to spark transformative conversation among LIS program stakeholders about accessing the knowledge wealth of POC librarians through their inclusion into the doctorate as a way to enhance LIS curricula and library services. We begin by examining inclusion gaps evident in the recruitment of POC doctoral students with library professional experience, and their active retention via structured mentoring that addresses the unique needs of POC students. We then identify specific assets held by this demographic to discuss how comprehensive inclusion of research methods that align with social justice imperatives affects discourse around inclusion in LIS. Moreover, we identify how funding challenges impact the academic success of LIS POC doctoral students to draw attention to the urgency of representation of POC LIS professionals.
Our analysis of diversity and inclusion gaps found in LIS higher education presents arguments for the recruitment of POC librarians to doctoral programs as a way to bridge epistemic divides between library and information sciences disciplinary concerns. In addition, attention towards integrated mentoring models offers ways to not only increase immediate student retention, but further creates capacity for innovation in LIS curriculum responsive to creating a diverse student body. We advocate for stakeholders across library constituencies to pursue comprehensive funding for LIS doctoral students to secure the future recruitment and retention of marginalized students.