From discussing critical issues and directing initiatives to mentoring students and welcoming new faculty, the iSchool Board of Advisors is central to shaping the experience and ensuring the success of the iSchool as a whole.
As the school moves forward, two longtime board members, Donald Marchand and Sandra Reid-Buehler, will be retiring and making room for Hether Danforth, General Manager of US Education for Microsoft, to step in.
“[Don and Sandra] have been instrumental in shaping the fabric of the iSchool family,” said Matthew Clark, Assistant Dean for Advancement.
Don, who started the undergraduate program in Information Management & Technology and helped advance the school to a new level of growth and prominence, served as the iSchool Dean from 1987 to 1994 before joining the board in 2008.
“The board’s done a great job promoting the potential of the school to contribute to the career of students in new fields that are just emerging,” Don said, adding that he will always cherish his service and contribution to the university.
Sandra is an alumna of the iSchool (G ‘98) who joined the board in 2015 while working at Yahoo. After learning about the IT Girls program and spending a weekend on a retreat with them, she knew she wanted to have a greater role with iSchool students.
“What I wanted to do was to be a resource for women who are doing tech,” Sandra said. “I would love for women to stay for the long haul instead of getting frustrated and leaving.”
She especially appreciates the work the iSchool has done to increase equity within the school, and she hopes that programs like IT Girls will eventually make their way to the Bay Area.
Hether, the board’s newest member, leverages the iSchool’s key partnership with Microsoft and looks forward to strengthening both new and existing industry connections.
Within her company, Hether works with leaders in K-12 and higher ed institutions across the eastern U.S. in order to support and advance their initiatives through Microsoft technology.
“What I love about the iSchool is that it isn’t specifically a computer science school, or a business school, or a social studies school. It really does sit at the center,” Hether said. “When I think about the skills our students need to have to enable them to drive innovation in the world, they’re going to need to have skill sets that cross boundaries.”
Don, Sandra, and Hether all remind us of what makes the iSchool board great. In addition to being a group of experts who understand the challenges of working in tech, they’re also invested in supporting student success in their lives at large.
It’s what Matt Clark calls “a culture of care.”
Indeed, that sentiment was echoed throughout conversations with both Don and Sandra, who both repeatedly emphasized the warmth and caliber of everyone at the iSchool.
Perhaps the feeling is best summed up with Don’s thoughts from nearly three decades ago: “I wanted a school where integrity, trust, and sharing among faculty and staff were central to [its] future.”
Not only has the iSchool made that vision a reality, but it remains committed to carrying the same spirit forward into the future.