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Elizabeth Yakel appointed C. Olivia Frost Collegiate Professor of Information

Wednesday, 07/21/2021

Elizabeth Yakel, the University of Michigan School of Information’s Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, has a new title to add to her signature: C. Olivia Frost Collegiate Professor of Information. The appointment was approved by the Regents of the University of Michigan. 

Beth Yakel received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University (AB, 1980) and graduate degrees at the University of Michigan (AMLS, 1982 and PhD, 1997). She joined the University of Michigan as an assistant professor of information in 2000. She was promoted to associate professor (with tenure) in 2005 and to professor in 2011.

Yakel is known for work advancing archival practice, the use of primary sources in archives education, studies of data reuse practices, and digital curation. She is a member of the School of Information governing faculty and has been active in the instructional program, including teaching and mentoring master’s and doctoral students. In 2012, Yakel was awarded the Michael D. Cohen Outstanding Service Award at the School of Information. 

She has received numerous best paper awards, and in 2020 earned the Society of American Archivists Council Exemplary Service Award for her work developing Archival Metrics, a collection of standardized user-based evaluation tools and other performance measures for archives.

Established in 2014, this professorship was originally named for Robert M. Warner. It was renamed as the C. Olivia Frost Collegiate Professorship in Information in May 2021. C. Olivia Frost is a distinguished scholar in the area of knowledge organization and an early adopter of digitization technologies to not only organize but also increase access to information resources. 

Of particular note, Professor Frost was the principal investigator of the Cultural Heritage Initiative for Community Outreach (CHICO), funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, in which she partnered with museums, archives, libraries and K-12 schools developing pilot projects to demonstrate the potential of information and collaboration technology to broaden the reach of cultural heritage materials. Professor Frost viewed this project as a means to experiment with methods for providing contextualized content to increase awareness of different cultures and facilitate cross-disciplinary learning. As the associate dean, and then interim dean, of the U-M School of Information, Professor Frost was a strong leader who led with balance, straightforwardness and fairness. 

The collegiate professorship is for a five-year renewable term, effective July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2026.