About Kate McDowell
Kate McDowell studies storytelling as information research; data storytelling; social justice storytelling; health misinformation storytelling; and what library storytelling can teach the information sciences about data storytelling.
Current CV, updated spring 2023
Kate McDowell is Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.
Her research project Storytelling at Work, examined the role that story plays in professional life. What stories do we tell and what stories do we hear in the everyday world of work? When does a story make or break the success of a workday, a project, or even an organization? How can storytelling thinking improve our story structures, our telling, and our ability to connect? This multi-faceted research effort aims to understand how storytelling matters in the workplace.
Through interviews, talks, and workshops, she merges qualitative methods with action research, bringing concepts from narrative theory to new audiences, and workshopping stories for wide-ranging applications from university fundraising to water conservation to graduate student career success.
Previous research analyzed historical and innovative ways to engage young people with reading, learning, and exploring our information world, with a special emphasis on the art of storytelling as a means of engaging people of all ages. She has published articles in Library Quarterly, Library Trends, Children & Libraries, and Book History, and has several book chapters, including an examination of evolution in children's science books published in Culture of Print in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine. McDowell's research on the history of children's reading was funded by the University of Illinois Campus Research Board and awarded the Arnold O. Beckman Research Award. Her article "Surveying the Field: The Research Model of Women in Librarianship, 1882-1898" won the biennial 2010 Donald G. Davis award of the American Library Association's Library History Round Table.
McDowell has also co-PI on previous grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Closing the App Gap, which developed a model for combating summer reading losses by bringing tablet-based reading experiences to underserved populations during summer reading programs, and App Authors: Closing the App Gap II.
McDowell's students have frequently placed her on the List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by Their Students. In spring of 2018, she received the annual Excellence in Online & Distance Teaching Award from the University of Illinois, In fall of 2022, she received the international Outstanding Information Science Teacher award from ASIS&T.
Dr. Kate McDowell
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