Abby Goodrum and Melissa Rethlefsen named DIS 2019 Outstanding Alumnae

The Department of Information Science is pleased to announce that Dr. Abby Goodrum (Ph.D. ' 97) and Melissa Rethlefsen (MLS '04) have been selected as this year's Outstanding Alumnae. The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes DIS graduates who have made an impact in the LIS field, and continues to highlight the Department's values and standards of leadership, innovation, technology, and collaboration. In honor of the department's 80th Anniversary, two alums were recognized this year.

Dr. Abby Goodrum received her Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of North Texas in 1997.  Her dissertation won the Information Science Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). She is currently Professor and Program Coordinator for the User Experience Design degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. Prior to this role, she was the Vice President for Research at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Abby Goodrum
              Dr. Abby Goodrum

Goodrum, who was nominated by Dr. Brian O’Connor, describes her as “brilliant, passionate, and accomplished.” With a note on her faculty profile page that reads 'I guarantee my students office hours for life', O’Connor believes she embodies UNT's student-centered ethos.

"I am honored to have been selected as an Outstanding alum. The Department of Information Science at UNT inspired a passion for research and academic excellence that has guided my work for over 20 years. The faculty there were more than teachers - they were mentors and colleagues and they were friends," stated Abby. "It was also inspiring and humbling to meet the recipients of this year's Rorvig fellowship.  These two young scholars, Miyoung Chong and Haihua Chen, ​are embarking on research careers that would have made Dr. Mark Rorovig (my thesis supervisor) very proud."

Prior to her appointment at Laurier, Dr. Goodrum held the Rogers Research Chair in News, Media, and Technology at Ryerson University in Toronto. She also held faculty positions at Syracuse and Drexel Universities. For over 5 years, Goodrum was the Director for Social Science Research in a $23M Canadian Centre of Excellence that served as both a research network and commercialization engine in order to address complex issues in digital media, and transform multidisciplinary research into user-centered solutions.

Her research bridges multiple disciplines and appears in the journal literature of computer science, humanities, communication studies, information management, and media studies. For more than 20 years, her research has focused on the study of how humans seek, use, share, manipulate, store, retrieve, and organize digital multimedia.

She has served on various research committees, management boards and boards of directors, including the Ontario Ministry for Research and Innovation, the National Science Foundation, Canada’s Technology Triangle, and the Canadian Digital Media Network.


Melissa Rethlefsen
          Melissa Rethlefsen

Melissa Rethlefsen (MLS ‘04) is considered “an exemplary graduate of the IS Master’s program,” by Dr. Ana Cleveland. She currently serves as Fackler Director, Health Science Center Libraries, and Associate Dean, Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida.   

"I am deeply honored to be recognized by UNT DIS as an Outstanding Alumna. The education I received as a member of the 2003 Minnesota cohort truly expanded my conception of what I could be as a librarian, and I will be forever grateful for my time in the program. Thank you so much for this unexpected honor," said Melissa.

Melissa’s leadership has been demonstrated on a number of occasions, and she has won several awards. She was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2009. In 2015-2016 she was selected to the highly competitive National Library of Medicine and the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries Leadership Fellows Program. In 2015, she and her coauthors were awarded the Medical Library Association (MLA) Research Section Award for a publication highlighting the critical role of librarians as co-authors of systematic reviews, the first research to show a correlation between librarian authorship and systematic review quality. In that same year, she received the Estelle Brodmann Academic Librarian of the Year. She served on the Board of Directors of the Medical Library Association from 2016-2018. She is the 2019 chair-elect of the Public Health/Health Administration Section and a member of the MLA Conference Planning Committee for 2020. 

Melissa is a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals-Medical Library Association. She has served as Interim Executive Director, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library at the University of Utah, where she led the Research Reproducibility 2016 Conference, and was the Section Director, Center for Clinical & Translational Science’s Systematic Review Core and adjunct instructor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. 

Melissa has published in the area of systematic reviews, and bibliometrics. She has 20 publications since 2009, with 13 works where she is the first or solo author. Her work is highly regarded and has been cited over 650 times, which demonstrates its impact in building the evidence base in medical librarianship.