Barbara Sen’s RetirementBarbara Sen 2014

The Information School said goodbye to Barbara Sen in October as she began her retirement. Barbara joined the Information School in 2007 having previously been Senior Lecture at Liverpool John Moores and, prior to that, a practitioner in various Library and Information roles in the public and private sectors.

During her eight years in the School, Barbara’s contribution to our teaching has been outstanding. She has been an extremely popular lecturer who has used a wide range of activities and innovations to inspire her students. Her work on developing a model of reflective practice is a notable example of her creativity and impact in teaching, and also of the strong links she makes between research and teaching. Her model is incorporated as an example of good practice in the University’s Toolkit for Learning and Teaching and she has also delivered workshops and presentations on it to the practitioner community. Other innovations include the use of business case studies, practical exercises such as a “disaster recovery” task and the use of learning technologies such as e-portfolios.

She has shown a very strong commitment to enhancing student employability opportunities and encouraging students to get involved in professional networking. She has helped more than 25 students to attend external conferences and workshops, including the prestigious SLA conference in the USA. She has also encouraged students to publish the results of their dissertations and has co-authored over twenty peer-reviewed papers with Masters students. One student paper was translated into Spanish to have greater penetration in South American countries because of its relevance to library professionals there; another was awarded the HEA highly commended Graduate Impact Employability Award. She has also helped students to gain work experience while studying and has been responsible for negotiating part-time jobs with the University library and volunteer work with Sheffield Cathedral Archives as well as promoting the recently introduced internship scheme.

Barbara’s excellence in teaching has been recognised through a number of awards and award nominations including: the University of Sheffield Service Excellence Award in 2009; a nomination for a Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in 2011; being shortlisted for the Employability Award in the 2014 Students Union Academic Awards; and a Faculty of Social Sciences Award for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching in 2015.

Barbara has also been a very active researcher. She gained her PhD in the area of market orientation with her research involving working with practitioners to explore the complexity of strategic focus in the public sector. She has over 30 publications in refereed journals including Journal of Library and information Science, Journal of Documentation, Health Information and Libraries Journal, Library Trends and Information Research and her research has been highly commended in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence in both 2007 and again in 2015.

Barbara has also been heavily involved with professional associations at various levels: local (organising events such as the South Yorkshire Professional Partnership with SINTO); national (e.g. NHS Strategic Health and Library Leads Staff Development Group); and international (e.g. the EAHIL project). She has been a frequently invited speaker, particularly for her expertise in reflective practice and strategic marketing. Her consultancy work has included a service review of the Health and Safety Executive and work with the University of Bergen on information literacy strategies. She is External Examiner at Aberystwyth University and has recently taken up an external examining role at Robert Gordon University (so she hasn’t quite retired yet!). She has been on the organising committee of the International Symposium for Health Information Management Research (ISHIMR) for several years including coordinating the Doctoral Forum in Switzerland (2011), Sweden (2009), and New Zealand (2008).

The above are just highlights of the enormous impact Barbara has had on her students and the profession. She has also made important contributions to the leadership and management of the School, especially in Learning and Teaching, and has been an excellent colleague. She will be sorely missed by staff and students alike and we wish her a very happy retirement!