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Dr. Steve Sawyer to Receive 2021  Award of Merit

The Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) is delighted to announce that Dr. Steve Sawyer of Syracuse University is the recipient of the 2021 ASIS&T Award of Meritthe highest honor presented by the Association. The award’s purpose is to recognize an individual who has made particularly noteworthy and sustained contributions to the information science field. The award is based on 3 criteria: impact on theory, scholarship, and practice; exemplary leadership and sustained involvement; and education and mentoring.   

Dr. Sawyer is a Professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and a member of the Core Faculty in the University’s Renée Crown Honors Program. Sawyer also is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Association of Information Science and  Technology (JASIST).  

Dr. Sawyer received his D.B.Aand master's degree in Management Information Systems from Boston University. He also earned a masters in Ocean Engineering from the University of Rhode Island. Sawyer’s research builds on and advances social informatics (and, more broadly, socio-technical principles for studying information and communication technologies). This is done by focusing on social practices, collective action, the roles and functions of the technologies and systems of information sharing, and the institutional contexts in which these happen. Current research projects include: Distributed scientific collaborations, scientific data repositories, project-based (gig or freelancing) work and the technological skills (e.g., infrastructural competency and working on platforms) this requires, and new ways of organizing work. From his earliest published work in the 1990s to his latest publications, he has amassed an impressive body of scholarship 46 articles, three books, 28 book chapters, 37 refereed conference papers, more than 70 invited talks, and many other works.  

In his nomination of Dr. Sawyer for the award, Kevin Crowston Associate Dean for Research and Distinguished Professor of Information Science Syracuse University School of Information Studies said, “He demonstrates a commitment to the next generation of scholars and information professionals through his active involvement in a range of mentoring activities in his home institutions, through ASIS&T and beyond. The strong combination of information science research, service and teaching make Professor Steve Sawyer a most deserving candidate for the ASIS&T Award of Merit.”   

Of his experiences with Dr. Sawyer, Howard Rosenbaum, Professor of Information Science and Director of Graduate Programs Indiana University School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, stated, “I have co-authored with him and worked with him on various mentoring and other activities and can state unequivocally that he is a caring and generous teacher and scholar who has, in his quiet way, had a significant impact on our field though his research, teaching, and service work. He is certainly deserving of the ASIS&T Award of Merit.” 

In support of Dr. Sawyer’s nomination, Professor Kalpana Shankar of the School of Information & Communication Studies at University College Dublin said, “ASIS&T and the field of information studies owe much to Steve Sawyer, and I am personally grateful for his tireless championing of our discipline and our profession.”  

Echoing his colleagues on Dr. Sawyer, Dr. Wayne Lutters, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, remarked, “He has a distinguished career of sustained contributions to the theory and practice of the discipline, with a decades-long dedication to mentoring the future generation of scholars.”  

Upon learning of his selection as the 2021 Award of Merit winner, Dr. Sawyer said, “I am both surprised and honored by this recognition.  Appreciating the recognition of my colleagues, and the opportunity to be part of the information science community at this important point in our society’s history.” 

Dr. Sawyer will receive his award during the 2021 meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) which will be held October 29-November 2 in Salt Lake City, Utah.