Ruth V Small

Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor
Director, Center for Digital Literacy
Hinds Hall
(315) 443-4511
Ruth V Small - Curriculum Vitae

Ruth V. Small, Laura J. & L. Douglas Meredith Professor received her doctorate in instructional design, development, and evaluation and has been on the faculty of the iSchool since 1989. She is founding director (2003) of the Center for Digital Literacy, Center for Digital Literacy (CDL), an interdisciplinary, collaborative research and development center.

The mission of CDL is to explore the need for and acquisition of multiple literacies, develop tools to foster these literacies in a variety of contexts, and study the consequences of having or not having these literacies on children, youth, and adults. Since its founding in 2003, CDL has brought in close to $7 million in external funding and has fully or partially supported more than 75 graduate students from throughout the University. Ruth's current main project at CDL is Project ENABLE (Expanding Non-Discriminatory Access By Librarians Everywhere), providing training to librarians on ways to provide effective library and information services to students with disabilities. She has received three grants from IMLS for Project ENABLE.

Ruth’s research is in the application of motivation theories and models to a variety of information contexts. Ruth has received two national research awards for her scholarly work, the 2001 Carroll Preston Baber Research Award from the American Library Association and the 1997 Highsmith Research Award from the American Association of School Librarians. Her current research focuses on the motivational influences on and information resource needs of young innovators. She is also conducting research on the impact of training on librarians' ability to deliver effective services to students with disabilities. In 2013 she was named co-editor of School Library Research, the leading research journal in the school library field.

Ruth has received three awards for her teaching including the School of Information Studies Professor of the Year in 1996, Teacher of the Year from the Syracuse University Alumni Association and, in 2006 Syracuse University's highest honor, the Meredith Professorship for Teaching Excellence, the first and only iSchool recipient of this award.

Before coming to the iSchool, "Dr. Ruth" (as her students affectionately call her) worked as a college administrator, high school principal, librarian, teacher, and instructional design and evaluation consultant. Ruth is president of SMALL Packages, a consulting business specializing in motivational design and evaluation.


Research Interests

Ruth's research focuses on the motivational aspects of information use by both children and adults in a variety of contexts and has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications, including seven books, and served on the editorial boards of three professional journals, including serving as co-editor of School Library Research, the top research journal in the school library field.  For her work, she received the 1997 Highsmith Research Award from the American Association of School Librarians and the 2001 Carroll Preston Baber Research Award from the American Library Association. She has received funding for more than 20 grants from government agencies and foundations to study motivation in a variety of contexts.

Teaching Interests

Ruth has experience teaching in preK-12, higher education, and professional training programs. She has taught at every level a the iSchool (undergraduate, masters, doctoral) and has had students in her classes from every degree program (BS, LIS, TNM, IM, PhD and DPS), as well as several certificate programs and also from several other schools at S.U. Most of the courses Ruth teaches are related to the design and presentation of information. She is the creator or co-creator of several courses, including IST 444: Information Reporting and Presentation; IST 611: Collaborative Technology Projects in Educational Organizations, IST 617: Motivational Aspects of Information Use, IST 663: Motivating 21st Century Learning; and IST 662: Instructional Strategies & Techniques for Information Professionals. She also has developed and conducted an online academic component to the school media internships and a doctoral seminar entitled "Motivation, Information Systems, and Organizations." 

Ruth directed the LIS program from 1993-1996 and the school media program from 1990-2013, during which time she took the program from #10 in the nation (U.S. News & World Report) to #3 in 2013. She created and directed the iSchool's Summer Institute on Leadership & Change (now the Regnier Institute) from 1991 to 1996 and from 1993 to 1996 began the School's distance learning master's degree program in library and information science, the first web-based, limited residency program in library science in the U.S. She was voted the iSchool's 1996 Professor of the Year by the graduate students of the School and in 2004 Teacher of the Year by the Syracuse University Alumni Association. In 2006 Ruth was named a Syracuse University Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, the University's highest teaching honor.  

In 1999, Ruth was named Faculty Technology Associate for Syracuse University's Faculty Academic Computing Support Services, participating in presenting more than 25 workshops to faculty from colleges and universities throughout central New York. She presented her workshop on Motivating Students to the Teaching Assistants Orientation Program for the first seven years of its existence. Ruth has consulted and conducted workshops on motivation and evaluation for dozens of organizations and at professional conferences throughout the country and in South America and Asia.

Professional Interests

Ruth has directed dozens of research and evaluation projects. Her current projects focus on professional training for librarians in delivering quality services to students with disabilities, research on how and why a child becomes and remains innovative, and how the use of social media affects the motivation to learn. She has evaluated a wide range of educational programs, from the Department of Library Science at the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) to the Connecting Schools and Libraries Project of the Dewitt Wallace-Readers Digest Fund and from management training programs at Miller Brewing Company to Pappyland, the award-winning, nationally-broadcast (The Learning Channel) children's educational television program (for which she served as chair of the educational advisory committee and advised on scripts, including one which won an award equivalent to an Emmy).

Ruth has been an instructional design consultant to a variety of organizations, including Motorola, Central New York Regional Transportation Association, Tompkins County Community College, Renaissance Learning Systems, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT, and Bausch & Lomb. She also served as a research consultant to the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Personal Interests

I am an avid collector of everything from antiques to artwork and rocks to art books and am a bit of an amateur artist myself, enjoying painting and photography. I love to visit art museums, watch movies (particularly comedies), and play with my grandchildren.  When I have time, I love to knit (have been knitting since I was eight years old) and create original knitting patterns.

Teaching History

Fall 2015 IST617 M800Motivational Aspects/Info Use
Summer 2015 IST662 M800Instr Strgt & Tech/Info Profs
Spring 2015 IST663 M800Motivating 21st Cent. Learning
Fall 2014 IST617 M800Motivational Aspects/Info Use
Spring 2014 IST663 M800Motivating 21st Cent. Learning
Fall 2013 IST617 M800Motivational Aspects/Info Use
Spring 2013 IST663 M800Motivating 21st Cent. Learning
Fall 2012 IST617 M800Motivational Aspects/Info Use
Summer 2012 IST880 M540Intensive Seminar
Spring 2012 IST663 M800Motivating 21st Cent. Learning
Spring 2012 IST990 M001Independent Study
Spring 2012 IST990 U003Independent Study
Fall 2011 IST617 M800Motivational Aspects/Info Use
Fall 2010 IST617 M800Motivational Aspects/Info Use
Fall 2010 IST663 M001Motivation & Info Literacy
Fall 2009 IST617 M001Motivational Aspects/Info Use
Fall 2009 IST663 M001Motivation & Info Literacy
Fall 2009 IST663 M002Motivation & Info Literacy

Ruth V Small is the professor of record for these courses:

Course NumberTitle
IST617Motivational Aspects/Info Use
IST663Motivation & Info Literacy
IST663Motivating 21st Cent. Learning
no photo