One of the School of Information’s own graduates has returned as the director of career development.
Beth Hallmark brings more than 20 years of experience as a hiring manager and communications leader to the iSchool. She joined the team in September from Austin-based Hanger Inc., where she was director of public relations and communications.
Beth has interviewed hundreds of job candidates over the years and led diverse teams of information professionals in both the public and private sectors. Her mission in her new position, she said, is to “inspire, encourage, and connect” students and graduates with employers who are seeking the best information professionals.
"Inspire. Encourage. Connect."
1. Inspiring students to know the field of information is unlimited
“Information is a very broad description of a very interesting field,” Beth said. “There’s a challenge in articulating what it means, but it’s also a great opportunity because it can have so many different permutations in an incredible array of professions. I’m looking forward to inspiring students to see the potential of this field, the potential of the different types of jobs in this field, and the jobs that may not even exist today but are on the cusp of coming into reality.”
2. Encouraging students to see their greatness before they feel it
“I believe a really core facet of this role is to encourage and amplify students and their belief in themselves, and their belief and understanding of the value of what they are learning here. We live in the information age, and these are students in the School of Information. It couldn’t be a better match to what the world needs.”
3. Connecting iSchool graduates with the right employers
“When I think of what differentiates the School of Information, it’s that focus on the intersection of information and people. Information without a translator is not very useful. Students here are learning how to bring the human to that conversation, to ensure information works harder, to ensure that it is relevant. They are learning how to make information understandable, consumable, findable, digestible and useful. That requires a unique skill set.
“I used to come talk to iSchool students in my professional career in other jobs because I was looking for talent, and it was very hard to find people who could bridge those two worlds where you have information and technology on one side and the need to communicate with real people on the other. That’s where I see the students of this school bringing such value to the table.”
Beth earned a master’s degree from the iSchool in 2006. She wanted to be a librarian when she enrolled in 2002—the same year that faculty unanimously voted to change the school’s name from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science to the School of Information.
“I’m passionate about libraries and love libraries but I also fell in love with the evolving dynamics of information and technology,” she said. “I immediately amped up my career after graduating by applying what I learned to lead web and data design teams, which was an unexpected direction.”
A former deputy chief of information outreach and transparency for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Beth said she considers herself an early adopter of new technology, an approach that she has helped drive where she has worked. For instance, Beth brought the first social media campaigns to several state agencies and wrote what may have been the State of Texas’ first job description for a data designer. A champion of open government, Beth also led the comptroller’s award-winning fiscal transparency and open data initiatives. She has worked with iSchool students on a number of Capstone projects in the past and frequently interviewed iSchool students for job positions.
“I take the responsibility of my new position very seriously,” she said. “It’s not about just helping people find a job; it’s about helping people finding a calling and a career path that makes a difference – both in their life and in the world. The students and graduates from the School of Information are transforming our information-packed modern experience into something of real value and meaning.”