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Ed Cortez

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School of Information Sciences
Emeritus Professor


Dr. Edwin-Michael Cortez is an emeritus professor and former director of the School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee. He joined the faculty in 2005 after serving on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for 17 years. Dr. Cortez has also been on the faculty of the University of Michigan, Pratt Institute, and the Catholic University of America, where he served as the acting dean.

During his career he has served two non-consecutive terms on the Committee on Accreditation, American Library Association, and as a member of the Middle States Accreditation Association. In the 1990s he was appointed as a Regent to the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health by Donna Shalala, who served as Secretary of HHS under the Clinton Administration.

While at the University of Wisconsin he served on the University Diversity Committee, the Search and Screen Committee for the Dean of Letters and Science and chaired the Advance Studies Committee for the School of Library and Information Studies, which has oversight responsibility for the doctoral program. Recent university service at the University of Tennessee includes membership on the search committee for the Dean of the College of Communication and Information, the search committee for the position of Provost, and chairmanship for the search committee for the Dean of the Graduate School. He is a member of the Global Advisory Committee which oversee the Ready for the World UT initiative and a member of the newly formed Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). Dr. Cortez was nominated and selected as participant in the University of Tennessee Leadership Institute.

Dr. Cortez’s research focuses on the interplay between information technology, organizational communication, and organizational effectiveness. His work has been at the forefront of information technology design and management, relying on ethnographic and social network theories. These developmental research approaches have been applied in a number of projects, including the REEIS initiative (Research, Education & Economic Information Systems) whose aim was to build a comprehensive web-based information system in the field of agriculture. For three years he was the principal investigator on the project, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Cortez has written several monographs and more than three dozen peer review journal articles and conference proceedings that describe and evaluate the management of information systems and technology from a variety of organizational perspectives. He has also been a frequent presenter at national and international conferences in the fields of information science and educational technology. His interest in the management of information technology and communications was developed while a doctoral student at the University of Southern California. His interdisciplinary expertise stems from studies at the Annenberg School of Communications, where he concentrated on techniques for assessing communication effectiveness within small and large organizations. The “audit” techniques he developed as a student have been part of his research agenda till this day.

The research program and activities outlined above have complemented well Dr. Cortez’s teaching experiences for almost 40 years. His courses focused on applied and theoretical approaches to the design, use, and evaluation of new media technologies for the production, distribution and consumption of information. These courses included information organization and access systems, information policy, corporate information agencies, information systems management, systems analysis, networking and database design, among others.


Ph.D., Information Science and Management Communication, University of Southern California
M.L.S., Library and Information Science, University of Arizona
B.A., History, Wagner College

Research Interests: 
The interplay between information technology, organizational communication, and organizational effectiveness
Information technology design and management
Ethnographic and social network theories
International Interests: 

Dr. Cortez is interested in IS education abroad particularly in establishing formal collaborative relationships with Universities in Spain, Africa, and the Caribbean. . His research has been widely published and has appeared in such journals as the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology and Information Processing and Management. He has also presented his work internationally at conferences in Australia, China, Croatia, France,Portugal, Spain, Italy, Africa, Hungary, Singapor, and the Caribbean.  

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