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Welcome to Bharat Mehra’s web page

I am Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK). Broadly, my research philosophy and teaching practices bring in a deeper understanding of the users and their social and cultural contexts into library and information science education. Specifically, my work has focused on community informatics or the use of information and communication technologies to enable and empower communities to meet their needs and goals. This has involved creating awareness of social justice and social equity in the information professions for representing the needs of minority, disenfranchised, and international populations. For example, click on a summary table of my involvement in various research projects documenting the effects of technology on different ethnic and "marginalized" cultures of "difference."

Teaching and Research Interests

·         Diversity and Intercultural Communication, Social Justice in Library and Information Science, Critical and Cross-Cultural Studies, Community Informatics, Information Seeking Behaviors of Minority Populations, Qualitative Methods, Action Research, Public and Rural Library Management, Information Organization and Representation, Collection Development, Resources and Services for Adults, Grant Development for Information Professionals.

My growing up experiences in India created an awareness and acceptance of human diversity in its multiple forms of expression, thought, and action. My training as an architect at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, made me visually literate and sensitive towards human factors in design. In India, I worked in the vernacular spirit of architecture where I developed a respect for "local" traditions and cultural practices. Graduate education in the United States in the disciplines of Landscape Architecture and in South and Middle Eastern Studies helped me recognize the importance of cultural and behavioral factors in architecture and design, the role of public participation in the historic preservation-planning process, issues in community building and community development, and the need for participatory design in the creation of relevant social spaces.

During my Ph. D. in Library and Information Science, I gained experience in study of social-human factors, cultural informatics, community development, and internationalization of American academia. In my dissertation entitled “The Cross-Cultural Learning Process of International Doctoral Students: A Case Study in Library and Information Science Education” I propose a model of the cross-cultural learning process of international doctoral students in LIS education in terms of the following eight non-hierarchical phases:

Phase 0: Post-admission before the first semester starts

Phase 1: Program initiation

Phase 2: “Gathering” experiences

Phase 3: “Triggers” realization of differences

Phase 4: Dyslexic state of existence

Phase 5: Conditioned awareness comparison-contrast to “home”

Phase 6: “De-conditioning” of expectations based on the past

Phase 7: Enlightened adaptation

 

These phases represent significant cognitive (thoughts), affective (feelings), and physical (actions) aspects of the experiences of LIS international doctoral students. The research identified interventions at the level of individual student, faculty, doctoral student community, program, and discipline during each of the eight phases of students’ cross-cultural learning process that together needed to be applied holistically in conjunction with each other to further internationalization in American education.

 

As a faculty member in the UTK I plan to continue work with diversity and internationalizing issues, critical multiculturalism, and creating awareness in library and information science professions about the need for supporting proactive participation of disenfranchised individuals in the processes of information creation, organization, dissemination, and use. Such efforts will, I believe, help strengthen our service-oriented industry to become more actively involved in furthering democratic ideals of social justice and social equity in local and global communities.

 

***IN THE SPOTLIGHT***

Bharat Mehra and Donna Braquet. (2012). A Website Evaluation of the Top Public Universities in the United States to Assess their Offering of Domestic Partnership Benefits for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning People.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact Bharat Mehra

 

Location:

454 Communications Building, 1345 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996-0341

Phone: 865-974-5917
Fax: 865-974-4967
Email: bmehra@utk.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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