Professor Bajjaly retires, earns emeritus status

A headshot of Bajjaly.
School of Information Sciences Professor Stephen Bajjaly has announced his retirement after 15 years with Wayne State.

After more than 15 years of dedicated service to Wayne State University’s School of Information Sciences, Professor Stephen Bajjaly has announced his retirement.

Throughout his career at the School of Information Sciences (SIS), Bajjaly has made invaluable contributions, leaving an indelible  impact on the lives of both students and his colleagues. Bajjaly joined SIS in 2007 and served as associate dean and professor until 2018 when he stepped down from the position and returned to teaching as a member of the SIS faculty.

During Bajjaly's tenure as associate dean, the school underwent substantial growth and transformation. Increased enrollment and graduation rates under Bajjaly's leadership necessitated not one, but two name changes for the school. What was initially the Library and Information Science Program was elevated to school status at the university and became the School of Library and Information Science. In 2017, the school underwent yet another renaming to become the School of Information Sciences, which Bajjaly said at the time, “encompasses the full range of information professions and the degree programs that we provide that include, but also go beyond, traditional librarianship into information management and technology training."

Bajjaly helped to increase the school’s endowment to more than $1 million and led two successful reaccreditation efforts with the American Library Association’s Committee on Accreditation (in 2009 and 2016). He also spearheaded the development of the school’s online degree offerings, which expanded access to SIS programs for students across the state and country. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced university closures in early 2020, the school had already been offering degrees completely online for more than a decade and served as a role model for other university departments as they had to quickly pivot to offer courses remotely.

Bajjaly and his husband Jerry pose for a photo with SIS Professor Hermina Anghelescu.
Bajjaly and his husband Jerry pose for a photo with SIS Professor Hermina Anghelescu at Bajjaly's retirement celebration. 

“It was a huge undertaking because nobody at the university had created an entirely online program before. There was no existing infrastructure at all,” Bajjaly said. “It took an amazing amount of collaboration and teamwork.”

Bajjaly is perhaps most proud of his mentoring initiative that yielded unprecedented success in securing tenure and promotions for several of the school's faculty. Under his direction, five faculty members achieved tenure and were promoted to the rank of associate professor. These advancements laid the foundation for further promotions to full professor, which were successfully accomplished this year.

“Stephen has demonstrated a deep commitment to excellence during his time at Wayne State. His professionalism and expertise have been an inspiration to us all,” said Professor Hermina Anghelescu. “His contributions have helped to shape the future of the school. While we wish him all the best in retirement, his guidance and leadership will be greatly missed.”

Bajjaly’s contributions extend beyond Wayne State, as he made noteworthy impacts in the field of library and information science through his involvement with the Association for Library and Information Science Educators (ALISE). He was elected president of the organization’s board of directors in 2018 and served as a leader of the inaugural ALISE Leadership Academy. He also worked to revamp the ALISE Statistical Report, which annually catalogs the status of faculty, students, curricula and finances of library and information science schools and programs across the United States and Canada. 

In recognition of his achievements and contributions to the university, Bajjaly has been granted the esteemed title of Emeritus Professor by Wayne State Provost Mark Kornbluh. As an emeritus faculty member, Bajjaly will continue to be associated with the School of Information Sciences in an advisory capacity, retaining the rights and privileges associated with the appointment. 

In his retirement, Bajjaly is looking forward to traveling the world with his husband, Jerry, who recently retired from a legal career. They have already planned trips to Croatia and Turkey for this year.

“It's been a wonderful career,” Bajjaly said. “Nothing is nicer, I think, than knowing you’ve helped people realize their career dreams.”

A photo collage featuring images of retired Professor Stephen Bajjaly.

Photos (from left):
  • Stephen Bajjaly joined Wayne State’s School of Information Sciences in 2007.
  • David Ferriero, then Archivist of the United States, Sandra Yee, former dean of the Wayne State University Library System and SIS, and Bajjaly celebrated 50 years of Wayne State’s Archival program in 2011.
  • Bajjaly presented alumnus and current SIS Advisory Board member Lance Werner with the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
  • Bob Holley, former associate dean of the Wayne State University Libraries, Yee and Bajjaly in 2015.

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