The column-lined Reese Phifer Hall on The University of Alabama campus.

UA Names Butler Dean of Communication and Information Sciences

A headshot of Brian Butler
Dr. Brian S. Butler

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Dr. Brian S. Butler has been named the next dean of The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences and will begin his tenure July 1.

Butler comes to UA from the University of Maryland where he served as professor and senior associate dean of the College of Information Studies. As senior associate dean, he led the hiring and development of the college’s senior staff; helped create the college’s first undergraduate program, which is now the fourth largest major on campus; and oversaw the design and construction of facilities expansion that doubled the space available to the college. In addition, he served as the college’s interim dean from 2015 to 2016.

“Dr. Butler has demonstrated exemplary leadership in overseeing the transformation and growth of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies,” said Dr. James Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost. “I look forward to seeing his vision for our College of Communication and Information Sciences come to life as the college’s dean.”

Butler is the founding co-director of the University of Maryland Social Data Science Center, or SoDa. Created in 2019, the center provides education and research which enables effective, ethical and efficient use of social data throughout society. Butler facilitated faculty collaborations which resulted in $3 million in corporate funding for research in privacy, artificial intelligence and social data science.

Additional roles previously held by Butler at UMD include director of the Master of Information Management Program and director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information.

Butler’s research interests include the development and modeling of online communities and social media systems, interplay of power and information technology in organizations, and techniques for deploying complex information systems to support organizational performance, community resilience and individual well-being.

“The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences is nationally known for life changing educational programs and ground-breaking research, scholarship and creative work,” said Butler. “At a time when communication and information are increasingly central to the way we work, how we live and who we are, I am excited to be joining UA as the college’s dean and building on this tradition to grow the college’s reputation and impact as an international leader in these critical areas.”

Butler earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and computer science, and Master of Science and doctorate in information systems from Carnegie Mellon University.

The UA College of Communication and Information Sciences is a comprehensive multidisciplinary division in which teaching, research and service are focused on shared creation, presentation, dissemination, retrieval, collection, analysis and evaluation of messages and meanings in a variety of settings. The mission is supported by one of the country’s most diverse combinations of academic and service programs.


Bryant Welbourne, UA Strategic Communications,, 205-348-8325