Jon Gant is a leader in higher education who helps to make information and digital technologies accessible for everyone. He has published numerous research studies on the disparities in broadband adoption, the future of work and information technology, and advances in digital government. Most recently, his research and public engagement has focused on improving digital equity and inclusion in urban and rural communities worldwide, particularly to support human development and achievement, democratic engagement, and the transformation of communities and community anchor institutions.
As professor and dean of the School of Library and Information Sciences at North Carolina Central University, Gant has helped to double enrollment to over 330 graduate students. This 80-year-old school is the only accredited graduate program in the field offered by a historically Black college and university.
A member of the 2019-2021 Kettering Foundation Whisenton Fellows class, Gant used his fellowship to study new approaches in democratic engagement to help universities work in their communities to address digital equity disparities.
Gant served as the founding director of the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI) at the School of Information at the University of Illinois, where he and his team helped underserved households located in internet deserts in Champaign-Urbana connect to state-of-the-art high-speed internet services. He also served as the Research Director of the evaluation study of the federal Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP). Gant served previously on the Board of Directors for the Telecommunication Policy Research Conference (TPRC) on communications, information, and internet policy. Gant was appointed recently to the Federal Communication Commission's Communication Equity and Diversity Council which advances equity in the provision of and access to digital communication services and products for all people of the United States. He has served on advisory boards to the National Science Foundation, Federal Communication Commission, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to address the digital divide and broadband adoption.
Gant earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and received MS and PhD degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, where he trained in public policy, information systems, and strategy. He has held faculty positions previously at the University of Illinois, Syracuse University, and Indiana University. He and his wife Tracie A. Gant live in Durham, NC, where they are members of Union Baptist Church and participate in various ministries.