Friday, February 8, 2008

Advisory Council Committee Meeting

The Advisory Council Committee consists of 25 working librarians, library directors, alumni, and faculty to advise the MLIS department about its future development.

Notes from February 7, 2008 MLIS Advisory Council Committee Meeting
Liz Cavert

Mary Wagner conducted the meeting and Laura Morlock took notes.
The following attended:
Jerry Baldwin
Margaret Gillespie
Karen Harwood
Katherine Hayes
Bob Horton
Peter Sidney
Deb Torres (faculty)
Joyce Yukawa (faculty)
Liz Cavert (student)
Erin Perry (student)

Update on program:
-86 new students for this term (Winter 2008)
-50 students graduated in Summer and Fall 2007 terms
-85 students left who will graduate as Dominican Students

Accreditation Update:
-we have the names of the members of the panel for the external review.
-the chair of the panel will receive the program presentation, send it back for clarifications, etc., then it will go to others.
-the standards for the accreditation are in draft form. Next steps are looking at the revised draft (through March). Then Marilyn Cathcart will edit the drafts and feedback into the program presentation.
-the April 28 Summit will have the program presentation available for public review.
-Summit is in Derham Hall, room 409, in the evening.

Open faculty position:
-2 students are needed on the panel to look at candidates
-meeting at the end of February about applications; possibly bringing someone here in March.
-new faculty will start next fall.

Mini-conference on March 2, 2008: Diversifying for the Future of Librarianship
-conference is an idea from input gathered at last year’s Summit: students need opportunities to develop skills for presenting and conferences.
-using a broad theme to encourage lots of interest.
-will start with a panel that was at MLA, talking about serving diverse populations.

Update on goals of the program:
-we are continuing on the path to accreditation and doing well.
-we wanted to develop a diversity plan. We are making progress on this and it will also figure into the program presentation.
-we will be needing to make some decisions about grading standards.
-we will be needing to make some decisions about student learning outcomes.

Calendar for the 2009-2010 year:
-once we are not DU anymore, we can make our own calendar.
-St. Kate’s would like the program to fit with an already operating calendar.
-do we want a January term with short, intense classes? Summer term? Summer terms?

-have been talking about how to screen candidates.
-have been participating in planning for “School of…” ideas at the college, but this has been put on hold by the College vs. University discussion.

Update on curriculum development and grant from David Lesniaski:
-we have a grant to revise the curriculum.
-the feeling is not to just add classes for big themes, like ethics.
-the current working idea is to have these 6 themes (ethics, leadership, critical inquiry, technological fluency, research methods, and diversity) run throughout the program, but be consciously developed as a student moves through. The learning would happen in a sequential manner; the basics of, for example, ethics, ethical theory/philosophy and how those relate to libraries would be covered in an introductory course, then other courses build on that and students work through ethical issues (“I think…”), and then later courses ask for more advanced ethical work (“I think this because of all I have learned and experience in these areas…”).
-the idea is to focus on how to teach, develop, and measure the qualities, skills and knowledge a professional should have.

The curriculum discussion led into a discussion on management and leadership and how these skills should be taught in the program. There were many points made on a large number of topics, so I will try to summarize some of the big ones.

Some wondered how much the program should focus on management when many graduates will not be in those positions for many years (issues with younger generations and their expectations of immediate responsibility came up). It was also mentioned that it can be hard to teach and talk about management in a way that is meaningful for a student body with such diverse backgrounds; some students have management or extensive other professional experience while some have just finished the undergraduate degree. Perhaps part of “management class” should also be learning how to be managed, since for many that may be the more immediately necessary skill.

There were many comments about evaluation and feedback, both self-evaluation and feedback from others. Related to this was the topic of collaboration. In the program, students do a lot of group work, but are we reflecting and getting feedback so that those experiences teach us something? When we give presentations, the feedback is often minimal; the instructor says the content was good for the assignment and the presentation was done well, and the classmates say, “Good job!” I have continued to think about this topic and I would like to see more feedback overall for these vital communication skills and more specific feedback. If the presentation was good, how so? If it was a group presentation, was I the stronger or weaker part of the presentation, and why?

In terms of evaluation, we also talked a lot about self-evaluation and where it should be in the program, especially in regards to management. The idea that I took away was that if we do more self-evaluation and exploration, we will know more about ourselves, our management and learning styles, and thus be better prepared to be managers and know where our strengths and weaknesses are. These kinds of activities can be useful to those new to the workforce and those with experience, since evaluation happens throughout the professional life.

Talking about these ideas led to the theme of lifelong learning, which the group as a whole seemed to agree was an important skill and value, especially for librarians. The professionals at the meeting felt that if students could all graduate intending to be lifelong learners, they would be better leaders, managers and employees.

We also touched on teaching and how students could learn to be good teachers and gain experience in this area. Teaching is one possible solution to the difficulties of the different backgrounds of the students; if ethics and leadership are core themes that should run throughout the program, students will experience or knowledge of these areas should get to share what they know.

There were many more ideas and comments - I simply couldn’t keep up with taking notes! It was definitely a very interesting conversation and one I hope students will get to be involved with more later on, as curriculum develops. Please post any comments or questions and I will do my best to respond or let you know who can answer you. I hope to get other summaries of the meeting posted as well, since these are just the themes and comments that stuck out for me and it’s an incomplete picture of all that we covered.

Opportunities for Students!

Several great opportunities for students came up in this meeting. Students are needed to help in the faculty search - it sounded like Marilyn Cathcart is the person to get in touch with if you are interested. Participation in the conference is also still open and is a unique chance to get some conference experience without having to travel or get too nervous! And in my experience, Mary Wagner and the faculty are always receptive to comments and input from students on any topic, so if you have something to add to the conversations about admissions, curriculum, or the calendar, talk to Mary or another member of the faculty.

1 comment:

St. Kate LIS SGO said...

Marilyn contacted us about going out to area libraries over the summer to talk about the LIS program. I think this sounds like a great idea and would love to explore it further.

What do others think?