Monday, September 29, 2008

MLIS Advisory Council Meeting

This meeting took place on Thursday, September 25, 2008. Below are my notes/my summary from the meeting. I'll try to get the minutes from the meeting and post those as well.
-Liz M.C. Scheibel, student representative to the Advisory Council

Meeting attendees:
6 librarians/information professionals from various libraries (including one via speakerphone)
Liz Scheibel, student
Mary Wagner, MLIS program director
Susan Shoemaker, faculty
Marilyn Cathcart, faculty

This meeting mostly went over the ALA Accreditation process. We went through the executive summary (I'll see if I can get an electronic copy to post) so that everyone knew what the highlights of our program presentation are. The coming visit from the committee for our accreditation was the topic of almost all of the meeting. Mary asked Council members to be prepared to talk to people from the committee (in response, there was a request that they could come and visit classes so that they knew more about the program - so you may see some professional librarians in your classes in coming weeks).

Another topic that came up regularly was continuing education and professional development. This is an area the program will be getting more involved in in the coming years. There is a program for a Certificate of Library Leadership that is being launched next fall.

Some updates: St. Kate's is becoming St. Catherine University. The MLIS program will be in a college/school with Education... and I didn't write down what else, but this group doesn't lend itself easily to a name, so it doesn't have an official name yet! We have one new faculty, Sherri Ross, and another coming in January, Sarah Park.

Mary Wagner mentioned that after getting accreditation, the department will be able to think about other things in ways they haven't been able to, since the accreditation has been taking up everyone's time and energy. She said we'll be able to think about the future in a way we haven't in a while (and as a future with ALA accreditation!), and she was really excited about that opportunity. Mary cited this as the challenge: how can we position this program in the national arena? I think that's a great question and a great direction - our St. Kate's degree has a lot of local respect, but it would be great if it was more widely known. This made me want to be involved in continuing to support our program after I finish - because my degree will get more valuable!

We also got an update on the curriculum development from Susan, who said it's still a lot of brainstorming and talking. Some of the questions that are big:
-What to do about research? Even those librarians who don't research themselves are consumers about research. How should this be in the curriculum?
-Incorporating how to use case studies in the curriculum.
-The capstone question: is it required? What about for those who already have lots of experience? How can it be formed so everyone has a capstone experience or project that is actually valuable to them, and not just a requirement? This issue has come up over and over again.
-Continuing education.

That's all I have. The meeting was really a prep for the accreditation visit, but I found it was also kind of a pep rally - in a good way! People were genuinely excited for this big event to come, because it's something we've been planning for and hoping for. And, we've reason to be pretty confident of success.

The session to prep students for the visit is October 6, I believe, so please come take part!

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