The Future of Accredited LIS Programs by theregoesthatman


									The Future of Accredited
     LIS Programs
        Andrew Dillon
     School of Information
    The University of Texas
Main points
o   What is accreditation?
o   The current standards
o   The fault line problem in LIS thinking
o   Major background shifts we must understand
o   Information as experience
o   LIS as accelerating discovery

                                                 chool @ UT
What is Accreditation?
o   Voluntary system of evaluation of institutions and programs
     o based on self-evaluation and peer-assessment for improvement of
        academic quality and public accountability.
     o To assure that programs meet appropriate standards of quality and
     o Provides a credential to the public-at-large indicating that an institution
        and/or its programs have accepted and are fulfilling their commitment
        to educational quality.

                                                                           chool @ UT
Where are we?
o   56 ALA-accredited programs in LIS
     o 49 US/7 Canadian

     o 5/56 of these are „conditional‟

     o 22 schools closed

        o 30% of all LIS programs founded in North America

        o 14 alone between 1981-1994

        o Most recent being CAU in 2005

                                                     chool @ UT
1992 Standards
 o   Mission
 o   Curriculum
 o   Faculty
 o   Students
 o   Administration and Finance
 o   Physical resources

                                  chool @ UT
Example: Mission 1.1
o    A school's mission and program goals are pursued,
    and its program objectives achieved, through
    implementation of a broad-based planning process that
    involves the constituency that a program seeks to serve.
    Consistent with the values of the parent institution and
    the culture and mission of the school, program goals
    and objectives foster quality education.

                                                      chool @ UT
Example: Curriculum II.2
o   II.2 The curriculum is concerned with recordable information and
    knowledge, and the services and technologies to facilitate their
    management and use. The curriculum of library and information
    studies encompasses information and knowledge creation,
    communication, identification, selection, acquisition, organization
    and description, storage and retrieval, preservation, analysis,
    interpretation, evaluation, synthesis, dissemination, and

                                                                   chool @ UT
What‟s not to like?
o   Emphasis on planning, evaluation of performance and meeting of
    standards under six key areas
o   Each school is asked to present a case for its meeting of these
    standards every 7 years
o   Case is reviewed, program is visited, results announced
o   But is accreditation really about standards or status?

                                                               chool @ UT
2002 ALA Committee Report
o   Possible concerns
    o   DE
    o   Impact of technology
    o   Demands on faculty
    o   Diversity of programs
    o   Lack of benchmarks

                                chool @ UT
Or worse:
o   “The seductions of modern communications technology have led
    many library educators to concentrate on that technology and
    dismiss anything about libraries that is not amenable to a
    technological solution. This is a world in which fantastic schemes
    for virtual libraries and the worlds‟ recorded knowledge available on
    the Internet and the Web are presented as if they were real
    components of the short-term future….. We do not need these
    urban myths to be propagated in LIS schools….”
                                   o Michael Gorman, ALA President 2005

                                                                  chool @ UT
o   More than 1bn Internet users,
     o 2bn anticipated by 2015

o   100m adults in US use internet daily
     o Using Email ~ 50m

     o Search engine ~ 40m

     o Research ~ 21m

     o Watch video/music ~ 10m

o   40m users claim the internet is their primary source of scientific
    information (and 80% of these check the info for accuracy)
                          Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2006

                                                                       chool @ UT
Background shifts
o   Emergence of an expansive cyberinfrastructure
     o Network centralities, common or unique, on or off the net

o   Longer-lived population of potential lifelong learners
     o More diverse educational experiences

o   Leadership gap
     o 2:1 ratio of those leaving: those entering the workforce

o   99.9% of all new data is created digitally
     o And a user population comfortable with this

     o Concerns with curation, management, access are now widespread

                                                                 chool @ UT
Jim Neal, Columbia University, 2006:
o   “Academic libraries now hire an increasing number of individuals to fill
    professional librarian positions who do not have the master's degree in
    library science. Instead of appointing librarians with the traditional
    qualifying credential, they hire staff to fill librarian positions who hold a
    variety of qualifications, such as advanced degrees in subject disciplines,
    specialized language skills, teaching experience, or technology expertise.”
                o Library Journal, Feb 15th, “Raised by Wolves”

                                                                          chool @ UT
Libraries are new organizational forms
o   Members engaged in multiple and divergent tasks:
       o Fundraising, managing, marketing, teaching, and more….

o   Rank and role in flux

o   The “credentialed-pull” model is no longer optimal
         o Neither at hiring or service levels

                                                           chool @ UT
And who are we serving?
o   Users expect
    o Seamlessness

    o Self-sufficiency

    o Access anywhere anytime

o   While everyone is a user, many are“strikingly
    unaware” how search engines operate (Pew
    Internet Research, Jan 2005)

                                               chool @ UT
The problem of division
o   Technology v. traditional fault line is no longer
o   Pace layering is complicated                        FAST
     o Technology changes rapidly                              Fashion & Art
     o historical comparison not easily drawn                  Infrastructure
     o Human psychology changes slowly, if at all
o   LIS offers a unique perspective on these                   Psychology
    developments                                               Nature
     o But only if it overcomes the clichéd divisions

                                                                      chool @ UT
The Quality Crux
o   The standards are useful ONLY in as much as they can impact quality
o   What constitutes quality is rarely discussed!
o   But must include:
     o Core values: Information serves people and society

     o Understanding of politics and economics of info

     o Designing for a new learning ecology

                                                                     chool @ UT
Data is stored, information is experienced

                       arc of interpretation

               data            mediation   users

                      arc of exploration

                                                       chool @ UT
And LIS is about information
o   In particular: DISCOVERY -
    o   Enabling it
    o   Accelerating it
    o   Retaining it
    o   Providing opportunities for it
         o   Access, policy, funding, organization,
    o   And designing spaces for it
         o   Physical and digital

                                                      chool @ UT
LIS facilitates discovery
o the organization and presentation of data for
exploration and use
o the design of data-human interfaces that support

o the curation of data collections for quality and detail

over time
o the examination of the value of information in the

discovery process
o the examination of policies and procedures governing

access and use
o the support of dynamic ecologies for learning
                                                     chool @ UT
The LIS professional of 2020?
o   Educated through a university program
o   Trained in an information setting
o   Skilled in facilitating discovery
    o   Through management, technology and content

o   And still committed to the ethics of service

o   This is more than one degree can provide - but it is what a
    degree can enable

                                                          chool @ UT

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