This program presentation highlights SLIS’s strengths and accomplishments, for example the grounded curricula for both master’s degrees and the range of specializations and dual degrees that prepare students for a variety of professional careers. The faculty responsible for these robust curricula have diverse academic and cultural backgrounds, and a relevant mix of professional and theoretical perspectives.
Areas for continued improvement are also evident; program review and assessment are increasingly prominent concerns within the profession and for Indiana University. The SLIS strategic plan will be reviewed periodically and enhanced to reflect emerging practices and needs. The yearly planning cycle has seen a few iterations since its adoption in 2007 and is becoming part of the school’s collective memory. Faculty members are now regularly assessing and analyzing student learning outcomes. The methods will assuredly be used with improved understanding in coming semesters and the findings will be incorporated into broader program assessments. In addition, the school will continue to explore and implement ways to measure and report success after graduation, as a component of overall program evaluation.
The Indiana University School of Library and Information Science draws on the strength and vitality of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the profession at large as it anticipates how the field will develop and contributes to that evolution. Historically, SLIS has demonstrated considerable flexibility in response to changes in university priorities. In the 1970s and ’80s, SLIS faculty taught courses on most of IU’s regional campuses. In 2001 SLIS responded to requests from IUPUI to base the MLS program more firmly on the Indianapolis campus. The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits Indiana University, “recognizes that change at institutions of higher learning is constant and it supports change to improve educational quality.” The ongoing evolution that is an essential part of academic life and institutional structures can offer ways to strengthen further the School of Library and Information Science.
The school’s commitment to professional education is its historic core. Collaboration with friends, professional colleagues, and alumni is evident throughout this program presentation, for example: the SLIS Alumni Board, Chi Chapter of Beta Phi Mu, Advisory Boards for the MLS and MIS programs, and generosity of myriad information professionals who have taught, supervised, and advised SLIS students. In addition, over the past six months, top administrators from the Indiana State Library have met with Dean Shaw to offer their advice. In December, she and Ronald Day, Director of the MLS program, discussed the needs of research libraries with four directors of ARL libraries: Brenda Johnson (Indiana University), James Mullins (Purdue University), Susan Gibbons (Yale University), and Brian Schottlaender (University of California San Diego).
In its report to the Committee on Accreditation, the 2005 External Review Panel noted that Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science is located on two campuses that “have somewhat separate yet intertwined purposes and values” (p. 6). A single school with feet on two different turfs is necessarily structurally complex. Such a school adjusting to changes in academic life, campus and university expectations, and a rapidly evolving profession surely challenges external reviewers and accreditors in 2012. We appreciate the care and attention that go into this review and stand ready to respond to questions as they arise.