Standard IV: StudentsNote
Note: Data for this chapter were compiled with assistance from the IU Office of University Planning, Institutional Research, and Accountability (UPIRA). Current semester data were developed using the University Registrar’s Office queries through the IUIE (Indiana University Information Environment). Data management analysts from the Registrar’s office run the queries and produce data SLIS uses for the Students section of the ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) Annual Statistical Report. SLIS benefits from Indiana University’s progressive approach to the collection and security of student data.
The school formulates recruitment, admission, financial aid, placement, and other academic and administrative policies for students that are consistent with the school's mission and program goals and objectives; the policies reflect the needs and values of the constituencies served by a program. The school has policies to recruit and retain students who reflect the diversity of North America’s communities. The composition of the student body is such that it fosters a learning environment consistent with the school's mission and program goals and objectives.
The SLIS faculty as a whole formulates, reviews, and revises policies for student recruitment, admission, financial aid, placement, and other matters. Committees of the faculty, including the Admissions and Scholarship Committee, the Curriculum Steering Committee (CSC), and the Faculty Policy Council (FPC) discuss proposed changes and bring proposals to faculty meetings for further discussion and decision. Examples of this formulation and review process include:
- Requirement for students to arrange reliable Internet connections: reviewed by CSC, voted on by faculty, and added to the school’s Bulletin in 2010.
- Change in grade requirement for a core course to count toward the master’s degree (minimum grade changed from C to B-): reviewed by CSC, voted on by faculty, and added as a program requirement for students matriculating in fall of 2011.
- Creation of dual degree programs with the Department of Central Eurasian Studies specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Services, which were reviewed by CSC, voted on by faculty, and added to the program in 2010.
- Revision of existing specializations, such as Digital Libraries and Archives, reviewed by CSC, voted on by faculty, and added to the program in 2009.
- Renumbering SLIS courses to provide greater topical and level consistency, initiated in CSC discussions with faculty, reviewed by CSC, and approved by the faculty in fall 2006 (see Chapter II, section Developing New Courses, Renaming and Removing Courses from the Curriculum).
As outlined in Chapter I, SLIS is what Indiana University terms a “core school,” with a presence on the university’s two core campuses. The school reflects each campus’s mission, to serve different populations and purposes. SLIS Bloomington is oriented toward a mainly residential, full-time, and often out-of-state and international student population. SLIS Indianapolis focuses on primarily an Indiana-based and employed population. The SLIS Admissions and Scholarship Committee applies the school’s admissions standards consistently across the two campuses.
All SLIS students construct their programs of study of following the same policies. Examples of how students find assistance in moving through the program include:
- The unified SLIS internship website provides consistent advice and interns, regardless of their home campus, with the same procedures, expectations, and due dates.
- Both campuses provide administrative support and offer required and elective courses in the summer, so that summer functions as an equal “third semester” for the students taking classes year round.
Data Resources at Indiana University
SLIS is fortunate to have the support of Indiana University’s world-class technology infrastructure (see Chapter VI). Support of student and alumni data needs begins with the “eApp” online admissions application. Current students’ registration and financial aid activities are handled through PeopleSoft’s Student Information System (SIS). The Advancement Information System maintains alumni and donor records. Data move seamlessly from one stage to the next as a student progresses through the program. SLIS has access to reports and support from institutional offices. Data for the charts included in this report were compiled with assistance from the IU Office of University Planning, Institutional Research, and Accountability.
Student Recruitment, Retention, and Communication
The school’s website is a portal for prospective students; the overall SLIS website has information on admission and links to sites specific to SLIS at each campus. From these campus-specific sites, prospective students can investigate career options, look at course offerings and syllabi, contact the school, and apply for admission.
SLIS news stories on the websites help prospective students appreciate the activities of current faculty and students and gain a sense of the range of careers that alumni are pursuing with their SLIS degrees. From December 2005 through December 2010 (five years) SLIS published 1,156 news stories. They have been reposted on university listservs and publications, professional listservs, and the SLIS Facebook page (established June 2009).
SLIS recruitment efforts build on connections with the university, professional associations, alumni, and employers. Rhonda Spencer, Director of Admissions and Placement, has been at SLIS for 14 years. Her extensive experience helps the school’s recruitment efforts to reach potential students at the point of inquiry (or need) – for example by mailing recruiting materials to undergraduate career counselors at regional universities. SLIS alumni and professional associations also help reach the people who are likely to encounter students interested in careers as information professionals. Participation in association directories of educational programs, such as the RBMS’s Educational Opportunities: A Directory is an example.
Since the 2005 reaccreditation review, SLIS has worked to recruit a more diverse group of students. Initiatives include recruiting a culturally diverse Alumni Board, selecting DeLoice Holliday as Diversity Liaison for Admissions and Alumni Relations, and working to recruit minority students at the campus, university, and CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation - university consortium) levels. The IMLS-funded Indiana Librarians Leading in Diversity (I-LLID) project is another example (see section Nature of the Student Body). Here again the collaboration of SLIS faculty and staff on both campuses with regional librarians is evident; Marcia Smith-Woodard, the project’s prime mover, is the Institutional Grant Consultant at the Indiana State Library. I-LLID students were so pleased with their experience that, on their own initiative, they nominated Ms. Smith-Woodard for the Special Services Award from the Indiana Library Federation.
SLIS Network, the alumni magazine, is published twice a year. Recent issues (since fall 2009) are also available online. The magazine’s goal is to encourage alumni interest in, and support of, the school. The SLIS alumni listserv and receptions at professional conferences have a similar function; the school’s alumni play an active role in recruiting students, providing internships opportunities, mentoring, and assisting in job placement. Building alumni relations has long been a priority – a way for the school to get advice and feedback, and also to reach potential new students who work with or know SLIS alumni. Since 2005 SLIS has held alumni receptions at more than 60 events nationwide, ranging from the American Library Association, Association of American Law Librarians, and the Public Library Association to the Ohio Valley Group of Technical Services Librarians, the Indiana Library Federation, and the Kentucky Library Association.
Persistence rates for master's students in both degree programs and on both campuses is consistently above 90%, often considerably higher. The high retention rate is evidence that the school’s admission requirements and procedures are working well. Table 4.1 shows the numbers of graduates from 2005 through 2011.
SLIS has been intentional in developing and maintaining a mix of support structures to assist students entering and working through their master’s degree programs. The SLIS website’s links to information, for example about financial aid and student jobs, assist students investigating their options. Faculty advisors and SLIS administrative staff often receive initial inquiries and help applicants and enrolled students work through the steps for application, program planning, and registration. Other resources help students accomplish the move to professional status: student chapters of professional associations (see Appendix 4.1), workshops by the University Libraries and University Information and Technology Services and the SLIS Career Services Office (see section on Standard IV.2) are examples.
SLIS administrators and staff monitor statistics on enrollment to gauge the number and range of courses to offer. The university’s responsibility-centered approach to budgeting (see Chapter V) means that steady enrollment is important to the school’s financial well-being. Enrollment numbers and trends are critical input for the school’s planning process (see Chapter I). Figure 4.1 shows the enrollment in both master’s degree programs on both campuses. Figures 4.2 and 4.3 show the trends for Bloomington and Indianapolis, respectively.
Nature of the Student Body
The school has adopted a broad definition of diversity:
The Indiana University School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) strives to make all students feel welcome. Saying that we value diversity is a way to say that we want students to feel welcome–all students–from all backgrounds. We want to create an educational atmosphere that is inviting, respectful, and that values human dignity and individuality.
SLIS seeks to attract and support students with diverse backgrounds from the state, the nation, and internationally. The flexible scheduling and online offerings provided at the Indianapolis campus allow place-bound students to pursue an MLS; this is especially helpful for students from the more culturally diverse areas of the state–particularly Northwest Indiana (Gary area)— and is also useful for example, for support staff from the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library system.
The Indiana Librarians Leading in Diversity (I-LLID) project has provided substantial support for students from diverse backgrounds. The project is endorsed by the Indiana State Library’s Diversity Advisory Council, Academic Libraries of Indiana, Administrators of Large Public Libraries in Indiana, the Indiana Black Librarians Network, the Indiana Library Federation, and the Indiana Special Libraries Association. Funded through a $1 million IMLS grant running from 2008 through 2011, I-LLID awarded 30 fellowships to students (10 at Bloomington, 20 at Indianapolis). Scholarship recipients received tuition, an annual stipend, and funding to attend professional conferences; recipients agreed to work in an Indiana library for at least two years after graduation. As of August 2011, twelve I-LLID graduates have been placed in professional positions. One of these new librarians, employed at the Indiana School for the Blind, had been working with a student for several months before she noted that, like herself, her librarian was African American. Associate Professor Marilyn Irwin, who directed SLIS’s part in I-LLID remarked, “One of my goals was to have a corps of multicultural librarians so children from diverse backgrounds could see themselves reflected in the librarians. It didn’t dawn on me that [these] students wouldn’t immediately have that same degree of recognition.”
As with overall enrollment trends, information on SLIS students’ ethnic backgrounds and gender feeds into the school’s planning cycle (see Chapter I) and provides feedback on student recruitment efforts. Figure 4.4 shows the ethnic backgrounds of SLIS master’s degree students over the past five years. The impact of I-LLID in increasing the number of U.S. students from diverse backgrounds is clear.
Figure 4.4. Ethnic backgrounds of SLIS master’s degree students
Enrollment in SLIS master's programs continues to be predominantly female. The past five years' data (Figure 4.5) show an increase in the percentage of male students (21% to 27%). This occurs in synch with a small decline in the percentage of students in the MIS program (Figure 4.1). The recent decline in international students reflects a national trend; it appears to be reversing with 2011 data.
Figure 4.5. Gender of SLIS master’s degree students
Current, accurate, and easily accessible information on the school and its program is available to students and the general public. This information includes announcements of program goals and objectives, descriptions of curricula, information on faculty, admission requirements, availability of financial aid, criteria for evaluating student performance, assistance with placement, and other policies and procedures. The school demonstrates that it has procedures to support these policies.
The school and university are moving away from printed documentation, relying instead on electronic sources that are archived regularly. Providing this information on the web greatly increases its accessibility to the general public, prospective students, current students, faculty, and alumni. The school provides accurate and accessible information through its bulletin, which the university maintains and makes available; what used to be a print publication is now primarily distributed online ( SLIS Bloomington 2011-2013 Bulletin SLIS IUPUI Bulletin). SLIS also finds online delivery the more effective way to provide easy access to accurate and up-to-date information. The school’s websites are the key delivery vehicle.
As described in the Section on Student Recruitment, SLIS’s web presence is comprehensive and coordinated. The campus-specific sites provide information on the school and on the programs available at each site. Each campus’s site links to the other campus, and to the shared SLIS Home web page.
- Program goals and objectives and curricula (degree requirements):
- Information on faculty:
Faculty information is linked through the “People” heading on each website. The standard content – name, title, degree, courses taught, research interests, and link to the faculty member’s homepage. Faculty members can update their own profiles.
- Admission requirements:
- Financial aid:
- Practical information for student life on each campus is also provided, such as the Indianapolis student survival wiki and a Bloomington Orientation Guide.
- Criteria for evaluating student performance:
- Bloomington student evaluation
- Indianapolis student evaluation
- The SLIS faculty have adopted and follow a uniform definition of letter grades, posted publicly and either incorporated into syllabi or linked from them. Full syllabi are available for all courses taught, with information about assignments, textbooks, and other requirements.
- Assistance with placement:
- Bloomington placement assistance
- Indianapolis placement assistance
- The SLIS-JOBS-L listserv has approximately 500 subscribers, both current students and alumni. Postings include job and internship descriptions, career fair announcements, and other relevant items. The moderators monitor sources tailored to Bloomington and Indianapolis as well as lists that receive both local and national position announcements. On occasion SLIS offers programs and workshops for job seekers, such as résumé writing and interviewing skills; advisors also assist students in preparing materials for job applications. The student group of the Special Libraries Association has held annual “round robin” résumé review sessions open to all SLIS students.
- In 2010 the school established a SLIS Career Services Office in Bloomington. Master’s students, in particular, had asked for guidance and a way to pool their knowledge as they begin their professional careers. The student career analysts (hourly employees) post position announcements, provide sources for guidance, conduct practice interviews, and maintain the career pages on the SLIS websites, which provide links to job ad aggregators that cover library and information science. The Career Services Office has space that can be reserved for telephone or Skype interviews or student group meetings. This office is an example of how data gathered from various sources for the school’s planning activities work together: student comments to faculty and administrators as well as suggestions from the surveys by the Curriculum Steering Committee provided evidence of the need, to which the SLIS administration responded. At Indianapolis, career guidance is provided via websites, through contacts with advisors and adjunct professors who have ties to the practitioner community, and with co-curricular sessions on career paths and on job-hunting skills. The Chi Chapter of Beta Phi Mu International Honor Society hosts an annual Career Forum, among other student support initiatives.
- Other policies: The websites also provide details on dual degree programs, with links to the collaborating schools and departments; university support services through the Registrar (which supports the university’s instructional mission with course registration, transcripts, etc.); university libraries; Oncourse, the university’s online collaboration and learning service; and OneStart, the portal for online services.
Standards for admission are applied consistently. Students admitted to a program have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution; the policies and procedures for waiving any admission standard or academic prerequisite are stated clearly and applied consistently. Assessment of an application is based on a combined evaluation of academic, intellectual, and other qualifications as they relate to the constituencies served by a program, a program's goals and objectives, and the career objectives of the individual. Within the framework of institutional policy and programs, the admission policy for a program ensures that applicants possess sufficient interest, aptitude, and qualifications to enable successful completion of a program and subsequent contribution to the field.
Admission standards for the Master of Library Science program on both campuses and for the Master of Information Science program in Bloomington are identical. Applicants are accepted if they have at least a 3.0 GPA (out of 4.0) for their total undergraduate program (or 3.2 in graduate courses), three letters of recommendation, and an acceptable essay addressing career goals. Applicants provide evidence their undergraduate GPA from an accredited U.S. institution or the foreign equivalent; equivalency is evaluated with assistance from the campus office for international admissions. Applicants with GPAs below 3.0 may submit GRE or GMAT scores as evidence of capacity to learn at the graduate level. These applicants may also provide an explanation of unusual circumstances in their educational preparation in their essays on career goals.
International applicants must also submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test results (100-internet based, 250-computer-based, or 600-paper-based) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores (minimum of 500 verbal, 500 quantitative, and 4.5 writing) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores (minimum 31 in each area).
Students are admitted and can matriculate three times a year: in August, January, and June. In Bloomington, the director of admissions coordinates the admission process; in Indianapolis the executive associate dean oversees the process, which is handled by the admissions staff. In both cases staff members apply the same standards. Exceptional cases or appeals of denials are referred to the SLIS Admissions Committee members on each campus. Denial on one campus constitutes denial on both.
Successful applicants are accepted as regular students, as non-degree-seeking students, or as degree-seeking students on probation. Non-degree-seeking students who are subsequently accepted into a master’s degree program can transfer up to six credits of SLIS course work toward their degrees. Figure 4.6 shows the number of students enrolled in all categories and degree programs on both campuses.
Figure 4.6. Enrollment in all SLIS degree programs (Fall 2010)
Detailed information on admission practices is available to the external reviewers through the SLIS administrative offices in Bloomington and Indianapolis.
Students construct coherent programs of study that allow individual needs, goals, and aspirations to be met within the context of program requirements established by the school. Students receive systematic, multifaceted evaluation of their achievements. Students have access to continuing opportunities for guidance, counseling, and placement assistance.
Coherent Programs of Study
Several resources help SLIS students construct coherent paths through their master’s degree programs:
- program goals align with required courses, assuring that all students gain a broad understanding of the field
- specializations require targeted courses (or a choice from a carefully developed list of courses), which prepare these students to be effective in more specific career paths
- elective courses provide opportunities for exploration as well as specialization
- career guides on the SLIS suggest courses that will help students prepare for specific careers
- general advice and academic advisor input support students as they progress through the program.
Chapter II provides details on MLS and MIS program outcomes, mapping of core and elective courses to program outcomes, and the range of available specializations and dual degrees. In each case, required courses provide a basic, common foundation to all students pursing a degree.
In 2005 the Curriculum Steering Committee and ultimately the entire faculty were involved in the complete renumbering of SLIS courses (see Chapter II, Section Developing New Courses). Faculty members encountered many instances of student confusion about course sequencing and undertook this bold step in response. “Of course they can figure out that L524-Information Sources and Services should be take in the first semester of the MLS program – we tell them so” changed to observations of how easily incoming students understood the importance of taking S501 - Reference in the first semester. Student comments in surveys by the Curriculum Steering Committee were a major impetus to reviewing course titles and renumbering all courses.
The Curriculum Steering Committee reviews all specialization and dual degree requirements, which are subsequently approved by the faculty as a whole. Each specialization has a director, either a full time SLIS faculty member or an experienced adjunct who is a specialist in the particular field. The director generally advises the majority of students in the specialization and maintains contacts with employers and others knowledgeable in the field. When appropriate, the director proposes updates and revisions to the requirements as the field changes; proposals flow through the Curriculum Steering Committee and then to the faculty as a whole for approval. Differences in specializations between campuses rest upon the resident expertise to teach advanced courses and the availability of specialized resources and opportunities in Indianapolis and Bloomington. Requirements do not differ between campuses.
Elective courses allow students to pursue their individual interests. Because no one is required to complete a specialized degree, all students have great potential flexibility beyond the fifteen credits (5 courses) of core requirements for the MLS degree and the 21 credits (7 courses) required for the MIS. Some elective courses are offered frequently (two or three times a year), and others less, according to students’ expressed demand and past enrollment numbers. The Curriculum Committee’s annual surveys of students on each campus feed into this planning process, giving the associate deans information about student interests. Semester schedules are available a year in advance, allowing students to plan how best to take advantage of courses that are offered less frequently.
Special topics and workshop courses are added to the schedule to respond to student needs. For example, the Indianapolis campus developed a Consumer Health Informatics course and the Bloomington campus offered one on public library programming. Students who come to the program with extensive library experience or from a career outside of the field appreciate the opportunity to pursue advanced studies through specialized electives. This approach to complementing, rather than duplicating, a student’s strengths and interests, is possible because the faculty have specifically chosen not to prescribe more courses or credit hours for all students.
The SLIS web-based career guides offer advice about designing a useful set of courses to meet a student’s needs and career goals. The websites also provide advice about courses that will be particularly useful for students interested in different areas, such as technical services, academic librarianship, and children’s services (see Chapter II, Student Advising). Students also seek advice from their advisors which courses to take, and how to fit together the required, prerequisite, and elective courses. Although advising is not technically required, it is readily available. Advisors meet with students in person, by telephone, via e-mail (especially useful for students living in other parts of the state). Advisors’ notes can be added to a student’s SIS (online) academic record, thus allowing advice to be shared among the student, administration, and others involved in the student’s success. Advisors are specifically involved in internship applications, which require an advisor’s signature that the internship suitably addresses that student’s educational and career goals.
Evaluation of Student Achievements
All courses incorporate evaluation, some of it tied to the learning outcome goals to be achieved in the course. Syllabi include clear and relevant descriptions of both course content and of how student work will be evaluated. Faculty members often supplement these descriptions with more specific requirements and expectations for assignments. A range of goals, appropriate to the different courses, is assessed, using a variety of methods. Evidence of student achievement is provided, for example, in teamwork, oral presentations, written papers, tests/exams, and computing projects. The course instructor selects appropriate means of evaluation: rubrics describing expectations for assignments, written or oral feedback, and resubmission of drafts are some of the methods used to provide the instructor’s assessment to the student. In addition to oral and hand-written feedback, the Oncourse course management system supports an online gradebook, which provides additional ways to record feedback for students.
The Chi Chapter of Beta Phi Mu presents an annual Award for Student Scholarship to a master’s student from class work nominated by SLIS faculty members. The chapter Executive Board evaluates the papers and projects on their contributions to scholarship in library and information science. Winning papers are available on the Chi Chapter’s website. Faculty members have compiled other examples of outstanding student work. These are available to external reviewers at a password-protected site.
Guidance, Counseling, and Placement
Upon admission, each SLIS student is assigned a faculty member as his or her academic advisor, who is generally selected with consideration of the career goals and interests expressed in the student’s application. The advisor’s name and e-mail address are provided in the acceptance letter. This faculty member helps orient students to librarianship and information science professions, acts as an initial welcoming contact, and can (and usually does) continue as the student’s academic advisor. Students consult their advisors about course selection and career planning. A common point of contact is pre-registration advising, especially as students move beyond the required courses and start to fit their emerging career plans with the options for elective courses. Advisors also discuss career options, review résumés, and provide references when appropriate. Specialization directors and coordinators, who are experienced and highly-regarded information professionals, advise students in their areas and also provide essential connections to internships, professional networks, and the “understood” knowledge of their areas of specialization (see Chapter III, Lecturers and Program Directors).
Extensive orientation materials are mailed to newly admitted students and SLIS staff work with them prior to their arrival on campus. The school provides information on early registration, setting up computer accounts, acquiring ID cards, initial course planning, and becoming acquainted with the campus and town. In-person orientation sessions provide general information about the school and campus, library resources, and information technology. In the fall semester, faculty members present additional introductory sessions on their teaching areas. Students regularly comment on the approachability and helpfulness of SLIS faculty and staff. Rhonda Spencer, Director of Admissions and Placement, emphasizes that the school’s statement on diversity is the basic approach for all interactions with the public: “we want students to feel welcome–all students–from all backgrounds.”
Listservs provide postings of available jobs; Indiana employers know that SLIS represents an excellent, low-cost way to attract strong candidates. On each campus, student groups (and others, such as the Chi Chapter of Beta Phi Mu) hold workshops on topics such as résumé writing, careers in different areas or interviewing skills. SLIS websites also present career information, as well as listings of and links to the most important and largest job source sites (Bloomington job links and Indianapolis job links).
The IU course management system, Oncourse, includes a personal files space (“My Workspace”) and an electronic portfolio creation tool. These allow students to create presentation portfolios with stable, accessible links that can be provided to potential employers. Access to Oncourse and these resources remains active for five years after graduation. Students also tap into the network of SLIS alumni, who are generous with their time and advice in their roles as adjunct faculty, internship supervisors, advisors to student groups, speakers at career forums, and in myriad other ways. SLIS alumni have a distinguished record of contributions to the field (see Appendix 4.2) and students can read examples of recent job successes on the SLIS website. SLIS News stories also include alumni profiles.
The school provides an environment that fosters student participation in the definition and determination of the total learning experience. Students are provided with opportunities to form student organizations and to participate in the formulation, modification, and implementation of policies affecting academic and student affairs.
Student Participation in the Learning Experience
Students participate in defining their learning experiences through: 1) course selection and planning, 2) committee membership, 3) structured feedback (surveys, forums, teaching evaluations), 4) student organizations (see Student Organizations and Policies on Student Affairs), and 5) self-designed learning (independent studies, etc.).
Course selection and planning
As graduate students in a professional program, SLIS students have demonstrated considerable familiarity with academic programs and an ability to seek out educational opportunities that will fit their needs. Application essays describe a wide range of interests and, from their first orientation session, SLIS faculty and staff try to encourage students to consider and explore new challenges and career options. Working within the requirements for the degree program and any areas of specialization, each student chooses which courses to take, from which instructors, and in which sequence. These decisions are typically made after reviewing information on course content and scheduling from the SLIS website, in consultation with faculty advisors, through discussion with peers, and with advice from mentors beyond the classroom – practicing professionals, SLIS alumni, adjunct faculty, and others.
Master’s students are participating members of two SLIS committees: the Curriculum Steering Committee and the Information Technology Committee. Each committee has one MLS student member from Indianapolis, one MLS student member from Bloomington, one MIS student member (from Bloomington), and one doctoral student. These students are full members of the committees, receiving all background materials and commenting on matters before the committee. Committee meetings may be entirely in-person, teleconferenced between the two campuses, or with telephone participation; this flexibility makes it easier for more people to participate, helping to ensure that discussions incorporate multiple perspectives.
Student members of the Curriculum Steering Committee manage the annual solicitation of student comments about curricular matters. For many years the Bloomington campus has had in-person open forums supplemented by e-mail comments; the Indianapolis campus has used online surveys with open-ended questions. The Bloomington campus adopted the online format in 2011. Response rates have been high for the online survey, with 42 in 2009 then 75 in 2010 and a total of 165 in 2011 (75 Bloomington, 90 Indianapolis). Responses are anonymous; the student CSC members compiled the results and remove any wording that might identify the respondent.
The report on the survey goes to the CSC, which includes the associate deans on each campus. Topics addressed include both cross-school and campus-specific issues. A frequent suggestion is for more frequent offerings of one course or another; the associate deans use this student feedback in conjunction with historical enrollment data to plan for future semesters. S401, the basic computer skills course for MLS students, is another frequent topic. S401 is a program requirement, intended to ensure that all MLS students achieve a level of proficiency with computing technology that will allow them to more easily handle technological requirements in advanced courses. The course’s form and content have varied slightly between the campuses, reflecting different computer systems in use, the typical skills possessed by incoming students, when new software is adopted, and the need for an online version the course in Indianapolis. The 2011 revision of the course integrates feedback from the student survey, as outlined in the SLIS planning process. The associate deans also pay close attention to survey results that reflect on instructors’ teaching effectiveness and course content.
Students can incorporate self-designed learning experiences into their programs through internships, directed readings, and directed research. Internships are not required, but many students use this experience to step from the classroom into the working world. Identifying an appropriate placement helps the student develop skills in reading position announcements, applying for a position, and interviewing with a potential supervisor. Students are not allowed to enroll in an internship with their current employers, which means that the placement will provide additional professional perspective. MLS students typically complete three-credit-hour internships (180 hours of work); those enrolled in some specializations, the dual MIS/MLS program, and the MIS program may count up to six credit hours of internship toward their degrees, allowing for two different significant experiences. Figure 4.7 shows the number of internships completed each year since 2005.
Figure 4.7 Number of Internships (Fall 2005- Summer 2011)
SLIS students have interned at various organizations including academic and research libraries (Library of Congress, Butler University Library, Cambridge University Library, University of Louisville Art Library, Kinsey Institute, Lilly Library), public libraries (e.g., Ellettsville Public Library, Monroe County Public Library, Mooreseville Public Library), museums (e.g., Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Indianapolis Museum of Art-Stout Reference Library, Wiley House Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art Library, Chicago Institute of Art), government agencies (e.g., CIA, National Archives Records Administration, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, Pentagon Library), non-profits (Aspen Music Festival Library, Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana Landmarks Foundation, National Collegiate Athletic Association Library, Indiana Chamber of Commerce Library), and for-profit businesses (e.g., Finish Line, James Cummins Bookseller, Genentech IT Department, Solution Tree, Maggs Brothers Rare Books). Internship projects have included programming for youth in school and public libraries, providing information literacy instruction in school and academic libraries, building an online catalog system for a special collection, digitizing in several archives and special collections, offering reference and cataloging services in all types of libraries, developing on online loyalty program for a company’s ecommerce division, processing archival collections, developing exhibits for libraries and museums, and analyzing intelligence information.
Directed Readings (S601) and Directed Research (S602) courses allow students to receive academic credit for individualized study. They work one-on-one with faculty members to investigate areas of particular interest, building upon groundwork from previous courses. The topics and nature of the work vary with the student’s background and interests. For example:
- Directed Readings (S601)
- A student who completed S571 Materials for Youth did directed readings on graphic novels.
- A student specializing in archives did a readings course on electronic records in archives, focusing on the State of Washington’s system.
- A student with background in African American history and rare books conducted readings on African American rare book collecting.
- Directed Research S602
- After taking the evaluation of services and human-computer interactions courses, a student conducted a full-scale usability test for the major redesign of a university library website.
- Courses in public library management and research methods prepared a student to do research on a library’s bookmobile services.
- A student with experience in web design and a background in folklore prepared an informational exhibit and digital pathfinder to be displayed in conjunction with a national meeting of the American Folklore Society.
Student Organizations and Policies on Student Affairs
The co-curricular component of the learning experience is closely coordinated with various student organizations. The Association of Library and Information Science Students (ALISS) is the primary student organization in Indianapolis; the Bloomington campus has student chapters of several professional organizations, reflecting various student interests and specializations. State chapters of national organizations such as the American Society for Information Science and Technology and the American Association of School Librarians advertise their activities and involve students at both campuses. Both the SLIS-based student chapters and the state/regional professional chapters provide programming to respond to student interests and needs.
The ALA Student Chapter was named the 2011 Student Chapter of the Year; an honor it earned in 2005, as well (in 2006 the IU chapter was the national runner-up). In announcing the 2011 award, Leo Lo, chair of the jury noted, “the committee was impressed with the great turnouts to most of your events, an impressive number of Emerging Leaders in your chapter, and a good mix of technologies used in communication, especially posting meeting videos to the Facebook page.” Lo went on to explain that the “chapter leadership has also demonstrated strong continuing involvement with state and national organizations.”
The chapter leadership and members’ enthusiasm raised the membership in IU ALA-SC by 44%. Approximately 540 participants attended 20 events sponsored or co-sponsored by the student group, including a Bloomington Night Life Tour, a panel on volunteer opportunities, Nighttime IU Observatory Tour, and a Career Panel co-sponsorship with Beta Phi Mu-Chi Chapter.
- SLIS Student Groups Include:
- ALISS Association of Library and Information Science Students
- American Library Association (ALA) - Student Chapter
- American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) - Student Chapter
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) - Student Chapter
- Children’s and Young Adult Library Services Student Group
- Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) - Student Chapter
- Society of American Archivists (SAA) - Student Chapter
- Special Libraries Association (SLA) - Student Group
- Students of Music Librarianship Group
Funding for programming is supported by all-campus student fees and school resources. A small amount of funding for student travel to professional meetings is available via organizational scholarships and from the school. Students also volunteer at the Indiana Library Federation annual conference; this conference is often held in Indianapolis, only two blocks from the IUPUI campus.
At Bloomington, SLIS students are active participants in the campus-level Graduate and Professional Student Organization, which provides academic support, community, advocacy, and resources for graduate students. Appendix 4.1 lists SLIS student groups and chapters of professional associations.
As discussed in the subsections on Committee Membership and Structured Feedback, SLIS student representatives are active participants in committee deliberations and all students are encouraged to participate in student opinion surveys. In addition to the annual survey conducted by the students on the Curriculum Steering Committee, students have provided useful suggestions and perspective on specific topics – for example, in response to an e-mail request for comments on the revision of the goals and objectives for the master’s degree programs.
The school applies the results of evaluation of student achievement to program development. Procedures are established for systematic evaluation of the degree to which a program's academic and administrative policies and activities regarding students are accomplishing its objectives. Within applicable institutional policies, faculty, students, staff, and others are involved in the evaluation process.
Assessment of Student Learning
Assessment of student learning occurs both within courses and as a component of program evaluation. Suggestions from students, faculty members, alumni, employers, and others interested in the next generation of information professionals are funneled through the Curriculum Steering Committee. As a steering committee, the CSC considers issues such as the required grade for core courses, prerequisites for courses, or new courses to be developed and added to the curriculum. Proposals developed and debated within the CSC move forward to the faculty as a whole for discussion and decision.
In program evaluation, the school assesses the achievements of students with respect to the stated learning outcomes for each program. Student participation in this assessment is an expectation of their degree program. This occurs in two forms:
- On both campuses, students in required courses take pre- and post-tests to
assess initial mastery and subsequent gain with regard to the program goals as
instantiated in the required course. The associate deans direct the pre- and
post-tests, which developed through individual faculty experimentation in
2010-2011. For Fall 2011, students in two courses are completed pre- and
- S501 Reference - Support Users and Approach professional issues with understanding program goals
- S510 Introduction to Information Science - Work effectively within and across a variety of organizational structures and Engage successfully and responsibly in their professions program goals
- S516 Human-Computer Interaction - Employ a sound conceptual foundation and understanding of research and Adopt socio-technical and user-centered approaches program goals
- Similar assessments will be conducted in 2012 for:
- S502 Collection Development and Management
- S513 Organizational Informatics
- An additional approach is used at Indianapolis, consistent with the campus’s emphasis on summative, multiple-point, and multiple-format evidence and the school’s interest in supporting part-time students and distance education. SLIS Indianapolis faculty have developed an electronic assessment matrix, employed in conjunction with the student-designed electronic portfolio. Participation is required for students admitted from fall 2011; those who matriculated earlier are encouraged to prepare portfolios a well.
Students deposit evidence of their skills within the assessment matrix (organized by program goals), which is part of an Oncourse worksite. The cells of the assessment matrix contain instructions orienting students to the program goals and the process of documenting their accomplishments. For each learning outcome, students select items (documents, websites, projects, papers, etc.) that represent mastery of that outcome. These can come from required courses, elective courses, or internships.
From the student perspective, each has his or her own matrix. From the administrative side, these cells can be aggregated by matrix outcome (row), so that a reviewer can see all artifacts (with commentary) submitted for each goal. Reviewers can access all or a random selection of student work relevant to each program goal. Because the portfolio is a graduation requirement, the achievements of all students—strong and weak, memorable and less distinctive—are included. The ability to select a random sample makes the evaluation process both reasonably representative and yet not an undue burden.
For each program goal a faculty reviewer can easily download the items submitted, then assess the extent to which the desired goals are being achieved (and documented). Areas of strength and weakness can be addressed, for example by program or course changes. Data from the assessment include both a numeric rubric scale (not demonstrated, deficient, minimal, outstanding) and comments. Practitioners can also be involved in the review, to reflect the needs of the profession; students will be involved in Curriculum Steering Committee review of the results of the analysis with subsequent program improvements. A pilot project in 2009-2010 showed the workability of this approach and the faculty approved the pre-post tests in core courses and ePortfolio at Indianapolis structure in fall of 2010.
SLIS has been able to take advantage of its two-campus status with respect to assessment of student learning. The Indianapolis campus has a culture and commitment to this kind of assessment and the SLIS faculty members from that campus have led efforts within the school to investigate measures that would be appropriate for SLIS students. Those discussions and the experiments they encouraged provided a head start for SLIS Bloomington faculty when that campus decided to require similar assessments.
The dual approach SLIS has adopted reflects differing campus expectations; the intention is that the combination of e-portfolios and pre-/post-tests will provide complementary perspectives to demonstrate where SLIS is succeeding in its educational mission and where attention is needed (See II.7 Assessment of Student Learning for more detailed discussion of assessment of student learning) . So far, students have willingly taken part in these assessment activities. All SLIS faculty members are involved as well – from both campuses, both master’s degree programs, and those responsible for required courses and the electives that build on the foundation laid in the required courses. Findings from the assessments of student learning feed into the school’s annual planning cycle managed by the dean and associate deans (see Appendix 1.5).The procedures will continue to evolve as faculty members gain experience with the assessment methods and funnel findings into ongoing course development. These assessments, coupled with the other sources of information developed through ongoing planning activities, will help to guide the continuing evolution of the courses and the programs.