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Standard I: Mission, Goals, and Objectives

Appendix 1.6 SLIS Strategic Plan


I am pleased to present the final version of the School of Library and Information Science’s (SLIS) Strategic Plan 2009-2014. This plan charts a general course for the School over the next five years. It is practical and grounded in nature, specifying a number of strategic objectives and a battery of indicators that will be used to measure progress. As circumstances change, the plan will naturally undergo adjustment. It is thus a living document.

A first draft of the plan was distributed to the School’s administrative staff, Faculty Policy Council and Long Range Planning Committee for discussion and feedback in March 2009. A subsequent version was sent to all faculty and staff on both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses for comment. A third version was discussed in detail at an open faculty meeting. A further revision was sent to the associate deans, the Faculty Policy Council and the Long Range Planning committee for reaction and input. The ensuing revision was distributed to all members of the School’s Alumni Board for comment and discussion at the Board’s spring meeting. The final version of the strategic plan was voted on and adopted by the faculty in mid May.

I am most grateful to all those who participated in what proved to be a highly rewarding process. This document will serve the School well.

Blaise Cronin
Blaise Cronin
Dean and Rudy Professor of Information Science

May 18, 2009


The Indiana University School of Library and Information Science is committed to excellence and innovation in the education of information professionals, the creation of new knowledge, and service to a diverse society in a dynamically changing global information environment.


We strive to sustain a climate of intellectual engagement and collegiality within the school, one that promotes robust debate and the unfettered exchange of ideas.


The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) began life as a division of the School of Education in 1947, though classes on librarianship were taught prior to that date. It became an autonomous academic unit in 1966 when the Trustees of Indiana University named it the Graduate Library School. In 1980, the present name was adopted with the approval of the Trustees.


The School is a graduate only, professional program offering a brace of master’s degrees (Master of Information Science [MIS] and Master of Library Science [MLS]), a post-master’s Specialist in Library and Information Science, a roster of joint and dual degrees, and a Ph.D. in Information Science. SLIS, with a presence on both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, is the sole provider of accredited graduate education in library and information science in the state of Indiana. (The MIS, Ph.D., and Specialist degree are offered on the Bloomington campus only.) The American Library Association has continuously accredited the School’s MLS program since 1953; the MIS program since 2000. The School’s aggregate enrollments are the highest they have ever been and the full-time faculty is now larger than at any other time in the School’s history. The level of external funding in recent years has also attained unprecedented levels.

Roughly 40% of the School’s almost 7,000 graduates either are or have been employed in Indiana, many holding senior administrative positions in public, academic, school, special and government libraries. Many other former students have made successful careers in academia, industry, government and the non-profit sector. The School has long been recognized as one of the leading programs of its kind, both nationally and internationally.

SLIS is a “core school,” in institutional parlance, whose operations on the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses are tightly coupled. Curricula and governance procedures are identical; tuition rates are the same; there is a shared web site; faculty and committee meetings rotate between campuses; admissions standards are common; faculty members from both campuses sit on the School’s standing and ad hoc committees as well as the Faculty Policy Council (FPC); alumni relations and development work are coordinated to the extent possible. Most importantly, accreditation is sought jointly. Viewed through the lens of accreditation, Bloomington and IUPUI are co-dependent. Stated otherwise, the Bloomington component cannot be understood without reference to the Indianapolis operation (and vice versa), even though both programs have distinctive characteristics in terms of faculty, budgets, facilities, and students. This structural arrangement is a “given,” and the School strives to convert challenges into opportunities. The aim is to develop synergies and ensure that both programs thrive as a result of coordinated planning and cross-campus collaboration. Our strategic plan is predicated on the assumption that SLIS will continue as a core school for the foreseeable future.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that SLIS is a school of library and information science. By virtue of its character and history, and its ability to draw on the distinctive yet complementary strengths of the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, the School is well positioned to respond to the demands of a diversifying labor market for information professionals, even as new providers enter the arena and new delivery options come on stream. SLIS was an early member of the iSchool Caucus, which was established in 2003 “to leverage the power of leading iSchools in building awareness of, support for and involvement with the iField among key constituencies, principally the media, business community, those who fund research, student prospects, and users of information.” At the same time, the School remains actively involved with established professional bodies such as the American Library Association, American Society for Information Science and Technology, and Association for Library and Information Science Education.


The School of Library and Information Science is a well-established, forward-looking player in a mature market. The overarching goal is to enhance our reputation as one of the top-ranking programs in the nation whose faculty and graduates influence professional thinking and practice and whose students understand both the significance of information in contemporary society and the roles played by libraries, information systems, services, and technologies in building and sustaining communities. In the years ahead, our faculty will continue to provide intellectual leadership through innovative teaching, active service and original research. We will achieve demonstrable quality enhancements in research and teaching, incremental program growth, further innovation in course delivery, greater engagement with our various professional constituencies, and more effective integration of activities and operations across the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses. The School’s graduates will go on to assume leadership positions in the ranks of the library profession and throughout the information industry, locally and globally. In short, the SLIS of 2014 will continue to be a high profile, highly regarded program, recognized, nationally and internationally, for its excellence in research and teaching and its contributions to the profession at large.


The implementation of the strategic plan will be integrated into the School’s existing planning cycle, which was approved by the faculty in October 2007. Planning is a year-round function involving all constituencies. It is built-in rather than added-on to the School’s existing structure and schedule and is synchronized with the school’s year-round calendar of activities. The planning process emphasizes information sharing and coordination among the Dean and the Associate Deans, the SLIS Faculty Policy Council, standing committees, and the professional staff at Bloomington and IUPUI. Responsibility for planning resides in the SLIS office or committee most directly connected to decision making in a given area. Because of different planning requirements at Bloomington and IUPUI, a unified SLIS planning cycle is meant to foster collaboration between the two campuses. The Associate Dean (Bloomington) is responsible for general coordination. Following this planning cycle, the Dean and Associate Dean annually gather and synthesize data on progress in achieving objectives. Their findings inform committees in measuring progress and adopting action steps in the fall of each academic year. Progress reports submitted in spring are incorporated in the Dean’s State of the School presentation. Throughout the year, faculty share their ideas and concerns with the Associate Dean, Faculty Policy Council and appropriate committees.


Our strategic plan charts a general course for the next five years. It does not lock us into a particular set of options or commit us to a single trajectory; flexibility and adaptability are of the essence. It need hardly be said that plans are situated in the real world, where perturbations and surprises of one kind or another inevitably occur. We acknowledge that adjustments will be made on the fly as we follow the path outlined here. The plan identifies eight objectives that will allow the School to achieve its overarching goal. It also specifies the associated action items, along with selective indicators of progress.

Raise the Overall Quality and Diversity of the Student Body

Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science has a well-established reputation for quality education. We will continue to ensure that our admissions criteria and recruitment practices are rigorously and consistently applied. SLIS will make a school-wide commitment to improving the diversity of the student body.

  • Review admission (and dismissal) policies and practices for master’s degree students on both campuses
  • Review admission policies and practices for doctoral students at Bloomington
  • Ensure that the criteria for admission are unambiguous and applied with consistency
  • Review the bases on which financial support is granted to both master’s and doctoral students
  • Optimize the allocation of financial support to attract top-quality master’s and doctoral students
  • Establish effective mechanisms for reviewing the progress of doctoral students
  • Develop better in-house data management capability on both campuses for tracking students and alumni
  • Prepare students for leadership roles in the information professions
  • Expand our recruiting and marketing to attract a more diverse student body
  • Target both the IMLS and GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) for scholarships/ fellowships, including funds specifically for ethnic minorities
Selective Indicators of Progress
  • Strength of incoming students’ academic records
  • Number of bids and awards granted by external agencies to support students
  • Retention rates and time to degree completion of doctoral students
  • Initial career placements of master’s and doctoral students
  • Number of alumni holding leadership positions
  • Number of students of diverse ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds applying and matriculating on both campuses
Strengthen and Expand the Research Base

SLIS has consistently ranked as one of the leading programs of its kind, nationally and internationally, in terms of its scholarly productivity. We will continue to strengthen research, scholarship, and creative activity in a number of areas, including but not limited to information visualization, digital humanities, and informetrics, while continuing to seek significant amounts of external funding. Identifying and recruiting top-flight faculty, both junior and senior, will be a priority.

  • Recruit faculty with proven research records
  • Augment research support for faculty
  • Encourage more proposal partnering (junior and senior faculty)
  • Increase the number of faculty seeking funding from major agencies and foundations
  • Target larger awards from major agencies (National Science Foundation [NSF], National Institutes of Health [NIH], National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH], Institute of Museums and Library Services [IMLS])
  • Encourage collaborative cross-campus proposal writing
  • Encourage junior faculty to seek intra-mural funding
  • Seek funding opportunities with on-campus partners
  • Encourage Bloomington and IUPUI faculty to seek inter-campus research support
Selective Indicators of Progress
  • Research stature/visibility of new hires
  • Total number of bids submitted and awarded
  • Total dollar value of bids submitted and awarded
  • Number of different faculty who are PIs and co-PIs
  • Number of multi-unit, multi-institution bids and awards
Increase the Impact of Faculty Research

The School of Library and Information Science has been ranked exceptionally well in a number of surveys of faculty productivity and impact. The SLIS faculty (a mixture of humanists, social scientists and computer scientists) has garnered significant support in recent years from major funding agencies. The overall level of faculty productivity and impact (as reflected in citation counts, h-index scores, etc.) is high and every effort will be made to surpass previous performance levels.

  • Encourage faculty to publish fewer but higher-quality refereed papers—“slow publishing”
  • Encourage faculty to publish original, interpretative monographs
  • Encourage faculty to submit their work to the very best peer reviewed outlets
Selective Indicators of Progress
  • Productivity and impact profiles of individual faculty members
  • Ranking of journals/conferences/presses/proceedings in which faculty work appears
  • Adoption of faculty work in the course syllabi of other programs
  • Citation counts and other usage data (hits, downloads, acknowledgments, etc.)
  • Prizes, awards, keynotes, editorships, fellowships, honors, nominations and other measures of esteem
  • Faculty rankings in national and international surveys
Invest in Human Capital

The School is only as strong as its faculty and staff. We are thus committed to helping both faculty and members of staff carry out their roles as effectively as possible. Our aim is to create a supportive environment in which faculty and staff can reach their full potential.

  • Evaluate and improve our faculty mentoring process
  • Help junior faculty achieve a balance between research, teaching and service
  • Reaffirm the importance of teaching to the academic mission of the school
  • Work to increase diversity among the faculty and staff
  • Provide opportunities for faculty and staff development related to technology
  • Encourage staff to take value-adding professional development courses
Selective Indicators of Progress
  • Promotion and tenure for junior faculty
  • Teaching awards and other recognition for teaching activities
  • Number of applications from underrepresented minorities for faculty and staff positions
  • Staff completion of professional development courses
Offer a Rigorous, Relevant, and Continuously Updated Curriculum

The field of library and information science has diversified enormously in recent years. The emergence of a global information society has placed a premium on information skills and has also challenged many long-held professional beliefs and operating assumptions. We will provide our graduates with the knowledge and skills to secure employment in all sectors of the economy. Critical thinking and adaptability will be keys to success in an age of continuous change, serial careers, and digital transformation. We will ensure that our academic standards and grading practices are exemplary. SLIS has a long history of offering joint and dual degrees, more, in fact, than any peer program in North America. We will monitor emerging trends in the wider marketplace and identify opportunities for developing new specializations and certificates, which will be launched in-house or on a partnership basis.

  • Undertake biennial reviews of both the MLS and MIS degree programs to ensure currency and conformance of the core curriculum with professional expectations and market needs
  • Explore approaches to learning outcomes assessment
  • Undertake a thorough review of the curricular and organizational aspects of the doctoral program
  • Develop new tracks/clusters within and across our degree programs to provide the background, skills and experiences that will allow our graduates to compete for jobs in the information professions
  • Encourage faculty to revise existing courses and develop new courses and workshops to incorporate advances in technology and work practices in the information professions
  • Provide students with conceptual and technological skills sets that are current and competitive
  • Explore and encourage opportunities for service learning
  • Make greater use of internships (local, national and international), service learning, and extra-curricular opportunities to augment basic professional education and training
  • Strengthen ties to the professional and business community and increase interaction between our students, practitioners and the world-at-large
  • Gather informal feedback from stakeholder and advisory groups
  • Evaluate the School’s role as a certified provider of continuing professional development courses
  • Review and refine existing dual and joint degree programs
  • Identify new program development opportunities on both campuses
Selective Indicators of Progress
  • Re-accreditation by ALA in 2012
  • Employment rates and levels of remuneration of our graduates
  • Number of institutions hiring our doctoral graduates
  • Number of internships completed
  • Extra-curricular opportunities undertaken
  • Number of new and revised course offerings in curriculum
  • Positive comments in student course evaluations
  • Number of service learning opportunities for students
  • Successful launch of new dual/joint degree programs, certificates and/or specializations on both campuses
  • Number of students applying to programs
Establish and Deliver the MLS Degree Online

In the 1980s, SLIS offered courses on multiple campuses with faculty traveling to and from remote sites. The School subsequently became an early adopter of IHETS (one and two-way interactive video). Today, courses are being delivered via the Web. The bulk of this activity originates on the Indianapolis campus, where 40% of students are currently taking classes online. By delivering the complete MLS degree online, the School will be better positioned to reach underserved and geographically disadvantaged students in the state.

  • Specify clearly the goals and objectives of online delivery from IUPUI
  • Carry out an analysis of market needs
  • Develop a formal proposal for both the IUPUI campus and Indiana Commission on Higher Education (ICHE)
  • Ensure that the School is in compliance with all institutional norms and ICHE policies
  • Ensure robustness of the technical infrastructure for online course delivery
  • Ensure that explicit and equitable teaching policies are in place
  • Determine appropriate residency and other requirements for online students
  • Develop appropriate auditing and evaluation mechanisms to ensure quality
  • Monitor possible ripple effects on residential enrollments on both campuses
  • Evaluate the implementation of the online initiative
Selective Indicators of Progress
  • Market analysis completed
  • Approvals granted by IUPUI and ICHE
  • Development of requisite teaching skills in the faculty
  • Monitoring and evaluation procedures in place
  • Enrollment, retention and graduation rates
Augment and Diversify the School’s Revenue Base

It is essential to strengthen the School’s revenue streams in order to be both more competitive when it comes to hiring faculty and better positioned to invest in support activities such as marketing and communication. Indirect cost income has increased in recent years and income from online teaching can be expected to increase at IUPUI. The School will also explore the feasibility of offering an array of undergraduate courses on the Bloomington campus in order to boost tuition income. SLIS has a good working relationship with the Indiana University Foundation (IUF) and progress has been made in the past couple of years in all aspects of fundraising. We will continue to intensify fund-raising activities on both campuses.

  • Increase incrementally indirect cost income
  • Continue to explore opportunities for new business ventures
  • Explore the potential market for, and feasibility of, undergraduate offerings
  • Launch and manage effectively the online MLS
  • Work closely with the IUF to identify potential major gift donors for both campuses
  • Improve overall quality of solicitation, cultivation and stewardship
  • Begin to identify potential corporate sponsors
  • Continue to hold and evaluate the effectiveness of alumni events nationwide
Selective Indicators of Progress
  • Indirect cost income
  • Tuition income
  • Income from the annual Telefund
  • Average gift size
  • Number of major gifts
  • Number of active solicitations
  • Positive feedback from donors and alumni
Invest in Physical and Information Technology Infrastructure

The School has invested heavily in its information technology and systems infrastructure. We will continue to do all that is necessary to provide a comprehensive IT environment for faculty and students, one that enables state-of-the-art research and effective teaching. We will continue to develop the skills of our support personnel and add staff capability in selected areas as appropriate. Space is at a premium on both campuses; we will strive to secure additional square footage to accommodate the growing number of faculty, staff and researchers housed in the School.

  • Develop and implement an information technology plan
  • Maintain a state-of-the-art and secure technology infrastructure that meets the needs of the School’s faculty, staff, and students
  • Conduct IT user satisfaction surveys
  • Identify and adopt “best practices” in areas such as distance education delivery
  • Identify areas in which the technological skills of support staff can be augmented
  • Explore short- and long-term space alleviation strategies with relevant campus players
Selective Indicators of progress
  • Positive responses in results of IT user satisfaction surveys
  • Relevance of the skills base of support personnel
  • Quality and pro-activity of support staff
  • The School’s space allocation