Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

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Mansfield University Home Page > School Library & Information Technologies Home Page > Graduates > Tammy Kay Bixler-Zalesinsky

The Mansfield University Master of Education Program in School Library and Information Technology (SL& IT) opened many doors of possibilities for me. Two aspects of the program struck me when I began taking classes in Fall Semester 2006. It is a rigorous program, and it is very practical. It was the intensity of the program and the dedication of the faculty which prepared me well for what I was later to encounter while working on my doctorate and taking on various leadership roles.   The practicality of the program is particularly attractive because when one is working in such depth on assignments, it is easier to value the work when you know you will be able to put it into practice in a school setting. 

Will I be prepared for further graduate work?

Currently, I am working on my doctorate at Liberty University in Educational Leadership. I began my doctoral coursework by taking classes in residence at the university during the Summer Semester of 2008. I was amazed by the depth of knowledge I already had especially in the field of school law. While many of my classmates had worked on their master’s degrees in the area of school leadership, I felt that my knowledge in this area was equal to or better than the knowledge they brought to this advanced coursework. My professors remarked that my technology and presentation skills were among the best they had taught.  According to my doctoral professors, the two greatest areas of deficiency among doctoral candidates are searching and writing skills. As a result of the rigor of the Mansfield SL&IT Program, these were two areas in which I excelled both on the entrance exams and class assignments. This will also give me an advantage as I prepare to write a dissertation.

What about the job market?

Living in Ohio, I was concerned that jobs in school libraries may not be very plentiful as school budgets are lean and keep getting trimmed more each year. It was quite astonishing to me that I was offered two positions as a school librarian within two months of graduating. I applied for neither position. One offer was a result of my internship, and the other was a school which saw my electronic portfolio—a capstone project at the end of the SL&IT Program ( http://www.yourjedimaster.com/MU_Title.html). I decided to take neither school library position because my school offered me the position of the head of my science department once I had graduated with my master’s degree.  This new leadership position enables me to work with all the science curriculum and teachers in grades K – 12. As I was working through my SL& IT courses, I was amazed how much practical information is readily usable for the classroom teacher and how school librarians also function as school leaders, teacher collaborators, technology gurus, and curriculum enhancers. Being familiar with all of these areas of teaching has prepared me to be able to adapt to the ever-changing world of education. 

If I can answer any questions or provide any additional information about the Mansfield School Library and Information Technology Program, please feel free to email me ( yourjedimaster@yahoo.com).

2013 Update

What does a Master of Education in School Library and Information Technology degree prepares you to do in addition to being a school librarian?  My degree from Mansfield opened many doors and taught me skills that allowed me to excel in furthering my education and library experiences. Literally days after my May 2008 graduation, I began working on my doctorate in education administration which I finished with my principal licensure in 2011.  Throughout my doctorate, my professors commented on my researching and presenting skills that I gained from Mansfield University which definitely gave me an advantage in furthering my education over my classmates.

In 2012, I began a post-doc which included creating a library from boxes of books for my hometown’s museum. This included cataloging around 2,000 books, and the highlight was discovering a book on botany from the 1500’s with a flower still pressed between the pages! In addition to being a full-time science teacher, I am also employed part-time as a reference and genealogy librarian at the county public library. I also volunteer as a virtual reference librarian for a couple of reference services.

Mansfield University’s School Library and Information Technology Master’s Program equipped me well for the adventurous road on which I will continue to journey. No matter what lies ahead, I know this program has taught me the problem solving, researching, and presentation polishing skills to adapt to the challenges that still lie ahead.

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