M.L.I.S. Program Assessment
The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University offers two master’s degree programs: the Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.) and the Master of Science (M.S.) in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM). The M.L.I.S. program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) Committee on Accreditation.
Assessment — the systematic collection, review and use of this information — is an integral part of the M.L.I.S. program. In an effort to make this information publicly available and to comply with the ALA Office on Accreditation requirements, this page provides information on program goals, student learning outcomes and assessment.
SLIS Mission and Strategic Principles
At SLIS we are transforming the global information environment collaboratively through dynamic learning, innovative research, and interdisciplinary synergy.
The following principles were adopted in March 2012:
- Strategic Principle 1: To prepare students to be successful information and knowledge professionals.
- Strategic Principle 2: To advance the School’s role as an exemplary, comprehensive, and professional school of library and information science.
- Strategic Principle 3: To foster scholarship and research.
- Strategic Principle 4: To contribute to the success of the College of Communication and Information and the University.
- Strategic Principle 5: To enrich society though collaboration with diverse communities of practice.
M.L.I.S. Student Learning Outcomes
In order to achieve the school’s first strategic principle, all students completing the M.L.I.S. program should be able to:
- Analyze and engage in the changing cultural, educational and social roles and responsibilities of librarians and information professionals, and the place of the library and other information agencies in a global society.
- Identify, select, acquire, organize, process and provide access to information resources for libraries and other information agencies. (Collection)
- Evaluate and effectively utilize general and specialized information sources and tools for provision of services for diverse service communities. (Services)
- Identify and assess information needs and behaviors and the application to library and other information communities.
- Describe and apply basic management and leadership principles in library and other information agencies.
- Describe, assess and implement technology solutions for serving the current and future information needs of diverse communities.
- Identify, analyze, evaluate and conduct research in the field of library and information science and other fields and apply findings to the solution of problems in the profession;
- Articulate the role and importance of advocacy for libraries and other information agencies.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills to identify, assess and respond to future trends with innovative approaches.
Systematic Curriculum Planning
The SLIS Curriculum Committee generates ideas from several channels of input. Individuals submit ideas for new workshops or courses; suggestions and feedback are solicited during exit surveys and workshop surveys; and course offerings and workshops are reviewed annually by the committee. When a proposal is made, the committee completes an initial review of the suggested workshop or course. If it is determined that the new offering will meet student needs and be a sound addition to the curriculum, the proposal is returned or delivered to the individual who will develop it into a full-fledged course or workshop proposal. After development, the proposal is again reviewed by the Curriculum Committee, who will either return it for revision or submit it to the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) for approval and then to the College Curriculum Committee (CCC) for additional paperwork and alignment to the CCC guidelines.
Areas of growth or change are also identified from our interactions with other constituencies, especially through our SLIS Advisory Group meetings.
The curriculum is continuously reviewed at SLIS in alignment with its Strategic Plan commitments. Input from the school’s constituencies is sought and considered in the curriculum review and planning. These constituencies include students, alumni and the SLIS Advisory Group (SAG). In addition, annual objectives related to the curriculum are identified each academic year, and actions and outcome measures are set. At the end of each year a curricular recap is created by the Curriculum Committee and shared with the SLIS faculty. The annual curricular recap details program, policy, handbook and course revisions, as well as the creation or inactivation of courses and workshops. The master recap reflects comprehensive curricular changes from the last seven years. This recap details the innovation and review cycle of the curricular process.
Evaluation and Assessment of Student Achievement
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
SLIS courses are offered on a regular basis in order to comport with the ALA Accreditation Standard II.2 and to satisfy the M.L.I.S. program’s learning objectives.
Discussions of learning outcomes involve assessment of evidences of learning. Have the learning objectives been achieved? What evidence exists that students have learned new skills? New attitudes?
Learning outcomes may be measured directly or indirectly. At SLIS, we use a variety of direct measures, including written exams (several courses use these), licensure exams (for school librarians), oral and digital presentations (several courses use these), projects (some courses require projects), assessment of case studies (used in management courses, for example), simulation (as found, for example, in reference courses), and portfolios (including the Culminating Experience Practicum portfolios).
We also employ a number of indirect measures (e.g., surveys of graduated students, focus groups of employers of our graduates, input from advisory boards, data on job placement).
Our learning outcomes are implicit in our school objectives. For example, our objectives address the employability of our graduates and include both internal and external evaluation measures.
Student Achievement and Program Development
A variety of procedures and practices are in place for systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of the degree. These include, but are not limited to, standing committees of the school, which may include both students and staff (e.g., the Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Advisory Council, feedback from the Core Constituency Advisory Teams, student course evaluations, annual reviews of strategic and instructional objectives, annual setting of objectives, actions and outcome measures, and formal and informal feedback from individual students or the student organizations). The school also conducts several surveys that aim to evaluate student services by faculty and staff members. The surveys include the alumni survey, the program exit survey of students who have completed the program and the survey of current students.
In addition, the graduate coordinator closely monitors the progress of students, especially those students challenged by the program, and makes recommendations regarding policies and practices conducive to student success. The graduate coordinator and the faculty advisors work together to help students identify areas for improvement and formulate strategies for future success.
SLIS course development is directly affected by student evaluations. After final grades are submitted, each faculty member is given the opportunity to view individual course evaluations and data summaries of evaluations and to make changes to the course based on student feedback.