Simmons.edu

Academic Initiatives

Please see below for some of our current academic initiatives. Please also see our Faculty profiles and research pages for more information about individual faculty members.

Concentrations

Simmons SLIS is uniquely positioned in LIS education, due to its well-regarded programs. The ability to focus one’s studies on Archives, Cultural Heritage, Information Science & Technology, or School Library Teacher Program makes the SLIS education strong and focused.

Archives Management

Simmons has the #3 ranked Archives Management program in the country, with options to study face-to-face, online, and blended. Our program helps students gain knowledge in collecting, appraising and preserving documents and materials like manuscripts, moving images and photographs, oral-history recordings, multimedia, government records and literary correspondence. Alumni are well-placed to enter the growing archival profession, and have gone on to successful careers as processing, reference, digital assets and preservationist archivists. Visit the Archives Management Concentration page. 

Cultural Heritage Informatics

This unique concentration builds upon Simmons' top rated programs in library and information science and archives management. Students gain a solid foundation in collecting, preserving, and exhibiting cultural heritage materials in both physical and digital form. Internships and practical engagement activities at a wide range of cultural heritage institutions offer hands-on learning experience. Our students find successful careers in varied settings, including library special collections, archives, museums, historical societies and a wide range of public and private agencies charged with preserving cultural heritage today. Visit the Cultural Heritage Concentration page. 

Information Science and Technology

This flexible, highly inclusive program of study combines theory, hands-on competencies, and understanding of industry and professional practices, to expose students to the kinds of knowledge they’ll be expected to know as a Master of Science. Courses include modeling data, programming, building ontologies and using relational databases and XML. Face-to-face, online, or blended, this program prepares students to create and work in digital environments: with information systems, digital libraries, working in informatics, or focusing on the aesthetic experience of information visualization, web design, and studying the efficiency of information systems through management and the user experience. Visit the Information Science and Technology Concentration page. 

School Library Teacher

School Library Teachers are academic leaders, focused on information literacy, instructional technologies, and igniting a student’s interest in reading. This program offers exceptional academic and professional training, including supervised fieldwork in area public schools and a practicum experience at both the elementary and secondary school levels. Our students go on to successful careers as school library teachers in elementary, middle and high schools. Visit the School Library Teacher Concentration page. 

Online Teaching and Learning

Fully Online Master of Science in Library and Information Science, 2014 - present

Increased student interest in online learning, the success of the blended learning initiative (see below), and the success of the online MS (LIS) program focused on archives management, led SLIS to prioritize the development of the MS (LIS) degree program for the online environment. In 2014, SLIS partnered with Simmons Online to document best practices in online teaching and learning, train faculty to teach in the fully online environment, and develop online courses that reflected a consistent and accessible organization and design.

In the fall of 2016, SLIS launched its fully online MS (LIS) degree program, offering students near and far the opportunity to join the Simmons community in professional education. Online students may focus their studies in archives management or information science and technology, or they may design their own program of study to reflect personal and professional learning goals. Online courses are open to both online and face-to-face students; SLIS students may choose to attend classes on the Simmons College campus in Boston, at the SLIS satellite location in Holyoke, fully online, or in a combination of modalities.

Blended Learning Initiative, 2006 - present

Since 2006 Simmons College has identified “blended learning”—teaching and learning that takes place in a combination of real and virtual spaces—as a primary strategic initiative that reflected one priority of the institution’s Shared Vision for Academic Technology.

SLIS involvement in the institution’s blended learning initiative began with its participation in an Alfred P. Sloan grant funded project supporting the development of blended learning opportunities in two programs in the college:  the School of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Doctoral Program in Nursing Practice and the School of Library and Information Science’s SLIS West program in Holyoke, MA.  During the funding period, SLIS faculty participated in training designed to teach faculty interested in developing blended courses pedagogy and strategies associated with teaching and learning in a blended environment. After completing this training, SLIS faculty members developed blended versions of the courses required for students in the MS (LIS) degree program, allowing students at the Holyoke satellite location (where the face-to-face class sessions would take place), as well as interested students from Boston, greater flexibility in course selection.

Today, SLIS offers blended courses to students studying at both its Holyoke and Boston campuses and faculty teaching face-to-face courses apply blended learning strategies to their current teaching by developing online learning activities for students to supplement classroom activity.