Update from the SLIS Dean, April 2016

April 12, 2016

Eileen Abels

Dean Abels talks about career planning for SLIS students

Here we are in April and the end of the academic year is in sight. We know that many of our graduating students are focusing on their careers.

Feedback from MSLIS students and alumni indicated an interest in more resources for career preparation. We addressed this topic, among others, at our summer faculty retreat. As a result of the retreat, we formed a Career Preparation Committee, hired a student worker in the Student Services Office to focus on career activities, and retained an experienced advisor in residence, Amy Ryan, to provide career advice to students, review resumes, and hold mock interviews. A future InfoLink article will provide more details about how we prepare students for careers. We are gearing up for our career fair which is always a popular event.

SLIS also maintains the Jobline which a very popular resource for LIS students and alumni, as well as librarians, archivists, and information professionals around the country. It is one of the most visited pages on our website. Thanks to our Technology Reference Assistants (TRAs) for their excellent work in maintaining this key service. If you haven’t checked out the Jobline, be sure to do so at http://blogs.simmons.edu/slis/jobline/.

Our computer science students have various activities to help them get jobs. For example, we recently had recruiters on campus to talk with students and conduct mock interviews. They were favorably impressed with our students. We have hosted an alumnae's Resume Boot Camp, an intensive workshop on what to put, or not put, on one's resume. We have also finished a round of preparing students for Research Opportunities for Undergraduates in universities across the country. At this writing, five students have been offered summer positions. Jobs and opportunities for Computer Science students are posted at Computer Science Opportunities.

Through their independent study, thesis, and mentorship opportunities, MA and MFA students in children's / young adult literature engage in a variety of activities to build their professional portfolios as part of their curricular work. MFA students complete manuscripts under the mentoring of agents and/or editors. MA (and dual degree) students are presenting at conferences, such a​s the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts and at the Children's Literature Association. Many ChLit students engage in internships in the children's trade divisions at local publishers. And The Horn Book, Inc.—housed in our very own Palace Road Building—hosts a number of Simmons interns from across programs. Keep in mind that the activities of The Center for the Study of Children's Literature in SLIS brings to campus writers, editors, publishers, illustrators, reviewers on a regular basis as part of its programming and to enhance career networking for students.

The most important effort to prepare students for careers is arguably the continual review of our curriculum. We are constantly revising the curriculum to meet the needs of current and future librarians, information professionals, writers, publishers, and computer scientists. We want to provide the right combination of theory and practice, educating our students for a successful career for years to come.

We are looking at exciting plans to enhance our career services by providing students with more tools for hands-on experimentation. Amy Pattee, Director of the MS Program, and Nanette Veilleux, Associate Dean for Research, are going to help SLIS in this initiative. We welcome your suggestions for what resources and assistance we can offer.

Please contact Alisa Libby with any career preparation suggestions, or if you have any questions or issues that you would like me address in my next column.

Until next month,
Dean Eileen Abels