Update from the SLIS Dean

February 03, 2016

Eileen Abels

Dean Eileen Abels shares ongoing initiatives taking place in SLIS

The SLIS Community is busy working on many initiatives that we know are of interest to our community.  To keep the SLIS Community informed of these efforts, I will write a monthly blog post for InfoLink that highlights some of these initiatives and updates you on our progress.  If you have questions, please send them to our Communications Assistant, Alisa Libby (alisa.libby@simmons.edu), so that I can address them in an upcoming post.  

SLIS is off to a busy start in 2016!  

The Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) held its annual conference in Boston from January 5 – 8, 2016.  The theme “Radical Change: Inclusion and Innovation” is very relevant to all of us!  ALISE was followed by the American Library Association (ALA) Mid-winter meeting.  Because we have so many SLIS alumni attend ALA, we took advantage of the opportunity to host our SLIS After Dark Alumni event.  We had a great turnout at the event where we honored two alumni for their outstanding achievements.  This was the first year that we honored a graduate from one of our Children’s Literature programs.  We are glad to have this new tradition.  An upcoming InfoLink article will highlight this wonderful event. 

We have several important initiatives underway right now. I’ll share two of our initiatives with you:

First, we at SLIS are working with others at Simmons to create a more inclusive and safe environment on campus, one in which all students feel valued and respected.  To achieve this, we have taken several actions, including:  reviewing our curriculum to make sure that we cover important aspects of diversity; communicating the value of an inclusive and diverse community during new student orientation; revising our course evaluation form to identify key issues that require attention; and forming several new diverse student groups.  I have formed the SLIS Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion to advise me as we move forward.  The task force consists of faculty, staff and students.  We welcome alumni input on this.  Please contact me if you are interested in working with us.  We will keep you posted on our progress.  

Second, we are busy preparing for the Fall 2016 launch of a fully customizable online Design Your Own (DYO) master’s in library and information science.  As many of you know, we have been offering the Archives Management Concentration online since 2012. In 2014, we added a second online concentration, Information Science and Technology.  In Fall 2016, the MS degree will be offered in addition to these two concentrations already online.  We are referring to this as the DYO MS since students will work with their advisors to tailor their program to meet their interests and career goals.  We continue to have a very strong face-to-face program and will continue to support and strengthen this valuable program. The addition of the online program provides flexibility to both our online and face-to-face students. An online student who lives close enough to Boston or South Hadley may take face-to-face courses.  Face-to-face students may take online courses as well as blended learning opportunities that combine face-to-face sessions with online learning. We are working closely with Simmons Online and the instructional design team to create the best student experience possible using state of the art approaches to online learning.  

Until next month!

Dean Eileen Abels