Wednesday, January 06, 2016

ALISE16 : LIS Student Engagement in Systematic Program Planning

Bill Kules ( and Elizabeth Lieutenant ( from Catholic University

Systemic program planning is cyclical and includes planning, implementation and assessment.  It is part of the ALA accreditation standards and was added in 2001.  The 2015 standards makes systematic planning more explicit.  There has been minimal research on this, although some on specific parts of systemic planning.

They looked across LIS programs for their research.  They had four research questions.  They did a content analysis of 15 Program Presentations. 

What student engagement methods do programs report using? (From most popular to least):
  • Course evaluations
  • Surveys
  • Program governance representatives
  • Meetings
  • Supplemental faculty evaluations
  • Digital communication tools
  • Focus groups
  • Required assignments
  • External program reviews
  • Interviews
Changes based on student engagement:
  • Curriculum: program level
  • Curriculum : course level
  • Student affairs and services
  • Assignment/planning processes
  • Physical resources
  • Administration and finances 
  • Faculty affairs
Some programs (5) have student advisory boards.  These allow students to develop leadership and develop specific skills.

Three programs have student-run meetings, where they organize, publicize, and facilitate these feedback sessions.  This also distributes the work.  Ditto with the three programs have student-run surveys.

One program systemically targeted surveys as a group at the beginning, middle and end of their program.

Three programs use supplementary course evaluations.  Formative, summative and weekly (new courses).

Summary of findings:
  • Engagement methods: Less common - focus groups, interviews, student run engagements.
  • Changes and impacts: Rare - faculty affairs, administration and finance, mission, goals and objectives.
  • Align methods with their purpose
  • Be creative
  • Adopt mixed methods
  • Triangulate results
  • Avoid analysis paralysis
  • Improve student leadership opportunities 
Questions for conversation:
  • What's missing?
  • Who are we responsive to?
  • Are we changing?
  • Are we prepared?
How effectively are MSLIS programs modeling the behaviors that they expect of their students?

  • How are programs involving students at a distance? One of the programs reviewed is 100% online.  One program placed both campus and online students on their governance committees.
  • What other digital communications tools are being used?  Emails, online discussion forums (limited to students), discussions forum that included students, alumni, and others.
  • Increasing the diversity of their populations? Students are not strongly represented on divider syr committees.  Only six programs had specific diversity committees.
  • Who initiative student run surveys? One grew out of a student run meeting, where attendance dropped off and they began using surveys.
  • Questions about survey fatigue? 

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