With the recent publication of U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the “Best Library and Information Studies” programs, we at Hack Library School thought it might be a good time to revisit our Hack Your Program series. While the U.S. News and World Report rankings are certainly prestigious, we found their methodology a little lacking in usefulness for those who are considering applying to LIS programs. Incoming students, if we’re honest, aren’t all that interested in what programs think of each other. They’d like to know what programs do well, and what they don’t do so well. And that’s where we come in.
Our aim with this post is to start a conversation. Each of us is going to provide (in 140 characters or less, naturally) one thing that we feel our program does well, and one where we think it comes up a bit short. These are just our opinions, based on our experiences, so your mileage may vary. Then we want to hear from you! If you’ve got questions, or want to add your experience, feel free to fire away in the comments.
Steve Ammidown – University of Maryland, College Park
What We Do Well: If you want to work with government records and/or archives, there’s probably no better place to be.
What We Don’t Do So Well: A lot of the specializations are in flux, and the uncertainty means some students have been confused when they plan their course schedules.
Chris Eaker – University of Tennessee, Knoxville
What We Do Well: If you’re interested in scientific data curation, then UTK SIS has some great courses to take and projects to get involved with.
What We Don’t Do So Well: As of right now, we are lacking in archives courses. There is only one archives course in our curriculum, though that may change with the addition of Carolyn Hank to the faculty.
Topher Lawton – Syracuse University iSchool
What We Do Well: Syr’s training focuses forward into the technical side of info systems–if you want to lead w/ tech in libraries, you’ll fit right in.
What We Don’t Do So Well: The LIS program tries to dabble in all things; by generalizing, the curriculum doesn’t create mastery anywhere.
Joanna June – Florida State University iSchool (Masters of Information Technology)
What We Do Well: Strong Distance Learning program. Most classes offered online, geared to working students. Embrace, utilize tech for coursework and support.
What We Don’t Do So Well: MSIT is new offering. Substantial bent in courses toward traditional LIS applications/jobs. Course rotation still catching up to needs.
Nicole Helregel – University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
What We Do Well: Variety of specializations (many tech-heavy). Huge university library with graduate assistant jobs. Fantastic synchronous online options.
What We Don’t Do So Well: Some specialization areas lack depth that some students seek (e.g. archives, tech services). Leadership in flux as we look for a new dean.
Chealsye Bowley – Florida State University iSchool
What We Do Well: Strength is school library media program (ranked #1)! Program focuses on practical. Great GA + international opportunities.
What We Don’t Do So Well: No archives course. Local students may take courses from other depts. Curriculum still catching up to new trends.
Brianna Marshall – Indiana University-Bloomington
What We Do Well: Many dual-degrees and specializations. A glut of local places to gain experience. Librarians excited to mentor. Lovely area, close to lots of conferences!
What We Don’t Do So Well: Little advising (must be self-driven). MLS classes are outdated, funding rare. Low student org. involvement. Becoming a dept. under SOIC (Good? Bad? Nobody knows.)
Julia Feerrar – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
What We Do Well: Lots of specializations – esp. strong in archives and digital preservation. Mentorship, field experiences, and work on campus and nearby!
What We Don’t Do So Well: General coursework focuses more heavily on academic settings (a plus for some, like me). Limited summer offerings.
Paul Lai – Saint Catherine University
What We Do Well: Faculty and curriculum are deeply interwoven with libraries and other information centers in the area, offering many internship, volunteer, and networking opportunities.
What We Don’t Do So Well: A recent curriculum overhaul has made it a bit confusing to plan courses for a coherent curriculum.
Celia Dillon- Queens College
What We Do Well- Supportive, helpful professors with academic and professional experience. Lots of opportunities for internships/observation in NYC!
What We Don’t Do So Well- Not a lot of options for online coursework. Some overlap of classwork between different classes in the School Media Studies program.
Madeleine Mitchell – San Jose State University
What We Do Well – Incredible career center with a program emphasis on preparing students for a competitive job market.
What We Don’t Do So Well – Online only format can be a challenge, especially where discussions and networking are concerned. Better for super self-motivated types.