LIS Student Engagement in Systematic Program Planning

Student Engagement in Systematic Planning

Project Overview

Systematic program planning is a program evaluation methodology that facilitates continuous educational improvements through evidence-based, data-driven, and constituent-engaged decision-making processes. Library and information science (LIS) programs seeking accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA) are required to demonstrate that their constituents – students, faculty, staff, alumni, employers, and administrators – are engaged throughout the program’s ongoing, broad-based systematic planning processes. While systematic program planning is a critical component of the ALA’s Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies, minimal research exists on how programs engage their constituents in systematic planning and how responsive programs are to their constituents.

This project examines how an essential constituency, LIS students, are engaged in systematic program planning. We conducted a hybrid, problem-driven content analysis of 15 comprehensive accreditation self-study documents (Program Presentations) to understand what methods are used to engage students, how broadly and systematically these methods are used, and what types of changes and improvements were implemented based on student engagement. Our results indicate that programs use a variety of methods – quantitative and qualitative, formative and summative, impersonal and personal, deep and shallow – to engage students. However, these methods do not necessarily lead to fruitful or substantive programmatic changes and improvements. This project advances educational planning and assessment scholarship, and our results provide practical, evidence-based guidance for LIS educators and programs to improve their student engagement and systematic planning practices. Our goals for this project are to promote inclusive decision-making processes, collaboration between students and faculty to implement educational improvements, and compliance with the ALA’s constituent engagement requirements.

Project Team
Elizabeth Lieutenant, Lead Researcher
Bill Kules, Contributing Researcher

Related Publications and Presentations

  1. Lieutenant, E. (2016, March 29). This is the university I fight for: Student engagement in educational change. HASTAC: Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory.
  2. Lieutenant, E., & Kules, B. (2016). Analysis of LIS student engagement in systematic program planning: Preliminary results. iConference 2016 Proceedings. Philadelphia, PA, March 20-23, 2016. [Acceptance rate: 30% of 57 submissions].
  3. Lieutenant, E., & Kules, B. (2016). Are iSchools’ more adaptable than library schools? Analysis of LIS student engagement in programmatic changes and improvements. iConference 2016 Proceedings. Philadelphia, PA, March 20-23, 2016.
  4. Lieutenant, E. (2016). “What are we going to do?” Applying content analysis methodology to solve your research problems. The Catholic University of America, Department of Library and Information Science: Eighth Annual Bridging the Spectrum Symposium. Washington, DC, February 12, 2016.
  5. Lieutenant, E., & Kules, B. (2016). LIS student engagement in systematic program planning: Inclusion, impact, and innovation. Association for Library and Information Science Education: 2016 Annual Conference. Boston, MA, January 5-8, 2016.
  6. Lieutenant, E. (2015). A critical research agenda for LIS program administration. Rutgers University, School of Communication and Information: Second Rutgers iSchool Research Invitational for Master’s Students. New Brunswick, NJ, October 30-31, 2015.