Minority Student Recruitment and Retention in Online LIS Education Programs

Project Overview

Online higher education degree programs can increase access to educational opportunities, particularly for students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. Library and information science (LIS) programs is essential to diversifying the LIS profession. Over the past decade, library and information science (LIS) programs have more than doubled their online degree program offerings, yet little is known about the demographic background of students enrolled in these programs. While LIS education research has addressed online education and minority students, there is scant research that explores the relationships between online education, minority students, and LIS education.

This project examines the impact of 100% online LIS degree program offerings on minority student enrollment rates. A longitudinal analysis of enrollment trends in LIS education was conducted on secondary data to understand whether the presence or absence of a 100% online degree program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) influences racial and ethnic minority student enrollment and representation. Results indicate that academic units with an online program enroll more minority students in their ALA-accredited degree programs, numerically and proportionally, than academic units without an online program. The outcomes of this study will be useful to educators, scholars, and professionals who are interested in promoting more equitable professional education opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities.

Project Team
Elizabeth Lieutenant, Lead Researcher


Related Publications and Presentations

  1. Lieutenant, E. (accepted).Online education, minority students, and library and information science: A longitudinal trend data analysis of ALA-accredited degree program enrollment rates. E-Learn 2016: World Conference on E-Learning. Washington, DC, November 14–16 , 2016.
  2. Lieutenant, E. (accepted). Promoting diversity through online education: Analysis of LIS program enrollment rates. National Diversity in Libraries Conference. Los Angeles, CA, August 10–13, 2016.