MLIS Program Receives Re-Accreditation
On June 18th, the Committee on Accreditation (COA) of the American Library Association (ALA) announced that the University of Pittsburgh received continued accreditation of its MLIS Program offered by the School of Information Sciences. This continued accreditation, issued without conditions, will be in effect until 2013 when the program will undergo another review by the COA.
“This continued accreditation recognizes the academic excellence – and reinforces the national reputation – of our MLIS degree program,” explains Ronald L. Larsen, Dean of the School of Information Sciences. “This type of review ensures potential and current students that they will receive a quality education and go on to be productive professionals in the library field.”
Since 1924, the ALA has presented this process of accrediting intuitions of higher education. Every seven years, MLIS programs submit exhaustive reports to the COA describing and evaluating the mission and goals, curriculum, faculty, admission and recruitment policies, facilities, administration, and financial support of the degree program. Then, after the COA has reviewed the submitted materials, an External Review Committee makes a site visit and prepares an evaluation of the program. The intent is to assess the ability of the program to meet the 1992 Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. ALA accredits 61 programs at 56 institutions in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
According to the ALA, accreditation is a voluntary, nongovernmental, and collegial process of self-review and peer review with two goals: 1) to ensure that post-secondary educational institutions and programs meet appropriate standards of quality and integrity; and 2) to improve the quality of education that such institutions offer. This process assures the public that individuals who have graduated from accredited schools or programs have received a quality education. It also certifies that accredited programs meet the standards of the profession. The ALA states that “accreditation indicates that a program demonstrates a commitment to quality and that the program seeks to continue that commitment.”
“This process is instrumental in providing a quality educational experience for students,” notes Dean Larsen. “It requires us to critically examine our own program to ensure that we’re meeting our missions and goals. It also provides us with an objective external review of program policies and particulars. So, in addition to our own evaluation processes which are undertaken on a regular basis, we now have an opportunity to measure the successes of the MLIS Degree Program on a national level.”
For more information about the ALA accreditation process, visit http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=accreditation.