Prism: the Office for Accreditation newsletter, Fall 2017

prism masthead

Fall 2017, Volume 25, Number 2  •  ISSN 1066-7873  •  Kerri Price, editor
Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcomed. Please contact us at

In this issue: See also:
ALA accreditation at a glance Prism Archive - from Fall 2003 through Spring 2017
News and announcements Best of Prism - selected articles from previous issues
COA announces accreditation actions
From the Director: Outlook
From the COA Chair: Perspective
Spotlight on process and policy
In profile: A new column featuring an accreditation star
External review panelists acknowledged
AASL-CAEP recognition news


Accreditation at a glance

65 ALA-accredited programs
60 institutions with ALA-accredited programs
33 U.S. states (including Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico) with ALA-accredited programs
5 Canadian provinces with ALA-accredited programs
34 ALA-accredited programs offering 100% online programs †
1 programs with candidacy status
15,445 total students enrolled in ALA-accredited programs in fall 2016 *
5,737 graduates of ALA-accredited programs during the 2015-2016 academic year *

† As identified by the programs
* As reported by programs to the Office for Accreditation. The 2016-2017 data is under review.


News and announcements

Required interim reporting instructions

An email with instructions for this year’s required interim reports was sent on September 27 to each program head, as well as those program-designated “to be copied on accreditation-related correspondence.” Program heads who have not received the emailed instructions should contact the Office right away at

Due February 15, 2018: The due date for annual statistical data reporting required from every program has been moved this year from December 1. Data collection is via the program’s trend summary spreadsheet, sent as an attachment in the email referenced above. The head of the accredited program should review and verify all data prior to submitting. The December 1 deadline was extended to afford programs the chance to work from their data compiled for the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) collection effort, which has been delayed this year.

Due February 15, 2018: Narrative reports (biennial narrative reports and annual progress reports). Instructions regarding format, submission, and content are on the Required Reporting for Accreditation webpage. This page also includes a schedule for biennial narrative report submission (even/odd year assignments). Programs with Conditional, Precandidacy, or Candidacy status submit annual progress reports instead of biennial narrative reports. Please note the ten-page limit (excluding appendices) on narrative reports.

ERP chair training at 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver

Date: Friday, February 9, 2018
Time: 1:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Crowne Plaza Denver (1450 Glenarm Place), Oxford Room

External review panelists who have participated in two or more on-site visits are invited to attend training to serve as an ERP chair upon appointment by COA. The session will prepare attendees to lead an external review of programs seeking ALA accreditation. The session will include a panel discussion featuring experienced ERP chairs and Office for Accreditation (OA) staff. OA staff will present resources for chairs to use in the review process. People who are currently assigned to chair a review are strongly encouraged to attend.

Program heads who want to learn more about the comprehensive review, the site visit, and the role of the ERP chair in the review process are also encouraged to attend.

Please RSVP by January 17, 2018, to Kerri Price, and include “ERP chair training” in the subject line. Registration is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

New external review panelists sought

The Office for Accreditation seeks experienced library and information professionals to participate in the accreditation process as external review panelists. We are particularly in need of librarians and educators with specializations and experience in the following areas:

  • Archives and records management
  • Cultural heritage information management
  • Curricular review and redesign
  • Distance education
  • School librarianship
  • Public librarianship
  • Information science
  • Information technology
  • LIS graduate program administration
  • Service to diverse populations
  • French language skills
  • Spanish language skills

Find out more about what’s involved in serving on an external review panel on the Resources for external review panelists webpage. If you are interested and meet the qualifications, please complete the External Review Panel Member Information Form, and plan to attend the training session on June 22 at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

If you know someone who might be interested in serving as an External Review Panelist, please encourage him/her to apply, or send a recommendation to

AASL-CAEP program review training at 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver

Date: Friday, February 9, 2018
Time: 8:00am-11:00am
Location: Colorado Convention Center, Room 507

New and experienced reviewers and program report writers are encouraged to attend this session to learn about the AASL-CAEP program review process, the 2010 ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians (and an update on the Standards revision process), report preparation/review, and appropriate assessments.

So that we have sufficient training materials on hand, please RSVP to Kerri Price, by January 17, 2018, and include “AASL-CAEP training” in the subject line.

Prospective reviewers can find out more about the AASL-CAEP program review process on the AASL website.

AASL CAEP Coordinating Committee meeting at 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver

Date: Friday, February 9, 2018
Time: 11:00am – 12noon
Location: Colorado Convention Center, Room 507

AASL-CAEP Coordinating Committee meeting. Committee members are strongly encouraged to attend. Those interested in AASL-CAEP program review and the Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians (currently undergoing revision) are also encouraged to attend.

COA member appointed to conference program jury

COA Member Loretta Parham was appointed to the 2018 ALA Jury for Annual Conference Program Proposals as the Professional and Leadership Development representative (representing one of ALA’s four Strategic Directions). As part of the conference redesign, jury members have been working virtually this fall to select program submissions for the 2018 ALA Annual Conference.

New regular column in Prism

Be sure to check out Prism’s new column, “In profile,” on page 12. Each issue, someone closely connected to the ALA accreditation process will answer a series of questions about his/her experiences. Our first column features an interview with former Committee on Accreditation member and external review panelist member/chair Lynne Howarth.

New index for Prism

The Office is developing an index (both subject and author) for Prism, beginning with the fall 2003 issue. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017, at which time an announcement that includes instructions on how to access the index will be sent to the Prism distribution list.


COA announces accreditation actions

The Committee on Accreditation (COA) of the American Library Association (ALA) has announced the following accreditation decisions.

At the COA’s meeting at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference:

Continued Accreditation status was granted to the following programs, with the next comprehensive review visit scheduled to take place in spring 2024:

  • Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama;
  • Master of Science in Information at the University of Michigan;
  • Master of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina;
  • Master of Library Science and Master of Arts in Library Science at Texas Woman's University;
  • Master of Information at the University of Toronto.

Information on accreditation statuses and types of reviews can be found in Section I of Accreditation Process, Policies and Procedures (AP3), fourth edition.

The following institutions have programs that are being visited in the fall 2017 academic term. The accreditation decisions will be made by the COA at its meeting at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver.

  • Drexel University (PA)
  • Simmons College (MA)
  • St. Catherine University (MN)
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The following institutions have programs that are being visited in the spring 2018 academic term. The accreditation decisions will be made by the COA at its meeting at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

  • University at Albany, State University of New York
  • Clarion University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Denver
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of Western Ontario

ALA accreditation indicates that the program meets or exceeds the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies, established by the COA and approved by ALA Council. The accreditation process involves rigorous, ongoing self-evaluation by the program and verification of evidence through an external review. The COA evaluates each program for compliance with the Standards, which address systematic planning; curriculum; faculty; students; administration, finances, and resources.

A complete list of programs and degrees accredited by ALA can be found online. Individuals who would like more information about a particular program should contact the program.

The ALA COA is a leading force in accreditation, having evaluated educational programs to prepare librarians since 1924. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes the ALA COA as the authority for assessing the quality of education offered by graduate programs in the field of library and information studies.


From the Director: OUTLOOK

By Karen L. O'Brien, Director, ALA Office for Accreditation

New appointments to the Committee on Accreditation (COA) are bringing fresh perspectives from academics, practice, and the public:

  • Rachel A. Applegate (Associate Professor, Library and Information Science, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis),
  • Theresa S. Byrd (Dean of the University Library, Helen K. and James S. Copley Library, University of San Diego),
  • Melissa Gross (Professor, School of Information, Florida State University),
  • R.E. LeMon (Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, State University System of Florida) as a public member.

Terry L. Weech (Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) has been appointed COA chair in his fourth and final year of term.

Staff set our sights on a new fiscal year in fall and this one is particularly energized with conversations taking place in and outside of formal meetings in preparation for the next ALA executive director, with the search process underway.

New virtual spaces under construction

The ALA Executive Board approved the capital budget request to purchase the license for the online accreditation management system JURA that was demonstrated during the COA open session at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The web-based system is designed to help navigate programs through the self-study development process. A self-study template with robust editing tools is provided, populated with each standard element for ease of completion, from draft to submission. Programs can include web links in the text and upload documents for evidence. Staff are in the midst of loading data and testing functionality. We hope to begin the rollout for programs with review visits in spring 2019.

ALAConnect, the virtual space where ALA members and staff connect for ALA business and to network on issues and interests, is moving to a new and more robust platform in early 2018. For accreditation, that means we will have an online platform for the COA and external review panels to do their work - to develop documents collaboratively, build group calendars, conduct surveys and polls, and converse in discussion forums.

These online spaces come at an opportune time for the continuing implementation of the 2015 Standards for Accreditation and the 4th edition of Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3). The newest guidance is available from this resource page.

CHEA reporting update

The new 2015 Standards and Accreditation Process, Policies, Procedures (AP3) pose implications for continued recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Some of the recent updates to AP3 have been in direct response to CHEA mandates—see the release notes and update. The CHEA Committee on Recognition’s response to the interim follow up report calls for additional information regarding

  • “…program performance, including student achievement” made public by programs;
  • public release of the basis for accreditation decisions, and;
  • how ALA standard V.3 Administration, Finances, and Resources addresses “student preparedness…”

Programs have been responding to requests for more specific information on the first point above by providing data on assessment results, attrition and retention rates, time to graduation, and job placement rates:

  • University of Alabama, School of Library and Information Studies: assessment documentation [PDF], including application, acceptance, and enrollment rates, as well as job placement;
  • University of British Columbia, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies: assessment data, including employment data;
  • Catholic University of America, Department of Library and Information Science: assessment data and student achievement data (public engagement, professional achievements, and research activities);
  • Indiana University - Bloomington, Department of Information and Library Science: program assessment data, focusing on admissions, retention, graduation, and placement statistics;
  •  San Jose State University, School of Information: assessment data, including employment data.

The majority of programs are now providing their comprehensive review self-study publicly on the Office website and in doing so are supporting their colleagues in other programs involved in preparing a self-study.

To address the CHEA concern regarding public release of the basis of accreditation decisions, the COA is considering further disclosure beyond its recent decision to publicly list any standard elements at issue for further reporting. There are other accreditors that release decision letters in whole or part.

Informing the ALA Executive Board on accreditation

The COA is preparing a response to the reports from the Task Forces on Accreditation for Executive Board review at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting. See the spring 2017 issue of Prism for the 2016-17 COA chair’s column on the recommendations from those Task Forces. The reports and the COA response thus far can be accessed from and

Upcoming COA decisions on Initial accreditation status

Chicago State University’s Master of Science in Library and Information Science program is in Candidacy status with a site visit in spring 2019. The COA will make a decision on Initial accreditation at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, in late June.

At its fall 2017 meeting, COA is reviewing an application for Candidacy status from Southern Connecticut State University for its Master of Library and Information Science program.

University College London’s Master of Arts Library and Information Studies program is in Precandidacy status.

Opportunities to connect

Program personnel attending reviewer training sessions as observers have helped develop a better shared understanding of how to best proceed in the accreditation process. Observers are welcome to attend the external review panel chair training on Friday afternoon at ALA Midwinter in Denver by reserving a seat with Kerri Price, the Associate Director of the Office for Accreditation at See more information in the “News and announcements” section of this issue.

Written and oral evaluation of those sessions by participants, as well as the  review evaluation surveys built into the comprehensive review at five points in the process, have resulted in process changes large and small—the bigger changes are reflected in the latest (fourth) edition of the AP3 process manual. You are invited to get in touch by calling 312-280-2434 or dropping me a note to I hope to see you in Denver at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting or at the 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans.



By Terry Weech, 2017-18 Chair, Committee on Accreditation, and Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The recognition of librarianship as a distinct and autonomous profession

In the spring 2017 edition of Prism, Professor Elizabeth Aversa, the 2016-17 chair of the Committee on Accreditation (COA), reported in some detail on the recommendations from the two American Library Association (ALA) task forces on accreditation. The report Accreditation – Recommendations for Process and Communications was received in October 2016, and the Report of the Task Force on the Context of Future Accreditation was received in April 2017. Professor Aversa provided an example of the range of the recommendations in her spring 2017 column as follows:

The recommendations range from the very specific to the extremely broad, for example recommendation 7.3 (Accreditation – Recommendations for Process and Communications) states, “COA should design a clear and comprehensive template for the Self Study” and recommendation 1.1 asks COA to “Reexamine the scope of the definition of LIS and align it with the current expectations of the profession of librarianship and perceptions of both graduates and employers about the emergent trajectory of the profession.” (Prism, spring 2017, p. 8.)

The ALA Office for Accreditation and the COA have been able to respond to some of the specific recommendations quickly. For example, the COA developed an external review panel (ERP) report template and worksheet to assist panelists in both collecting evidence during the comprehensive review and in writing the final ERP report. These tools are intended to improve consistency in content across panels. They also facilitate the COA’s work, as the Committee uses the ERP reports (along with other forms of evidence, including the program’s self-study and optional response to the ERP report) when making accreditation decisions. Additional templates and guides are being explored to further standardize and improve the assessment of programs in the course of the accreditation process.

However, the more complex recommendations from the task forces, such as Recommendation 1.1 (Accreditation – Recommendations for Process and Communications), calling for a redefinition of library and information studies (LIS), raise many practical and theoretical questions that cannot be resolved by the Office for Accreditation or COA alone. To understand some of these complexities, a review of the role of COA within the organizational structure of the ALA is appropriate. In addition to its charge “to be responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA, and to develop and formulate standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of council,” the COA operates under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ALA that is an important indicator of its role and the mission it has been assigned by the Association.

The statement of purpose in this Memorandum of Understanding is “…to acknowledge the central role of the COA accreditation process to the recognition of librarianship as a distinct and autonomous profession….” The MOU between ALA and the COA can be found at:

Since the MOU was agreed to, there have been significant changes in the recognition of what librarianship is; however, the profession’s Code of Ethics and Core Values remain constant (if not increasingly important) and are central to its definition. While recent years have seen the development of many other information professions that share the interests of librarianship in providing access to information resources, some may place less emphasis on values adhered to by librarians, such as privacy, diversity, service, and intellectual freedom. Further, many of these information professions may be considered distinct and autonomous from librarianship. One only needs to note the number of former library and information studies education programs that have deliberately eliminated the term “library” from their names, and in some cases even from the names of the degree they grant, to get a sense of their desire to establish distinct and autonomous labels that distinguish them from the profession of librarianship.

Library education undoubtedly provides valuable educational content that can benefit students interested in pursuing employment in a wide variety of information professions, including, but not limited to, archivist, museum curator, data curator, data scientist, and information manager. While the issue of library science versus information science may be an interesting academic debate, in the context of the COA’s charge and consistent with the MOU with the ALA, the COA focuses on accreditation of educational programs that encompass both librarianship and information studies. The Standards refer to their scope as being

 … limited in their application to the assessment of graduate programs of library and information studies that lead to a master's degree. … The phrase "library and information studies" is understood to be concerned with recordable information and knowledge, and the services and technologies to facilitate their management and use. Library and information studies encompasses information and knowledge creation, communication, identification, selection, acquisition, organization and description, storage and retrieval, preservation, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, synthesis, dissemination, and management. This definition incorporates a field of professional practice and associated areas of study and research, regardless of a degree’s name.

A unit’s mission is relevant to master's program review; when the unit offers other educational programs, the contribution of those programs is also relevant. A unit may seek accreditation for more than one graduate program of education in library and information studies leading to a master's degree; when that is done, the goals, objectives, and learning outcomes of each program and their interrelationships are to be presented. (Standards … Library and Information Studies, 2015, “Scope of Standards” p. 3)

Note that the above definition, while incorporating “…. a field of professional practice … regardless of a degree’s name” does not state that it abandons the values and ethics of librarianship. As a profession, librarianship has always welcomed colleagues with related interests to our organization, our educational programs, and to our research activities, but as documentalists became information scientists and records managers evolved into information and/or knowledge managers, they have remained distinct professional categories with their own professional organizations and their own structures of evaluation of professional expertise for members of their professions. The American Library Association continues to welcome other information professionals with shared interests and missions, but as COA responds to the two task forces, it is crucial that we recognize librarianship as a distinct and autonomous profession and never forget that it provides the ethical framework that has the power to strengthen all information professions.


Spotlight on process and policy

By Kerri Price, Associate Director, ALA Office for Accreditation

Process improvement: The ERP report template and worksheet project

In each issue of Prism we focus on an aspect of process, policy, or procedure of ALA accreditation. This issue’s column looks closely at a recent example of process improvement undertaken by the Committee on Accreditation (COA): The external review panel (ERP) report template and worksheet. If you have an idea for a future column, please send it to Kerri Price.

Prepared by the external review panel for the comprehensive review, the ERP report summarizes the panel’s findings and is one of the evidence sources used by the COA when making accreditation decisions (other sources are the self-study; the program’s optional response to the ERP report; program reports submitted to the COA since the last comprehensive review; and the meeting between the program, the ERP chair, and the COA at the meeting where the accreditation decision is made.) Historically, the report has been free-written, with each panelist responsible for one or two standard chapters and the ERP chair combining the chapters into a uniform final report.

The idea to create an ERP report template and worksheet developed over several years. When reviewing Section III.7 (The ERP Report) of Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3) for the eventual 2015 fourth edition, the COA Subcommittee on Policy and Planning (SPP) concluded that panelists need more guidance when constructing the report to ensure that all standards and standard elements are addressed thoroughly. Then, in spring 2015, COA members conducted one-on-one telephone interviews with program heads to inquire about their concerns related to the accreditation process. A common cited issue was the need for ERP and program report templates. This need for a standardized ERP report template also appears as a recommendation in the final report of the Task Force on Accreditation Process and Communication (received by COA in October 2016, after the template project was already underway).

The template project began in earnest two years ago. The SPP, led by COA member and experienced external review panelist and chair Jean Donham, began developing the ERP report template and an accompanying worksheet to be used for evidence collection. The report template provides boilerplate language for the introduction and each standard chapter, and prompts the report writer to describe evidence (or lack of evidence) of program compliance with each standard element. The worksheet presents each standard element in a table format, and provides columns where panelists record program assertions about meeting a standard element, the evidence verified by the panelist regarding this assertion, and whether the evidence supports compliance with the standard element. The worksheet is meant to be used for data collection, prior to writing the ERP report, and specifically when reviewing the self-study and during the site visit.

In spring 2016, the SPP presented a draft of the template and worksheet to the COA and made adjustments based on the Committee’s feedback. Shortly after that, the ERP for the McGill University comprehensive review agreed to pilot the template and worksheet in fall 2016. Following completion of their final ERP report, the McGill panelists completed a concise survey, consisting of open-ended questions, on their experience of using the template, the worksheet, and the instructions provided. The feedback was overall positive and the SPP made minor adjustments to the tools in preparation for extending the pilot for the spring and fall 2017 comprehensive reviews.

As of this writing, all the spring 2017 external review panels and most of the fall 2017 panels have submitted their final ERP report. Most panelists used the template and worksheet and 27 have completed the survey. The SPP has been analyzing the surveys and will make any necessary adjustments to the tools, as well as a decision on the future of the project, at its upcoming fall meeting (November 16, 2017). My own brief analysis of the surveys indicates that the template and worksheet are, overall, well received. Survey comments indicate that 21 of 27 panelists hold favorable opinions on the report template, although some with reservations, such as it feels constraining or it may lead to a repetitive final report. Five panelists reported a negative experience using the template and one panelist did not use it. Enthusiasm for the worksheet is slightly lower. Thirteen panelists noted positive experiences using the worksheet, while eight reported negative experiences, with some noting that it is duplicative of the template and others feeling that it is too complex. Six panelists did not use the worksheet, with some explaining that they already have a trusted data collection system.

In addition to surveying panelists, the SPP surveyed COA after the 2017 Annual Conference in June, where the Committee reviewed five ERP reports written using the template. All COA members who completed the survey noted that use of the template increases consistency among ERP reports and ensures responsiveness to the Standards, and, for this reason, they prefer the template reports to free-written reports.

The ERP report template and worksheet project is an example of the purposeful and evaluative nature of process improvement by the COA and the Office for Accreditation. The COA Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3) manual is continually monitored for improvements needed for the next edition. From the open discussion sessions at conferences on topics related to accreditation, to enhancing the Directory of ALA-accredited programs, to streamlining the communications sent to programs over the course of the comprehensive review, the Office is constantly seeking ways to improve and clarify the accreditation process. Please send your thoughts on process improvement to Office for Accreditation staff at


In profile: Meet Lynne Howarth

Dr. Lynne Howarth (professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto), longtime external review panelist/chair and former Committee on Accreditation member, discusses her current professional endeavors and provides valuable insight into the accreditation process, as well as the qualities that make an effective reviewer.

Q: How would you describe your day job, and what are you currently working on?

Howarth: As a full professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto (iSchool@Toronto), I conduct research, publish, and teach in the areas of knowledge organization and management (KO/KM), metadata standards and applications, and the provision of information to marginalized populations. Current research, Show, Tell, Bridge, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is exploring how objects and storytelling are used by individuals and groups to establish rapport, find commonality, and build community, particularly in settings where people may feel alienated or excluded. Eileen Abels (Simmons), Linda Smith (Illinois), and I recently published a White Paper (August 2017), as part of, and a conclusion to an IMLS-funded project, Envisioning Our Information Future and How to Educate For It.

Q: When, why, and/or how did you initially become interested in serving as a reviewer?

Howarth: I served as dean of the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, between 1995 and 2003. During the first year of my term, the Faculty underwent its accreditation review. Seven years later, during the last year of my decanal appointment, we were again reviewed. This up-close experience with the process spurred my interest in becoming involved. While familiar with LIS/Information programs across Canada, I was also keen to learn more about comparators in the United States.

Q: In what ways (if any) has serving as a reviewer enhanced your career?

Howarth: Working with of the Office for Accreditation, and external review panels (ERP) has provided me with a much broader and richer perspective of LIS/Information programs across North America. I have met colleagues – both academics and professional librarians – with whom I have subsequently shared research interests, and from whom I have sought insights on pedagogical content and delivery in my own courses. Being a reviewer provided me with a network of colleagues that has expanded with each review and ERP appointment, enhancing all aspects of my academic career in research, teaching, and service.

Q: What three qualities make a great reviewer?

Howarth: (1) An open mind, (2) attention to detail and nuance, (3) excellent listening skills (and if I had a 4th, perspective and a sense of humor)

Q: Once the self-study is received (six weeks prior to the site visit), what do you feel is the most important aspect of reviewer preparation for the comprehensive review?

Howarth: Preparing for the comprehensive review that takes place on-site requires careful identification of gaps in, and/or questions about the self-study that will need to be addressed by a person (or persons), and documentation provided at the site. The program needs time to schedule relevant people and documentation; being clear about who and what the reviewer needs to see will help with ensuring a full and fair assessment efficiently. Neither the site nor the reviewer benefits from last minute surprises!

Q: You’ve been a reviewer for many years. What changes or innovations have you noticed over time with regard to the accreditation process?

Howarth: The evolution of the process of continuous review and updating of the Standards to include rigorous consultation with, and involvement of, all stakeholders has been notable to me. The recent 2015 Standards have tightened from six to five standards, reducing overlap and redundancy – also reflecting the voices and concerns of those engaged in accreditation. The introduction to the Standards seems to me to invite a broader interpretation of both programs and the standards. While not an opinion shared by all, I see the current Standards as encouraging of innovation and programs that address the needs of their stakeholders, rather than as requiring cookie-cutter conformity to any one view of LIS/Information education.

Q: What advice would you give to new reviewers?

Howarth: Don’t hesitate to ask for advice or guidance from more seasoned reviewers; we were all new once and continue to learn. Be organized and don’t leave things to the last minute. Assess the program you are reviewing on its own merits and in reference to the Standards, and not as you might like it to be. Enjoy the experience for all that it offers.

Q: What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

Howarth: Beyond the academy, as a beekeeper-in-training, I am continuing to learn why honeybees are so successful in organizing and sharing the knowledge of the hive – great lessons for informing my day job, too. I play weekly in an amateur string group which requires a different kind of concentration and is a complete distraction from work. I spent time at a music camp this past summer learning Celtic fiddling –awesome combination of music and dance. One of my greatest pleasures is spending time at our summer cottage with my partner, family (the youngest cottager is now 3 years old), and friends.

Q: What are the last two good books you’ve read (one professional and one pleasure read)?

Howarth: Professional read:  Ronald E. Day’s Indexing It All: The Subject in the Age of Documentation, Information, and Data (MIT, 2014) – an account of the modern documentary tradition and its role in organizing personal and social identity and value, and reorganizing social and political life.

Personal read: Madeleine Thien’s 2016 novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Knopf). Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, finalist for the Man Booker Prize, and on the list of 150 Books to Read for Canada 150.


External review panelists acknowledged

External review panelists contribute substantial time and effort to the accreditation process to assure quality in LIS education. We extend our appreciation to the following panelists who served on accreditation reviews during the spring 2017 academic term.


  • H. Frank Cervone, Executive Director of Information Technology, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Gail Dickinson, Associate Dean, Darden College of Education, Old Dominion University
  • Vicki L. Gregory, Professor, School of Information, University of South Florida
  • Nancy Roderer, Professor Emerita, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
  • Linda C. Smith, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Programs, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


  • Pauletta B. Bracy, Director, Office of University Accreditation, North Carolina Central University
  • Edwin M. Cortez, Professor, University of Tennessee
  • Colette Drouillard, Associate Professor, MLIS Program, Valdosta State University
  • Edward Erazo, Associate Dean (retired), Communication Department, Broward College
  • Rick B. Forsman, Retired, University of Colorado Denver
  • Linda Marie Golian-Lui; Associate Dean, Department Chair, Director of the Sturgis Library, and Professor of Library Science; Kennesaw State University
  • Ross Gordon, Director, Information Management, Environment Canada
  • John B. Harer, Associate Professor, Library Science Degree Program, East Carolina University
  • Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, Professor, Department of Library and Information Science, Catholic University of America
  • Gregory S. Hunter, Professor, Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University
  • Robert H. McDonald; Associate Dean for Research and Library Technologies/Deputy Director Data, Insight Center; Indiana University
  • Kate McDowell, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Lynne McKechnie, Professor, Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario
  • Teresa Prendergast, Children’s Librarian, Vancouver Public Library
  • Edna Reid; Associate Professor; Department of Integrated Science & Technology, Intelligence Analysis Program; James Madison University
  • James R. Rettig, Retired Library Administrator
  • Jennifer K. Sweeney, Adjunct Faculty, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University
  • Ann Carlson Weeks, Professor of the Practice, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
  • Amanda J. Wilson, Head, National Network Coordinating Office (NNCO), National Library of Medicine (NLM)


AASL-CAEP recognition news

ALA policy B.9.2.2 states: "The master's degree in librarianship from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master’s degree with a specialty in school librarianship from an ALA/AASL Nationally Recognized program in an educational unit accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is the appropriate first professional degree for school librarians."

Spring 2017 AASL recognition decisions

The following programs, which are part of an NCATE- or CAEP-accredited education unit, received AASL National Recognition or National Recognition with Conditions during the spring 2017 semester. National Recognition is awarded to education master’s programs in school librarianship that have been reviewed and approved by AASL's program reviewers using the ALA/AASL Standards for Initial Preparation of School Librarians (2010).

  • Arkansas Tech University, M.Ed. in Instructional Technology - Library Media Specialist
  • Chicago State University, M.S. in Library and Information Science - School Library Media Specialist and M.S in Library and Information Science - School Library Media Specialist (advanced)
  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Master of Library Science
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, M.S. in School Library and Information Studies
  • Old Dominion University (VA), M.S. in Education, Library Science

Spring 2017 reviewers

We extend our appreciation to the following program reviewers and auditors who served during the spring 2017 semester:

  • Anne T. Akers, Assistant Clinical Professor/School Library Program Coordinator, Department of Library and Information Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Susan D. Ballard, Project Director, School Librarian Program, Granite State College/University System of New Hampshire
  • Cassandra Barnett, Program Advisor for School Libraries, Arkansas Department of Education
  • Mary Ann Berry, Retired/Adjunct, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University
  • Judy Bivens, Accreditation Co-Director and MLIS Program Coordinator, Trevecca Nazarene University
  • Kelli A. Carney, Assistant Professor of Library Media, Curriculum and Instruction Department, Northeastern State University
  • Audrey P. Church, Coordinator, School Library Media Program, Longwood University
  • Patsy Couts, Professor, Advanced Professional Services, College of Education and Professional Studies, University of Central Oklahoma
  • Sherry Crow, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of School Library Science, College of Education, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Gail Dickinson, Associate Dean, Darden College of Education, Old Dominion University
  • Lesley Farmer, Professor, Librarianship Program, Dept. of ASEC, California State University Long Beach
  • Roxanne Forgrave, MLIS Program Coordinator and Professor, Olivet Nazarene University
  • Gail Formanack, Executive Director, Eastern Library System
  • Cynthia Houston, Associate Professor, Library Media Education Program, Western Kentucky University
  • Nancy J. Keane, Library Media Specialist, Rundlett Middle School
  • Ramona N. Kerby, Professor, School Library Media Program, McDaniel College
  • Kimberly McFall, School Library Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor, College of Education and Professional Development, Marshall University
  • Janice Newsum, Library Specialist, Department of Library Services, Houston Independent School District
  • Deborah Parrott, Assistant Professor, Clemmer College of Education, East Tennessee State University
  • Karin Perry, Assistant Professor, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University
  • Brenda F. Pruitt-Annisette, Coordinator, Media Services, Fulton County Schools Library


The next issue of Prism will be published in April of 2018. Stay tuned!
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