Monday, August 8, 2011

Just the Facts, Ma'am...Just the Facts.

This is a serious posting, but I want to start with something that will make you laugh out loud. Many readers are surely too young to remember the classic TV show Dragnet. I did not see the movie that came out several years ago but there is no one who could play Sgt. Friday like Jack Webb. Stop what you are doing and view this skit with Jack Webb and Johnny Carson. Oh and, it doesn't matter if you never even heard of the show. Just do yourself a favor and go to this link:

Now for the serious part...Today a student contacted one of our professors with a concern about our program. A friend told her that the Sam Houston State Department of Library Science was not accredited and that she would never get a job with our degree. This friend had attended another program in our state. I sincerely believe the friend was trying to be helpful and was passing on what she had been told. But it is not true and needs to be refuted. To that end I would like to share several points:

1. SHSU has the correct ALA (American Library Association) accreditation for our program. We are rated exemplary, and our program is used as a model, by AASL (American Association of School Librarians). AASL is a subsidiary of ALA. This is the entity that accredits single-purpose programs like ours that prepare school librarians. So we ARE accredited by ALA for that purpose.
2. We are also rated exemplary by NCATE, National Council for Accreditation of Teachers of Education, a rigorous process that extends accreditation to American Colleges of Education.
3. Our program is highly regarded by Human Resources personnel across Texas. I often get calls for recommendations for jobs from administrators in all parts of the state, including districts with other programs in or near their own cities. Even in these hard times we have placed a number of graduates in new jobs for the coming school year.
4. Our graduates are extremely well known nationally and internationally. Several that come to mind immediately are former students of mine, Naomi Bates, Teresa Schauer, and Analine Johnson. Other grads are district library coordinators, like Ric Hasenyager, and Brenda Huston. I should add I only named a few who instantly came to mind, but are representative of many other distinguished graduates. We have graduates serving on state and national library association committees, which obviously would not happen if they were not qualified.
5. Our faculty is highly regarded across the state, nationally, and internationally. I would send you to search in particular for the long-standing faculty members: Dr. Teri Lesesne, Dr. Rosemary Chance, Dr. Joanna Fountain, and myself.
6. Our program is thriving. We graduated 94 brand new school librarians this August and have an enrollment of around 300 students. We are also the longest running library science program in Texas, having been founded in 1929.

Yes, I am biased but I also want to be honest. I think true representation is an ethical imperative and would never misrepresent our program or anyone else's. If someone wants to be a public or academic librarian, I truthfully tell him/her that one of the three general MLS programs in our state might be a better choice. I send students to UT Austin, UNT Denton, and TWU, also in Denton. I really believe that Sam Houston State University's Department of Library Science is an exemplary program. But don't believe me...believe the accrediting agencies.

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