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SLIS News

Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science Receives National Accreditation

Posted Feb. 20, 2012

Celebrates 50 Years of Accreditation

enter photo description
Kent State's School of Library and Information Sciences
is celebrating 50 years of continued accreditation from the
American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest
library association in the world.

The School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University has received continued accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world. The announcement came from the ALA’s Committee on Accreditation (COA) after the organization’s midwinter meeting in Dallas.

The ALA COA has evaluated educational programs to prepare librarians since 1924. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes ALA COA as the authority for assessing the quality of education offered by graduate programs in the field of library and information studies. Currently, there are 63 ALA-accredited master's programs across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, and three programs seeking initial accreditation. Most employers in libraries and other information professions require an ALA-accredited master's degree for professional-level positions, and some states require an ALA-accredited degree to work as a professional librarian in public or school libraries.

Stanley Wearden, Ph.D., dean of the College of Communication and Information, says, “I am very pleased that the School of Library and Information Science has been reaccredited. This is a tribute to the excellent faculty in the school. I want to acknowledge the hard work of Athena Salaba, Ph.D., associate professor, who chaired the self-study committee, and Don Wicks, Ph.D., interim director of the school. Without their leadership, this could not have happened. Finally, it’s important that we express our gratitude to the ALA Committee on Accreditation, a dedicated group that invests many hours in the accreditation process. Their guidance is invaluable in our pursuit of excellence.”

ALA accreditation indicates that the program has undergone a self-evaluation process, has been externally reviewed and meets the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies, established by the ALA’s Committee on Accreditation and adopted by the ALA Council. COA evaluates each program for conformity to the standards, which address mission, goals and objectives; curriculum; faculty; students; administration and financial support; and physical resources and facilities.

The accreditation process occurs every seven years, unless evidence persuades COA that the review should be conducted at an earlier or later date. The COA requires accredited schools to submit annual statistical reports and biennial narrative reports.

Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science began offering graduate courses for a Master of Arts in library science in 1949, then received its first ALA accreditation in 1961-62. With that, it became the 33rd school in the nation and the second in Ohio (after Case Western Reserve University) to offer an accredited graduate degree in library science. In 2000, the school received university approval to change the name of the master's degree from Master of Library Science (M.L.S.) to Master of Library and Information Science (M.L.I.S.), reflecting the increasing influence of technology and information science on the profession.

Today, the School of Library and Information Science has the only ALA-accredited M.L.I.S. program in Ohio. Case Western Reserve University closed its library school program in 1986. Courses are offered in Kent, at the State Library of Ohio in Columbus and in a fully online M.L.I.S. option. With more than 650 graduate students, the school has one of the largest programs in the country and ranks among the top 20 library schools in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report. Its children’s librarianship program ranks 13th.

For more information about the school, visit www.kent.edu/slis.