Good morning all!
I've been chairing one of two task forces for the ALA Executive Board regarding accreditation. My task force is looking at the context for future accreditation. That is, what will the landscape look like in the future vis à vis such things as skills and knowledge and values that the profession will look for from LIS graduates, technological change, other changes that affect libraries and the education needed for librarians.
Yesterday I began what I hope will be a fruitful conversation with members of the Committee on Diversity. I am curious to know from them - and from this MIG - what the intersection of diversity and accreditation will be. This could mean examining how accreditation might address or account for changes in demographics among LIS degree holders/future professionals. Or, this could mean how accreditation addresses or accounts for how graduates will be able to work with the broad and varied communities of library users. Diversity encompasses so much, I recognize, so there may be a lot of other things that could be captured here.
The task force is not rewriting accreditation standards, nor can it dictate to programs what curriculum should be. Just the same, I'm inviting MIG members to contribute thoughts of any sort related to this matter. I hope the task force can gain some valuable insight from our colleagues within ALA.
Thank you for initiating this important conversation. Attached, two documents that may be a useful model to more effectively infuse diversity into the ALA accreditation Standards and, by extension, LIS education and the LIS professions. Both documents are associated with the most recent revision to the CAEP accreditation Standards. Given CAEP's leadership in improving their accreditation program, and the preexisting relationship between the ALA and CAEP, these will hopefully be of some use.
The first attachment, Cross‐cutting Themes in the Commission’s Recommendations, identifies diversity and technology as "two critical areas that will require new learning and substantial innovation by preparation providers." This document is part of the CAEP Accreditation Standards and Evidence: Aspirations for Educator Preparation.
The second attachment, CAEP Standards 1 & 2, Diversity Theme, CAEP Components and InTASC Alignment, maps the CAEP diversity proficiencies with the CAEP Standards and INTASC Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers, respectively.
One of the challenges of accreditation is determining when to take an indicative or prescriptive approach. I agree, it would be inappropriate to mandate specific programmatic mission, goals, objectives, and curricula. However, the accreditation program and process should both enable and incentivize LIS programs that are leaders in this area, and establishing accountability mechanisms and support structures for LIS programs who inadequately address diversity, broadly defined, within their program, curricula, faculty, and students. This is a delicate balancing act, even in theory, and I'm interested in hearing from others how this may be implemented in practice.
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