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University of Alberta School of Library and Information Studies

Keeping It Real: Frontline MLIS Practicum Feedback from Supervising Librarians and Archivists

October 3, 2017

The University of Alberta’s School Library and Information Studies (SLIS) recently released the results of a survey conducted of practitioners who had supervised MLIS students in the School’s Practicum course between 2015 and 2017.

Some highlights:

  • Over 80% of responding supervisors and co-supervisors said that students were “well prepared” for their placements.
  • Almost all of the respondents said that their Practicum students could count on positive job references as a result of the placement experience.
  • Benefits identified for practicum supervisors included opportunities to build supervisory and mentoring aspects of their own CVs; to develop team project skills; to talk to students; and to make lasting professional connections.

The full report of the survey is available on the SLIS website.

Keeping It Real – Frontlines MLIS Practicum Feedback from Supervising Librarians and Archivists

September 28, 2017

An inaugural Practicum Supervisors Survey 2015-2017 reveals encouraging findings across the School’s endeavours that will be of interest to faculty, staff, sessionals, students, and our professional community.

The survey was conducted in July 2017 of practitioner colleagues who had supervised senior MLIS students in LIS 590 Practicum during the past three years. A major finding was that they regarded most students as well prepared for their placements and that would give them positive job references if asked. They also endorsed the School’s approach to LIS 590 Practicum pedagogy, emphasizing leadership and self-leadership skills; professional socialization; and networking, relationship, and communication skills. One respondent pointed out that “doing an amazing job while not building relationships kind of negates the point. Students who get this are always going to do way better than those who don’t.”

Survey participants offered multiple benefits of supervising a Practicum student, in spite of the added responsibility and workload it entails. Noteworthy were the many mentions of professional benefits to individual Practicum supervisors themselves, such as opportunities to build the supervisory and mentoring aspects of their own CVs, developing team project skills, gaining different perspectives and new knowledge, and make lasting professional connections.

During the period covered by the survey, a total of 49 Practicum supervisors and co-supervisors volunteered their time, energy, and mentorship in partnering with the School to provide 46 senior MLIS student placements (14 placements were through the online teaching and learning stream and 32 were through the on-campus stream). These School partners worked in a wide range of locations across Canada and internationally, in both archives and libraries.

Survey respondents are gratefully acknowledged, as is their willingness – and the willingness of all Practicum supervisors – to continue engaging with UAlberta MLIS Practicum students. Since the inception of the School’s MLIS Practicum more than two decades ago, in 1995, our professional partners have supervised almost 600 students in 60,000 hours of Practicum placements. These partnerships with the School are deeply appreciated and gratefully acknowledged by all SLIS faculty and students!

The full report of the survey is found here. Information about the School’s Practicum option in the MLIS program is available here.


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