The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) is committed to educating socially responsible information and arts professionals prepared to empower diverse populations in a multitude of contexts, communities, and cultures. Our diverse faculty contribute unique strengths that enable our students to address real-world challenges using socially just, innovative, and ethical solutions.
Advancing the theory, art and practice of professions specializing in the creation and stewardship of information in traditional and emergent forms.
Since its beginnings more than fifty years ago, SLIS has developed a unique interdisciplinary personality that blends the arts, humanities, and social sciences. We support a mutual belief in and respect for the diverse constituencies we serve. Through our community-engaged scholarship and service, we demonstrate a strong commitment to intellectual freedom, access to all, and the tenets of social justice.
The SLIS strategic plan begins in the 2022-2023 academic year and runs to the end of the 2026-2027 academic year. The SLIS strategic goals have been aligned to the 2021-2026 College of Communication and Information Sciences (CIS) strategic priorities. Goals have been listed as immediate (1 year), short term (3 year), long term (5 year), or ongoing. The strategic plan is the result of seven-month collaborative discussions across all SLIS faculty members informed by a SWOT analysis with input from our various stakeholders: current MFA and MLIS graduate students, SLIS alumni, and the SLIS National Advisory Board. Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) are embedded within all the work we do at SLIS and form the guiding principles for the strategic plan.
The SLIS strategic plan will be regularly evaluated through the committee work of SLIS faculty and SLIS administration. Annual progress reviews will provide the opportunity to assess and modify specific objectives as needed.
Overarching Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Guiding Principles: Foster an infrastructure that supports diverse students and faculty [tenets of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA)]
Cultivate High-Quality Academic Programs
- Goal 1: Explore growth in undergraduate (UG) programs in both Book Arts (BA) and Library & Information Science (LIS).
- Objective 1: Partner with other CIS units to develop IDEA UG courses that can be electives in continuing studies (CCS) supported DE majors [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Continue to follow UA Core Curriculum updates for opportunities to join conversations related to UG course offerings (e.g. information literacy) [Immediate]
- Objective 3: Develop courses that could serve as a model for UG course offerings for the UA Core Curriculum (e.g. information literacy) [Short Term]
- Objective 4: Expand Book Arts UG Course Offerings [Short Term]
- Objective 5: Consider options for an Library & Information Science UG Minor or Major [Long Term]
- Objective 6: Consider options for a Book Arts UG Minor [Long Term]
- Goal 2: Hone and develop doctoral program: online and residential
- Objective 1: Update existing feasibility study of online doctoral program, addressing course rotation needs & concerns [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Determine the type and number of doctoral study/students that SLIS can support [Immediate]
- Objective 3: Targeted recruitment of desired doctoral students [Immediate]
- Objective 4: Determine balance in enrollment and difference in curriculum between online and in-person doctoral students [Short Term]
- Objective 5: Consider developing an Information Sciences/Studies doctoral concentration [Short Term]
- Goal 3: Enhance Graduate Programs at the Masters Level
- Objective 1: Examine right-sizing the MLIS main campus and distance (online) cohorts [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Identify ways to better connect students across MFA and MLIS degree programs [Immediate]
- Objective 3: Explore diverse assistantship and fellowship funding models to support masters students [Short Term]
- Objective 4: Continually evaluate MFA and MLIS curricula to ensure relevance to current professional practices [Ongoing]
Enhance the Research Culture
- Goal 1: Develop increased support and mentorship opportunities for junior faculty as they move through the probationary process in an R1 institution
- Objective 1: Establish a mentoring program between senior and junior faculty [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Clearly explain the tenure and/or promotion evaluation criteria to all junior faculty and notify them of any changes in this process [Ongoing]
- Objective 3: Strategize collaborative junior/senior faculty partnerships for grant applications to fund research [Short Term]
- Goal 2: Increase research and creative productivity of all research faculty
- Objective 1: Operationalize the SLIS Strategic Fund to support faculty research throughout the year. [Short Term]
- Objective 2: Encourage faculty to join or establish scholarly communities in the unit and/or throughout the college and university. For instance, establish research groups within SLIS (i.e., Social Justice, Information Science, Libraries & Communities, Book Studies, etc). [Short Term]
- Objective 3: Consider a process for creatively allocating full time equivalents (FTE) to junior faculty the immediate pre-tenure year. [Short Term]
- Objective 4: Maintain relationships with Institute for Communication and Information Research (ICIR) and the Office of the Vice President of Research and Economic Development to support active research collaboration among SLIS faculty and faculty across campus via intra campus and external funding opportunities. [Ongoing]
Improve Internal and External Communities
- Goal 1: Develop a plan for strategically communicating SLIS news and faculty success within the college, university, and beyond
- Objective 1: Launch a monthly newsletter to distribute faculty research news [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Develop and circulate a quarterly newsletter that celebrates SLIS student, faculty, alumni engagement, and achievement [Immediate]
- Objective 3: Regularly share said news via external professional association listservs & other communication channels [Ongoing]
- Objective 4: Regularly share said news via internal communication channels [Ongoing]
- Goal 2: Document internal SLIS guidelines and procedures
- Objective 1: Review procedures and then document and approve existing SLIS procedures and guidelines [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Agree upon an infrastructure for housing and updating SLIS procedures and guidelines [Immediate]
- Objective 3: Investigate the need for procedures and guidelines required to address issues not addressed by current SLIS documentation [Short Term]
- Goal 3: Support post-graduate continuing education of professionals in our fields
- Objective 1: Build upon existing strengths of faculty to offer continuing education opportunities on a regular basis [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Plan and host an annual continuing education event at SLIS [Immediate]
- Objective 3: Support grant funding initiatives that create post-graduate continuing education programming [Immediate]
- Objective 4: Work with state agencies, professional organizations, and local constituencies to develop continuing education offerings [Short Term]
- Goal 4: Strengthen and expand professional and community partnerships/connections at local, national and international levels
- Objective 1: Provide support for faculty engaged in leadership positions in national and international professional associations [Immediate]
- Objective 2: Consult with the College and UA advancement offices to develop additional financial resources required to support SLIS community partnerships and connections (e.g. proposing a funding initiative for UA Day of Giving to support SLIS led community initiatives, similar to what Advertising and Public Relations (APR) has done in the past to generate additional funds for Capstone Agency) [Immediate]
- Objective 3: Identify resources that will assist SLIS faculty and staff as we encourage and support student engagement with professional organizations and related professional development activities [Immediate]
- Objective 4: Collaborate with local, state, national and international professional/community associations to advance LIS and Book Arts via the existing strengths of SLIS faculty [Ongoing]
MLIS Program Learning Outcomes
- PLO1: Students will have the skills and knowledge to understand the role of technology in library and information services. [1.2.7] skills
- PLO2: Students will be able to use evidence to inform library and information practices. [1.2.4] knowledge base
- PLO3: Students will be able to critically articulate the philosophy, principles, and ethics of library and information science. [1.2.1; 1.2.2; 1.2.3; 1.2.5] principles
- PLO4: Students will practice principles of social and cultural justice in their preparation for careers in library and information environments. [1.2.6; 1.2.8] responsibility
MFA in Book Arts Program Learning Outcomes
- PLO1: Graduating students will possess fundamental technical skills in the book arts.
- PLO2: Graduating students will possess advanced technical skills in the area(s) of professional specialization.
- PLO3: Graduating students will demonstrate a strong knowledge of the heritage, responsibilities, trends, and standards of the book arts professions, including an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the book arts and the importance of collaboration to the field.
- PLO4: Graduating students will demonstrate an ability to think and speak critically about their own work and its place within contemporary book arts and book craft.