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 is regularly evaluated through the committee work of SLIS faculty and SLIS administration. Annual progress reviews are conducted during the Fall SLIS Retreat and provide the opportunity to assess and modify specific objectives as needed. This plan was last updated in September 2023 based upon SLIS faculty, staff, and administration discussions at the Fall 2023 SLIS Retreat.
Notes: Assigned working groups of SLIS faculty and administration for operationalizing various goals are indicated in bold, per faculty discussions at August 2023 SLIS Retreat. The SLIS Admin Team is comprised of the SLIS Director, SLIS Associate Director, SLIS Assistant Director of Academic Programs, and the SLIS Program Assistant.
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: Continue to follow UA Core Curriculum updates for opportunities to join conversations related to UG course offerings [Ongoing] – SLIS Director, SLIS Undergraduate Coordinator, Book Arts Coordinator, CIS Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
- Objective 2: Expand Book Arts UG Course Offerings [Short Term] – Book Arts Committee, Book Arts Coordinator, SLIS Undergraduate Coordinator, CIS Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
- Objective 3: Consider options for an Informatics UG Minor and Major [Immediate] – SLIS Director, SLIS Undergraduate Coordinator, LIS Curriculum Committee, CIS Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
- Objective 4: Consider options for a Book Arts UG Minor [Long Term] – Book Arts Committee, Book Arts Coordinator, SLIS Undergraduate Coordinator
- Goal 2: Strengthen doctoral program: online and residential
- Objective 1: Continue advocacy for online doctoral program, addressing streamlined admissions, course rotation needs, assistantship/fellowship funding, and college acculturation [Ongoing] – SLIS Director, SLIS Representatives to CIS Doctoral Committee
- Objective 2: Continue to monitor the number of doctoral students that SLIS can support [Ongoing] – Full SLIS Faculty
- Objective 3: Identify strategies for intentional recruitment of desired doctoral students [Immediate] – Full SLIS Faculty, SLIS Representatives to CIS Doctoral Committee
- Objective 4: Evaluate existing and consider developing new doctoral concentrations [Long Term] – CIS Doctoral Committee with input from SLIS Representatives and SLIS Faculty
- Goal 3: Enhance Graduate Programs at the Masters Level
- Objective 1: Monitor right-sizing the MLIS main campus and distance (online) cohorts [Immediate] – SLIS Director, MLIS Faculty, SLIS Students Committee
- Objective 2: Identify ways to better connect students across MFA and MLIS degree programs [Short Term] – Ad Hoc Committee: MFA/MLIS Coherence Working Group
- Objective 3: Explore diverse assistantship and fellowship funding models to support masters students [Ongoing] – Book Arts Committee, MLIS Admissions & Fellowships Committee, SLIS Director with CIS Unit Heads
- Objective 4: Continually evaluate MFA and MLIS curricula to ensure relevance to current professional practices [Ongoing] – Book Arts Committee, LIS Curriculum Committee, SLIS Admin Team via exit surveys of students and employer surveys, MLIS National Advisory Board, Principal Investigators of Targeted IMLS Training Grants.
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: Build upon existing and identify additional opportunities for mentoring between senior and junior faculty [Ongoing] – SLIS Director, SLIS Faculty, CIS Associate Dean of Faculty.
- 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] – SLIS Director, SLIS Committee on Faculty
- Objective 3: Strategize collaborative junior/senior faculty partnerships for grant applications to fund research and seek opportunities support funded research [Short Term] – SLIS Faculty, CIS Associate Dean of Research
- Goal 2: Increase research and creative productivity of all research faculty
- Objective 1: Continue to Offer the SLIS Strategic Fund to support faculty research throughout the year. [Ongoing] – SLIS Director
- 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). [Ongoing] – Full SLIS Faculty, CIS Associate Dean of Research
- Objective 3: Consider a process for creatively allocating full time equivalents (FTE) to junior faculty the immediate pre-tenure year. [Short Term] – SLIS Director, CIS Dean
- Objective 4: Maintain relationships with Institute for Communication and Information Research (ICIR), CIS Associate Dean for Research, 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] – SLIS Director, SLIS Faculty, Director of ICIR, CIS Associate Dean for Research
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: Develop and circulate a quarterly newsletter that celebrates SLIS student, faculty/staff, and alumni engagement/achievement [Immediate]– SLIS Director, SLIS Program Assistant
- Objective 2: Regularly share said news via external professional association listservs & other communication channels [Ongoing] – SLIS Director, SLIS Faculty
- Objective 3: Regularly share said news via internal communication channels [Ongoing] – SLIS Director, SLIS Faculty
- Goal 2: Document internal SLIS guidelines and procedures
- Objective 1: Review/document and approve SLIS procedures and guidelines [Ongoing] – SLIS Director, SLIS Faculty
- Objective 2: Maintain an infrastructure for housing updated SLIS procedures and guidelines [Ongoing] – SLIS Admin Team
- Goal 3: Support post-graduate continuing education of professionals in our fields
- Objective 1: Build upon existing strengths of faculty to offer continuing education/professional development opportunities on a regular basis, working with state agencies, professional organizations, and local constituencies [Immediate] – SLIS Director, SLIS Associate Director, SLIS Faculty
- Objective 2: Plan and host an annual continuing education event at SLIS [Immediate] – SLIS Director, SLIS Associate Director
- Objective 3: Explore grant funding initiatives that create post-graduate continuing education programming [Ongoing] – SLIS Director, SLIS Faculty
- 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 [Ongoing] – SLIS Director
- Objective 2: Consult with the College and UA advancement offices to develop additional financial resources required to support SLIS community partnerships and connections [Immediate] – SLIS Director, Book Arts Coordinator, CIS Director of Development
- 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 [Ongoing] – SLIS Students Committee, SLIS Director
- 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] – SLIS Faculty, SLIS Admin Team.
MLIS Program Learning Outcomes
- PLO1: Students will be able to evaluate technology-mediated access 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.