Shelve That Under S - for Success
St. Kate's MLIS program earns coveted ALA accreditation.
For the first time in its distinguished history in library education, St. Kate's now has its own fully accredited master's-level library and information science program.
In early January, the American Library Association (ALA) granted the University initial accreditation for its Master's of Library and Information Science (MLIS) — making it the only accredited program in Minnesota and one of only 57 in North America.
"This historic decision underscores and affirms the value and academic excellence of this nationally recognized program," says St. Catherine President Andrea J. Lee, IHM.
"We've got a golden ticket now," says Associate Dean and MLIS Director Deborah Grealy. "This affirmation from the ALA positions us nationally and, more importantly, positions our graduates for professional- level employment nationwide — in academic, public, school and special libraries."
Grealy came to St. Catherine from the University of Denver, where, as director, she helped the school's Library and Information Science program earn initial ALA accreditation in 2004.
She's made the same difference at St. Kate's, according to MaryAnn Janosik, dean of the School of Professional Studies and the Graduate College. "We could not have had a better leader working with faculty and editing the 200-page proposal submitted to the ALA," she says.
Grealy is quick to credit the MLIS faculty with crafting the first version of the lengthy accreditation proposal, which she, President Lee, Senior Vice President Colleen Hegranes, Dean Janosik and MLIS alumnus David Peterson '09 presented to the ALA's Committee on Accreditation earlier this year.
A legacy of library education
The MLIS program at St. Kate's has a strong legacy in community-based library education, dating back to 1917. St. Catherine offered a baccalaureate degree in library and information science for decades before partnering with Dominican University to offer an accredited master's-level program that ran from 1991 to 2008.
In 2008, St. Kate's began the process of seeking ALA accreditation on its own.
Initial accreditation will open doors to new curricular offerings in the MLIS program, which may include partnerships with law schools and healthcare institutions. In addition, St. Kate's students will now be eligible for financial awards such as the ALA Spectrum Scholarship that promotes ethnic diversity in library science.
The University will also be able to launch a chapter of Beta Phi Mu, the national library science honor society founded at the University of Illinois in 1948. — Amy Gage
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