Jana Varlejs

[Editor's Note]: For a complete listing of schools that submitted data for this year's report, please click the
list of schools. To view the questionnaire used to gather data for this chapter, please click the questionnaire.

Forty-eight of the 56 schools with ALA-accredited programs in library and information studies submitted data on their 1997-98 continuing education (CE) activities, as opposed to 44 last year. The nine that did not provide information, or reported no activity for the year were: Alabama, Albany, Arizona, California-Berkeley, Dominican, Indiana, Montreal, Queens, and Syracuse.

Instructions for this section’s questionnaire state that only those educational offerings designed specifically for practicing information professionals should be included. Enrollments in courses that are part of degree programs are reported in the section on students.

Continuing Education Events

Continuing professional education offered by library and information studies programs exhibits a wide array of formats. Length of offerings reported this year range from less than one-hour colloquia to a 96-hour “short course.” Participation may be recorded as simple enrollment counts, or may be recognized though the awarding of Continuing Education Units (CEU's) or academic credit. Below, data on the non-credit events and credit bearing courses are tabulated and discussed separately.

Non-Credit Activity

Table V-1 lists the number of continuing education events that were presented during 1997-98, the total number of contact hours of instruction, and the total number of participants. While the number of events increased by 8%, the contact hours decreased by 26%. Participation continued the decline reported for the previous three years, dropping by 24%.

Schools that were in the top six in terms of contact hours were: Wisconsin-Madison, Washington, Michigan, Toronto, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Pittsburgh (tied), and Rutgers. With the exception of Pittsburgh, these are the same schools that reported the highest number of hours last year.

In terms of number of non-credit continuing education events, the distribution is quite uneven. One half of the reporting schools held 1 to 8; one quarter held 8 to 21; and another quarter held 22 to 98 events. In descending order, the schools with the greatest number of events were: Wisconsin-Madison, Toronto, Pratt, Michigan and South Carolina (tied), Rutgers, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Table V-2 summarizes non-credit continuing education by type of activity. As in previous years, workshops were the prevalent mode of delivery, and the general pattern of offerings did not change much. One difference in the 1997-98 year is notable: On-campus activities rose to 81% from 74% last year, and alternative delivery edged up only slightly in proportion to the total.

The percentage of events for which Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) were offered barely changed, dropping from 37% to 36%. CEU’s are a standard way of reporting non-credit continuing education, and awarding them constitutes a kind of seal of quality. Each unit represents 10 contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education activity under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction -- elements spelled out in considerable detail by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training 1, and reiterated in the American Library Association’s Guidelines for Quality in Continuing Education for Information, Library and Media Personnel (ALA, 1988). With the exception of Toronto and Pittsburgh, the schools that offer CEU's consistently are also the ones that have generated the most contact hours in the last two years.

Tables V-3 and V-4 present eight-year comparisons of non-credit continuing education data. They are omitted from this year's printed report but may be found on the web-published version at Table V-3 - Eight-Year Comparison of Number of Continuing Education Events by Types of Events in Reporting ALA Schools 1990-1998 and Table V-4 Eight Year Comparison of Continuing Education Enrollments by Type of Event in Reporting ALA Schools 1990-1998.

Credit Courses

Table V-5 summarizes credit courses that are specifically designed as continuing education for practitioners. These may or may not also be open to degree students. Four more courses ran in 1997-98 than in the previous year, and the total credits awarded increased from 300 to 328. These credits were reasonably comparable, as the contact hours equivalent to one credit ranged from 12 to 15 hours. Enrollment, however, dropped by 11%.

The 11 schools that offered credit-bearing continuing education courses were: Buffalo and Emporia, 4 courses each; Hawaii and Iowa,1 each; Kent, 47; Missouri, 6; Pittsburgh, 15; Rutgers, 16; Southern Connecticut, 11; Washington, 45; Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 24.  The largest number of credits were awarded by Washington (111), with Kent State and Rutgers next highest with 50 and 48 credits, respectively. The highest number of enrollments was 844 at Kent State.

Alternative methods of delivery were reported for many more courses than last year.Emporia, Rutgers, and Washington used the Internet and combinations of online and classroom and audio conference delivery. Washington was the leader in this category with 25 courses.

The Continuing Education Environment

Until last year, data on the geographic origin of participants and the sources of financial support for continuing education programs were tabulated by school. From last year on, these data are being aggregated. Changes from year to year have been relatively slight in the past, and it is easier to discern overall patterns when the information is summarized. Table V-6 shows that the audience attracted to the schools’ continuing education events was largely local. The pattern of distribution is very similar to that of previous years.

Of the 41 schools reporting the geographical distribution of their continuing education clientele, 37 (90 %) drew at least half of their attendees from the local and state area. Illinois was again an exception, reporting that 100 % of participation was national and/or international.

Schools were asked to indicate percentages of funding sources: for salaries for the CE portion of administrators and support staff, for stipends or salaries of instructors, for travel, facility rental, and other direct costs (the use of one’s own facilities is excluded). The data are summarized in Table V-7.

Overall, 65% of the schools relied on fees for the bulk of their financing. External sources of funding were by far the exception, a pattern consistent with that seen in previous years. Florida State, Louisiana, and South Florida were 80 to 100% federally funded.

Table V-8 summarizes information on how instructors are compensated for their teaching efforts in both credit and non-credit situations. The pattern is almost exactly the same as last year.

Table V-9 provides a profile of the instructional force used in continuing education offerings, both credit and non-credit. The pattern is almost the same as last year, with schools’ own faculty and practitioners providing the majority of instruction.

The last question asks schools to indicate who administers and coordinates continuing education activities. The results for this year, presented in Table V-10, are very similar to last year.

Eleven schools had clearly designated continuing education coordinators/administrators as judging by the titles of those who completed the continuing education questionnaire. These 11 schools were: Emporia, Maryland, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Pratt, Rhode Island, Rutgers, Tennessee, Toronto, Washington, and Wisconsin-Madison. Several other schools assigned the continuing education responsibility to the same administrative assistant or faculty member as in the preceding year: Iowa, Puerto Rico, Simmons, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


If contact hours for non-credit offerings and credit hours for academic courses are taken as measures of effort in providing continuing education, 10 schools fall into the top six in one or both categories: Kent State, Michigan, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Southern Connecticut, Toronto, Washington, Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Of these ten schools, six have individuals whose titles indicate that they are specifically responsible for the continuing education program. Half of these schools depend on fees to finance the programs 95 to 100% of the time, while the others derive 65 to 85% from fees.Half of the ten award CEU's for non-credit activities.

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Completed 10/25/99.
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