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-six of the 56 schools with ALA-accredited programs in library and information studies submitted data on their 1998-99 continuing education (CE) activities, as opposed to 48 last year. The ten that did not provide information, or reported no activity for the year were: Alabama, Albany, Arizona, British Columbia, Clark-Atlanta, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Texas Woman's.

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 curriculum.

Continuing Education Events

Continuing professional education is offered by library and information studies programs in a wide array of formats. The length of offerings reported this year range from less than one-hour colloquia to multi-part certificate programs extending over many hours. 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 offerings are tabulated and discussed separately.

Non-Credit Activity

Table V-1 lists the number of continuing education events that were presented during 1998-99, the total number of contact hours of instruction, and the total number of participants. The number of events decreased by 165, or 20 percent, and the contact hours decreased by 833.5 (15 percent). Participation continued the decline reported for the previous four years, dropping by 8 percent.

Schools that were in the top six in terms of contact hour offerings were: Wisconsin-Madison, Toronto, Washington, Michigan, Rutgers, and Pittsburgh. All were among the schools that reported the highest number of hours the previous year.

The distribution of the number of non-credit continuing education events is very uneven. One half of the reporting schools held 1 to 8 events; one quarter held 9 to 18; and another quarter held 18 to 93 events. The pattern reflects the previous year's almost exactly. In descending order, the schools with the greatest number of events were: Wisconsin-Madison and Toronto (tied), Michigan, South Carolina, Simmons, and Rutgers. With the exception of Simmons, the order is almost the same as what was reported last year.

Table V-2 summarizes non-credit continuing education by type of activity. As in previous years, workshops were the most frequent mode of delivery, although less so than in the past. Short courses, however, showed a dramatic increase, nearly tripling in number over the previous year. Because very few schools send their continuing education announcements, it is not possible to comment on the change in focus or content accompanying the shift from workshops to short courses. If one were to speculate on the basis of what other CE providers have been offering recently, it could be that Internet workshops have peaked, while topics less dependent on hands-on training have gained in importance: e.g., intellectual property rights, site license negotiation, knowledge management.

The percentage of events for which Continuing Education Units (CEU's) were offered decreased slightly again, from 36 percent to 34 percent. 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 few years.

It should be noted that the "colloquium/lecture" category is very low on contact hours but high on attendance. In 16 cases, these activities are reported as two hours or less in duration. The attendance count of over 5,000 may well include more degree students than professionals seeking continuing education, despite the instructions to exclude students.

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 1991-1999 and Table V-4 Eight Year Comparison of Continuing Education Enrollments by Type of Event in Reporting ALA Schools 1991-1999.

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. Sixty-three fewer courses ran in 1998-99 than in the previous year. The total credits offered decreased from 328 to 231 (30 percent). These credits were reasonably comparable, as the contact hours equivalent to one credit ranged from 12 to 15 hours. Enrollment dropped by 745 (29 percent).

The 11 schools that offered credit-bearing continuing education courses were: Catholic, Emporia, Florida State, Iowa, Kent State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Jose, Southern Connecticut, Washington, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The top four schools, both in terms of offerings and enrollments were Kent State, Southern Connecticut, Washington, and Rutgers. All four used some form of distance education to deliver a number of their courses.

The Continuing Education Environment

Table V-6 shows that the audience attracted to the schools' continuing education events was largely local. The pattern of distribution is similar to that of previous years, although there is a rise in attendance from outside the schools' immediate area. Of the 45 schools reporting the geographical distribution of their continuing education clientele, 36 (82 percent) drew at least half of their attendees from within the state or province (8 percent. Less than last year).

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, 67 percent 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.

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 the previous 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 the previous 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 the previous year.

Fourteen schools had clearly designated continuing education coordinators/administrators as judged by the titles of those who completed the continuing education questionnaire. These were: Drexel, Emporia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Toronto, Washington, and Wisconsin-Madison. Continuity in program leadership is evident in the following schools: Emporia, Maryland, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Toronto, and Washington. With Darlene Weingand's retirement, there was a change at Madison, but her successor is the long-time assistant, thus promising continuity.


Contact hours for non-credit offerings and credit hours for academic courses may be used to measure effort in providing continuing education. Nine schools fall into the top seven in one or both categories: Kent State, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Southern Connecticut, Toronto, Washington, Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. All were in this same list last year. Of these nine schools, six employ individuals whose titles indicate that they are specifically responsible for the continuing education program.

Four of these schools depend on fees and/or tuition to finance their programs 95 to 100 percent of the time, and four derive 75 to 87 percent from fees. Five of the nine award CEU's for non-credit activities.

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