Jana Varlejs


Forty-six of the 56 schools with ALA-accredited programs in library and information studies submitted data on their 1999-2000 continuing education (CE) activities, the same number as last year. The ten that did not provide information, or reported no activity for the year were:  Alabama, Albany, Clark-Atlanta, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Queens, Syracuse, Texas Woman’s, and Western Ontario.


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, in the table “Enrollment (FTE) by Program and Gender” under “other graduate.”



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 one-hour lectures to Web-based 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 1999-2000, the total number of contact hours of instruction, and the total number of participants.  The number of events increased by 28, or 4 percent, and the contact hours increased by 2,227  (48 percent). Participation reversed the decline reported for the previous five years, increasing by 7,728, or 41 percent.


These increases are attributable primarily to two schools, the University of South Carolina and Toronto.  The former produced a two-hour teleconference that garnered an audience of 5,040 at 282 sites.  Toronto, on the other hand, succeeded in a campaign to vastly enlarge its offerings and audiences, increasing the number of contact hours by 370 percent and attendance by 122 percent.  For a discussion of the Toronto program, see the continuing education column in the Summer 2000 issue of The Journal of Library and Information Science Education.( [1] )  In addition to Toronto, schools that were in the top in terms of contact hours offering were:  Washington, Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan and Simmons.  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.  Fifty-four percent of the reporting schools held 1 to 8 events; 23 percent held 9 to 18; and another 23 percent held 18 to 93 events.  The pattern reflects that of previous years.  In descending order, the schools with the greatest number of events were:  Toronto, Wisconsin-Madison, Simmons, Michigan, and Washington.  The next highest group includes Pittsburgh and Drexel, followed by three schools that were tied:  south Carolina, Maryland, and Rutgers.  The list of schools most active in providing non-credit continuing education has remained stable for considerable time, although the rankings have varied somewhat.


Table V-2 summarizes non-credit continuing education by type of activity.  As in previous years, workshops were the most frequent mode of delivery, climbing by 37 percent after last year’s decline.  The total for “Institutes, symposia, conferences, forums” is higher than usual due to the fact that Simmons placed all of its 52 offerings in that category, whereas other schools might have reported these as workshops or tutorial/primers.  It may be that this latter underutilized category needs to be renamed.  Since the “workshop” is distinguished by its inclusion of some kind of active involvement on the part of participants, there needs to be a category that covers presentations that demand nothing by listening.  The “tutorial or primer” category was intended to be that category, but it has been defined in a limited way as “a brief remedial exposition of a subject in order to provide a foundation for more in-depth learning; generally delivered by an expert in the lecture mode.”  This definition seems to exclude the presentation of new or advanced information in an expository mode.  Furthermore, in the form for data on non-credit CE, the row heading reads “tutorial/individualized instruction,” adding to the confusion.


The “colloquia/lectures” category also continues to be problematic, in that quite a few schools have used it to report presentations open to both students and the practitioners in the surrounding community.  It could be argued that these are not intended primarily as continuing education events and should therefore not be included in the statistics.  On the other hand, it is possible to conceive of a brief lecture that expertly conveys a great deal of information and enlarges the audience’s knowledge.  If schools truly had in mind their practicing constituency in planning and marketing lectures, and then carefully counted the non-student attendees and reported only those, one might not object to the inclusion of this category.  Confusion about this continues to persist, however, and it may be best to exclude this category.


Another issue in reporting CE statistics arises from the increasing use of technology-delivered programs and the fuzzy definition of “distance education.”  Under the current data collection method, a school can choose to report a Web-based workshop under the workshop category and check the box for alternative delivery, or enter it under “other” as an Internet course.  More CE is becoming available in formats other than the traditional, where the instructor and the students are together face-to-face in the same place at the same time.  It is time to add categories and definitions to capture a more accurate picture of schools’ CE delivery.  This need is borne out by the variety of distance education delivery reported in the chapter on curriculum.


The percentage of events for which Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) were offered was 35 percent, remaining about the same as in the last few years.  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 [2] , 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.


            Tables V-3 and V-4 present nine-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 - Nine-Year Comparison of Number of Continuing Education Events by Types of Events in Reporting ALA Schools 1991-2000 and Table V-4 Nine Year Comparison of Continuing Education Enrollments by Type of Event in Reporting ALA Schools 1991-2000.


Credit Courses


Table V-5 is intended to summarize credit courses that are specifically designed as continuing education for practitioners.  It may be more accurate, however, to say that the table reflects participation by practitioners in credit-bearing courses, some of which may be part of masters’ programs.  The number of courses rose somewhat over the previous year, and enrollment increased by 20 percent.  The total credits offered increased from 231 to 292 (26 percent).  These credits were less comparable than last year, as the contact hours equivalent to one credit ranged from 10 to 16 hours.  The method of reporting does not permit compilation of credit hours per school.


The 11 schools that offered credit-bearing continuing education courses were:  Domican, Emporia, Iowa, Kent State, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina – Greensboro, Rutgers, San Jose, Southern Connecticut, Washington, Wisconsin - Madison and Wisconsin - Milwaukee.  The top five schools, both in terms of offerings and enrollments were Kent State, Washington, Southern Connecticut, Rutgers, and Washington.  Washington, Rutgers, and Wisconsin – Milwaukee made heavy use of Internet delivery for 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.  Of the 45 schools reporting, 40 (89 percent) drew at least half of their attendees from within the state or province.  Given the small but steady increase in Internet delivered CE, one would expect that there would be more registration from outside the providers’ area in the future.  It may be that promotion of online courses is still locally oriented.


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, 61 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.  Those schools that were the most active CE providers were also the ones that relied most heavily on fees.


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 have shown continuity in designating a CE coordinator.  These were:  Drexel, Emporia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico, Rutgers, Simmons, South Carolina, Toronto, Washington, Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  The schools with the most active programs have coordinators who bear a title indicating that responsibility.




Contact hours for non-credit offerings and credit hours for academic courses may be used to measure effort in providing continuing education.   Thirteen schools fall into the top ranks in one or both categories:  Drexel, Kent State, Maryland, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Simmons, South Carolina, Southern Connecticut, Toronto, Washington, Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Most were in this same last year.  Of these schools, nine employ individuals whose titles indicate that they are specifically responsible for the continuing education program.  With the exception of Southern Connecticut, the others have used the same faculty member or administrator for several years.


Six 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 92 percent from fees.  Several report income from contracts and grants.  Eight of the thirteen awards CEU’s for non-credit activities.


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[1] Varlejs, J. (2000).  “Toronto’s Continuing Education Program:  A Profile in Innovation.”  Journal of Education for Library and Information Science Education, 41 (3), 230 – 233.

[2]    The Continuing Education Unit Criteria and Guidelines can be ordered from IACET, 1200 19th Street N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C.  20036; 202-857-1122.