2001 ALISE Statistical Report and Database
This volume is the twenty-second annual statistical report on library and information (LIS) education published by the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE). Its purpose is to compile, analyze, interpret, and report statistical (and other descriptive) information about library/information science programs offered by schools that are members of ALISE. The Statistical Report is published by ALISE as a service to the Association membership. A Statistical Database is produced as a means of collecting the data systematically and making it available to researchers and administrators in a manipulable format. Together, the Report and Database support the mission and goals of ALISE through the provision of empirical data on the state of LIS education in member schools and by documenting trends in curriculum change, funding, continuing education, and other aspects of LIS education.
The Report and Database is published in two formats – a printed version for ease of use at the desktop and a Web version for wider access and quick referral to particular tables. The Web version includes some additional tables and material and is the most accurate and up to date. A mechanism for error correction exists; corrections are flagged by color with footnotes showing the original data. ALISE owns the database and archives older editions of the electronic form of it. ALISE promotes the use and awareness of the Report and Database. The intended audience includes LIS administrators, researchers, faculty members, current and prospective graduate students, and journalists. The general public may find it valuable as well.
About This Report. The present edition numbers 292 pages and reports information about the 56 member schools offering degree programs in library and information science that have been accredited by the Committee on Accreditation (COA) of the American Library Association (ALA). In this edition we have discontinued, at least temporarily, the practice of prior years of inviting a person with stature in the field to review the Report and comment on the state of LIS education from whatever perspective he or she chose. In its place following this introduction in a section called “Highlights …” we will comment briefly on changes and emerging trends we discern from our work with the data.
Database Development. Student data are now available in Access database format for the past five years (1996-97 to 2000-2001). Faculty data as reported in Part II (non-confidential section) are available for the most recent four years (1996-97 to 1999-2000 – note there is a time lag in reporting for this section which we hope to remedy in next year’s edition by collecting data for two years in our next regular data collection effort). Income and Expenditure data are soon to be available for the current reporting year (1999-2000 – this data also lags one year). Much of the information in the Curriculum chapter is non-quantitative in nature and is reported in text format; certain curricular information changes little from year to year. This information is published in tabular form only on the Web with a brief comment in the printed version. Comparative quantitative data in Curriculum and in Continuing Education will be incorporated into the database.
Any researcher or administrator wishing a copy of the data now available in database format may request it directly from the editors (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ). The data can be made available on disk in compressed format for cost. A database service is also available whereby key variables can be selected and specialized tables created for a selected set of peer schools can be produced for a particular purpose. To discuss data needs, contact one of the editors.
The ALISE Board has provided partial support for this endeavor in the amount of $10,000 for the 1999-2000 year and $12,000 for the 2000-2001 year. This support has expedited the process and has allowed the development of a more sophisticated version. It is much appreciated. Appreciation is also expressed to the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for its long-term and substantial financial support of the ALISE Statistical Report and Database.
Authors of the Report. ALISE has been fortunate in several of the authors of the Report have provided their services for a number of years. The Association owes a great debt to these individuals who, as a service to the profession, compile the raw data as it is received from member schools, analyze it, and produce the tables and commentary for each chapter. Fred Roper, dean of the College of Library and Information Science, University of South Carolina, had been the longest serving principal author for the Report providing analysis and text for the Income and Expenditure chapter for the past 18 years. At his request Fred has relinquished authorship of that chapter and is succeeded by John Olsgaard who has co-authored that chapter with Fred for a number of years. John is joined in the effort by Jane Olsgaard. Both, like Fred, are affiliated with the University of South Carolina.
Dan Barron, also from the University of South Carolina, continues as principal author of the Curriculum chapter. This year marks his 16th year of service. Tim Sineath, School of Library & Information Science, University of Kentucky, has produced the Faculty chapter for 15 years and also served for many years as editor of the Report. Jerry Saye from the School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in addition to being one of the editors, has been the principal author of the Students chapter for the past five years. Jana Varlejs of the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers University, began her work as author of the Continuing Professional Education chapter and has served for four years as it author. Chapter authors serve without pay. Their resource needs are contributed by their home schools.
Partnership with the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association. Our agreement with the Committee on Accreditation (COA) to coordinate our data needs and collection efforts reduces the reporting burden on the schools and improves the quality of the data and the response rate for the Report. This collaborative effort has proven to be of great value and mutual benefit. We wish to acknowledge the assistance of Mary Taylor, Associate Director of COA, over the past several years and to welcome the participation of Karen O’Brian, Program Officer for COA. COA accreditation officer Ann O’Neill has been invariably helpful and supportive.
Questionnaire Distribution Via the Internet. Consistent with our policy of moving more and more material to the Web, the various data collection instruments for this year’s report plus the cover letter to the deans and directors of the LIS accredited schools are provided to schools for downloading via the Internet. The direct mailing of questionnaires to schools in hard copy was discontinued two years ago. Schools are required, however, to continue to submit the completed questionnaires in hard copy along with the appropriate letters of transmittal and submission checklist. Work is going forward to make electronic submission possible in the near future.
Plans for the Coming Year. The addition of a paid part time database administrator has been made possible by the ALISE Board action reported above. Support of a database administrator will allow focused effort on the process of automating the database. An integrated database design has been completed. Implementation and testing will take place during the coming year. The database administrator will also revise and correct the existing database, administer requests for data, and develop and implement additional procedures for error checking.
Changes in the Report have taken place incrementally over the 22 years of its existence as a printed report. Revision of some of the data collection categories in the Faculty chapter is proceeding and will be reviewed with deans and directors this coming year.
We are always interested in recruiting interested faculty members as potential authors. Jerry Saye is eager to pass on the Student chapter so that he can spend more time on the editorial work. We would also like to commission occasional in-depth analyses of particular aspects of education in the LIS field. If you have strong opinions and a good analytical bent please contact either of the editors.
Acknowledgements. The guidance of the Steering Committee for the Report (June Lester, chair; Mary Jo Lynch and Howard D. White) plus the advice of the principal authors of the Sections (Tim Sineath, Jerry D. Saye, Dan Barron, Fred Roper, John Olsgaard, and Jana Varlejs) continues to provide valuable assistance to the editors. We are grateful to them. We welcome additional suggestions from deans and directors, researchers, the ALISE Board, and others who make use of the Report.
Kathy Wisser, doctoral student and graduate assistant for the ALISE project, provided patient, persistent, reliable, and intelligent help throughout the preparation of this year’s Report and Database. Lovetta James, doctoral student and graduate assistant for the 2001-2002, has joined the staff and will be assisting in converting the print Report to the web-based version. Yanfang Jiang, graduate assistant, will be the new database administrator replacing Heather Wolf who not only completed a complete database design last year for the ALISE statistics but used the project as the basis for her Master’s paper entitled, “The ALISE Project: Design of a Database and Online Prototype for Integration and Processing of Statistical Information” (School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina, April 2001.