I understand and respect the Loon's position on the admissions process (better her than me reading all those essays), but am curious as to why we, as librarians, as members of the American Library Association, can't affect some measure of change on the graduation process. That is, once in, let's make it harder to get out of. There are a few ways of going about this.
- Comprehensive exams: Some MLIS programs already do this, and hypocritical me, I avoided applying to those that have these as a requirement, having already suffered through comps in a political science program, a process that left me feeling a strange combination of never smarter thanks to all the reading and analysis, yet also never dumber thanks to a laser-like focus on the discipline. But what if every program had these as a requirement? The exams could take place at the end of the first year, or the semester before one graduates. The ALA could even play nanny state and mandate core content on exams.
- Theses: Again, some programs require theses as well, but what if they all did. Force librarians to come up with a research topic, execute it, and then maybe even publish it (open access, please).
- The Loon, above, mentions the role of job placement stats on MLIS programs. I'd like her to expand on this. As I understand it, job placement data could play a role in ALA accreditation, and publicizing this data on the ALA website could drive potential librarians towards the programs that are more rigorous. This would increase rejections at some programs, but overall the field of librarianship would be better for it.
- Got more? Please share them in the comments, or on Twitter.
- UPDATE, 3:45PM on 3/9/12: Thank you, Eric, for an excellent comment that fits into this category.
Why do this? There are two reasons. First, I want better librarians. I want academic and law librarians to have a better idea of what goes on in academia and law schools (theses, comps, research, and the like). I want school media specialists and children's librarians to know more about early-childhood education and educational psychology. I want reference librarians to be as familiar as possible with research. You get the idea. Second, I want librarianship to be more respected as a career. That doesn't happen without more rigor in MLIS programs. While the costs of changing admissions policies might be beyond the pale, the costs of changing the curriculum of MLIS programs are not.