PLG Coffee Talks: UH's LIS Curriculum

October 30, 2018

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library & Information Science

Progressive Librarians Guild UH Student Chapter Coffee Talks

Positives & Areas of Improvement for UH’s LIS Curriculum

Monday 29 October 2018


Students also met on 23 October; a professor allowed the PLG to use her classroom space to host a coffee talk discussion for students who could not make it on Mondays. Students also discussed their concerns casually in the LIS Commons and LIS Diner, and submitted anonymous comments.


This Monday we had a great discussion and faculty were open to hearing student concerns and thoughts about areas of improvement for the curriculum. Faculty were also open and honest with us about what they are working on, and on the barriers they're facing with implementing changes. Students and faculty both exchanged ideas. The Program Chair let us know that students are welcome at faculty meetings as well.


Town Hall Idea

  • One student suggested having a “town hall” every semester to provide students and faculty with the opportunity to discuss the curriculum on a regular basis and continue to adapt, improve, and work together to exchange ideas. Faculty was very supportive of this idea.

    • We discussed how it could be implemented, if we could make it a requirement to attend, or if it should be part of the 691/692 course.

    • Students may not feel comfortable expressing their ideas with faculty, so we should for anonymous suggestions to be submitted via a Google form or a suggestion box in the LIS Diner.

Areas of Improvement

  • Almost all students want more discussion in all classes. This would empower students to engage critically with the material, as should be expected at the graduate level.

    • Some of us feel that we students should be expected to do the readings for class as well as find relevant literature on our own to bring to the discourse.

    • Many of us feel that we learn best through a collaborative, dialogic process.

    • Some of us feel we have learned more from fellow students outside of class and in the LIS book club discussions.

    • I personally have read a great deal on critical pedagogy, as well as feminist pedagogy, as written about by Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, bell hooks, and Maria T. Accardi. I believe that critical pedagogy should be implemented into our courses.

  • Indigenous and Native Hawaiian and Asia-Pacific courses are appreciated, but offered rarely and we would like to see these courses offered more frequently.

  • Diversity courses should be required, and topics of diversity and social justice should be implemented into every course.

  • Students want less course requirements to have the freedom to create their own path based on their intended career and professional interests.

  • We would like more courses that ask big questions, such as the social impact of information communication technology, feminist thought in librarianship, social justice courses, etc.

  • School librarian track students would like to see more school librarianship courses offered.


Faculty Response

  • Faculty did not comment on more discussion in courses or critical pedagogy applied to courses.

  • Faculty recognize the program could improve on the mission of a focus on Hawaii-Pacific librarianship and are actively working on offering more courses on these topics, and they openly discussed some of the barriers/problems they are facing with that.

  • The new curriculum was changed with the incoming students this year, and now SLO 5 addresses diversity and indigenous cultures. Students are required to take a course to meet each SLO, but have the freedom to select courses which best fit their path.

  • The new curriculum was changed, and only two courses are required: 601 and 691/692. Students have more freedom to choose their own path.

  • The program is limited by the number of faculty, as well as by student choice in course registration. They can only offer courses if students enroll in them, and when no one signs up for a course it is cancelled. Faculty discussed that they tried to work on developing collaborations/partnerships with other iSchools to share courses, but there were barriers to that.

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