Student Thomas Knutson Enhances His Library Leadership Skills through the SJSU SLIS Post-Master’s Certificate Program

As the Youth Services Coordinator at Saskatoon Public Library in Saskatchewan, Canada, student Thomas Knutson entered the SJSU SLIS Post-Master’s Certificate Program to develop skills that will help him advance to a senior leadership role in a public or academic library, where he sees opportunities for repositioning library services for the digital age and strengthening strategic community partnerships.

“There is a growing need for librarians to expand their advocacy and leadership skills, and to strive for long-term relationship building with decision-makers,” said Knutson, who earned his MLIS 15 years ago at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In Fall 2012, Knutson began the SLIS Post-Master’s Certificate Program, which allows students who already hold a master’s degree (in any discipline) to earn the certificate by enrolling in LIBR 203 (to prepare them for our School’s online learning environment) and taking five courses from a chosen career pathway specifically designed for information professionals. Knutson is following the Leadership and Management Pathway.

Knutson decided to pursue this certificate to satisfy his quest for lifelong learning as well as advance his career, particularly in an environment where adaptive capacity and authentic leadership are essential skills. “I could have taken some general leadership courses locally, but felt it was important to be developing these skills in the context of libraries,” Knutson said. “The content of the courses is preparing me to move into a senior role in a public library, but it’s also giving me broad skills that are transferable to academic libraries, not-for-profit work, or work in governmental organizations. Because of that, it opens up my opportunities.”

The fully online delivery model of the certificate program has worked well for Knutson. “Communicating and collaborating online creates an interesting dynamic, particularly in group work,” he said. “If you’re only interacting through voice or text chat, you have to be very succinct in what you say.  You have to be organized and prepared with the information you put forward, but this ultimately leads to stronger team-building.”

Knutson plans to complete his certificate program coursework by Summer 2013.

Influential Classes

LIBR 281 Seminar in Contemporary Issues (Transformative Learning and Technology Literacies): “Dr. Michael Stephens’ Transformative Learning course was a great introduction to the incredible shift in learning culture thanks to the internet.  Because of the work experience and interests I bring to my studies, I have discovered a significant synergy between Transformative Learning, Leadership (LIBR 282 Seminar in Library Management), and Advocacy (LIBR 282 Seminar in Library Management) that has created a much richer experience than I had anticipated!”

Favorite Blogs

Confessions of an Aca-Fan, Stephen’s Lighthouse, Leader to Leader Institute, Ken’s Blog (Dr. Ken Haycock), David Lee King, Polly-Alida Farrington, Tech Crunch, Tame the Web (Dr. Michael Stephens). Check other blogs out on Knutson’s online personal learning network.

Professional Associations

Saskatchewan Library Association