Highlights of the Fall 2015 Director’s Forum

iStudent Blog

Published: October 6, 2015 by Allison Randall Gatt

At the Director’s Forum on September 29, 2015, iSchool Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh gave us details on some exciting new developments at the school as well as her always-helpful tips for success. You can listen to the entire presentation in a number of ways: through Collaborate, an MP4 or an audio only MP3 recording.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
Hirsh started out her presentation with a warm welcome to this year’s ALA Spectrum Scholarship winners, pleased that 12 of those who received scholarships were enrolled at the School of Information. She also congratulated the iSchool’s ASIS&T and SLA student chapters, which both recently won awards recognizing their excellence.

The Library 2.015 Conference is coming up on October 20, 2015, Hirsh reminded everyone. I love these conferences because they help a MLIS student like me feel like a real professional—finding out about the latest tech trends and great ideas from those who are already working in the field. It’s all virtual, so I can be home in time for dinner. Stay tuned to this blog for more news and highlights from the conference.

Hirsh was also excited to introduce the iSchool’s brand new Advanced Certificate in Strategic Management of Digital Assets and Services. Current students can gain this certificate while earning their master’s degree without any additional credits required. “MLIS and MARA special session students may obtain both the certificate and the master’s degree using the same classes,” Hirsh said. Regular Session students who would like to take advantage of this opportunity may switch to Special Session once they have completed 22 units in their degree program.

Available beginning this spring (2016), the certificate requires nine units (three courses) in one of three pathways to give you more specialized skills in digital management. And—this is important—it doesn’t cost any more money. You can look forward to hearing more about the Advanced Certificate in this blog the next several weeks.

New Career Environment Info
Since finding the perfect job is so important when one is looking to receive a master’s degree, Hirsh highlighted several important career resources at the iSchool, including the website’s Career Environment section. These new pages supplement the Career Pathways pages (which recommend specific courses in the curriculum) by describing actual jobs in specific settings like academic, public, and special libraries. They’ll give you an idea about how the place, the people you work with and for, and the tasks you’ll do will all blend together.

“These pages help you to think about your career and what it would be like to work in these different environments, and what it is that you need to do to prepare yourself to get a job in one of these environments,” Hirsh said. It will make you think, she went on, “How do you want to spend your time as a student at the iSchool?”

The Career Environment pages include types of libraries, job titles and responsibilities, salaries, sample job postings, how to gain experience, applying and interviewing tips, voices from the field and further reading. 

Other Awesome Career Resources
In addition to the new Career Environment pages, Hirsh highlighted some other awesome career resources, including Career Colloquia, the annual Emerging Career Trends Report, Career Development webinars, and career consultant Jill Klees and her Career Blog. For starters, you can check out Klees’s webinar, “Developing Your Online Brand,” on Wednesday October 7, 2015, at 5:30 pm PDT, and if you miss it, you can always listen to recordings of her great talks.

“Don’t wait until you’ve graduated to use these resources,” said Hirsh. “The time is now, when you can still evolve your curriculum choices and your activities to position yourself well for a successful career search when you graduate.” She reminded students that this is a great time to experiment, too. Take a wide variety of classes and build a strong foundation of skills by sampling different electives.

“Tips for Success”
Dr. Hirsh always has a great list of recommendations in the “Tips for Success” section of her talks. She is so personable and encouraging, and her tips and friendly tone always make me feel like rushing right out and grabbing a hundred opportunities. Here are a few of her tips:

  • “Be informed!” Remember, that’s at least half your job as an information professional-in-training. Read the blogs—especially this one and the Curriculum Center blog hosted by Dr. Linda Main. Attend colloquia live or listen to recorded sessions.
  • “Do an internship!” It’s a practical and real-live way to find out if you really want a job in a particular field, and it looks great on your resume and builds your professional network.
  • “Take advantage of as many leadership and learning opportunities as possible.” Become involved in student groups and their leadership, be a part of the student journal and get involved and meet people. If you take it one step further, all this means network, network, network…
  • “Spend more time tweeting.” No, really. Taking a look at the iSchool Facebook page and participate. There’s so much going on there with cool posts about famous people’s libraries (swoon, sigh), reminders for iSchool events, and links to career tips and information about amazing iSchool students, faculty and alumni. Don’t forget to peruse the iSchool Pinterest boards as well.

The iSchool has some exciting new resources and opportunities to meet people and become more deeply involved in the library and information world. Make sure you take advantage while you’re here, and be the very best iStudent you can be!


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