iSchool Director’s “Ask Me Anything” Continues

iStudent Blog

Published: December 3, 2019 by Havilah Steinman

One of the greatest strengths of the San José State University’s iSchool is the accessible leadership by which it is guided. Once a semester, Dr. Sandra Hirsh sends out the call for questions and hosts a live session where students can chat with her. I had the fantastic opportunity to attend and ask a few questions of my own! Please see below for some of the questions covered during the event, and the recording is viewable here

What is the difference between special session and regular session? Why do we have this distinction?

Regular session students live in San José State University area, whereas special session students do not. Each type has different class schedules and fees. We are a publicly funded university and therefore have a duty to serve the students of San José State University. You are able to switch if you have a compelling reason.

For more information please review Fees and Registration Overview and FAQs.

How do I get an advisor?

Students are able to reach out to the Student Success Team for general advising, or Associate Director Dr. Linda Main. For more specific advising, you are also able to choose an advisor based on your specific interests. Advisors are not assigned, and it is the responsibility of the student to reach out to the faculty member they would like to advise them to begin that relationship.

For more information please review iSchool Advising – Faculty Pathways Advisors.

I’m graduating in the Spring – is there anything I should be doing during Winter break to prep for the ePort? I’m taking my last class while completing the e-Portfolio, how are those assignments included in the e-Portfolio?

After the semester ends, Dr. Main will send out information to all students registered for the e-Portfolio. It is recommended you start gathering your evidence early, such as your discussion posts and course assignments. You’ll get assigned an advisor right before the semester starts. Remember that with the e-Port, you choose which assignments you use as evidence. There’s no requirement to include all of your assignments. You’re going to use the ones that you have. You may also find some assignments early enough in your final semester that you can use in the e-Port. Typically, it’s about two to three assignments per competency.

Are there any teaching assistantships available to iSchool students?

We don’t have any teaching assistant positions, because you can’t have Master’s students teaching other Master’s students. However, there is the Peer Mentor Project, an INFO 298 class. The peer mentors are paired with new students enrolled in INFO 203, and a lot of the work from the peer mentoring includes teaching skills. It’s a great way to get experience for future teaching. Peer mentors are chosen once a semester, and if you are interested you can email Debbie Faires. You could also consider INFO 254 Information Literacy and Learning. They build an ability to do some teaching in the assignments. Specifically, you’re designing assignments and presenting them.

For more information please review Peer Mentorship: An Opportunity to Strengthen Information and Communication Skills.

How can I transition from public to academic libraries? All academic library jobs I’ve seen require experience.

We have people that have switched. This is a great question for Jill Klees, our iSchool student and alumni career consultant. Volunteering might also be a great way to get that experience. To be competitive in the application process, you’ll have to show your understanding of that environment and how your skills you already have map well to that environment. You could also try to get some experience through professional associations and networking in that community.

For more information please review Career Resource Nuggets with Jill Klees.

Remember to Follow Dr. Hirsh, on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. You can also always email her at 


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