Key Takeaways From the Fall 2018 Director’s Forum

Published: Monday, October 29, 2018 by Priscilla Ameneyro

Five p.m. is a little late for me to have coffee, so I brewed myself a herbal tea and sat down at the computer for the last virtual coffee chat of my iSchool career. Every semester, Dr. Sandra Hirsh, professor and director at the School of Information, hosts an informal coffee chat via Zoom to provide news and updates, as well as connect with current students and answer their questions. If you missed this semester’s forum, read on for some of the key points. You can also watch the full recording here

iSchool News and Updates
Dr. Hirsh began the conversation by sharing some updates. First of all the iSchool welcomed two new faculty members this semester, Dr. Michele Villagran and Dr. Deborah Hicks. Hot off the press is the news that the School of Information has become the 97th member of the iSchools organization; check out the news story for more details. In other interesting news, the iSchool is launching a new degree program next fall in informatics. She also shared some of the faculty’s recent grants and research projects, such as Dr. Bernier’s grant to study first generation students. Several books by faculty members have been published recently or are set to be published soon, including the second edition of Dr. Frank’s book Records and Information Management.

What Employers are Saying
Employers know what they’re looking for from recent graduates. Dr. Hirsh shared some of the things she’s hearing from employers out in the field, so you can prepare for your future career:

  • Internships - employers are looking for graduates to have hands on experience. Dr. Hirsh encouraged everyone to do an internship, even if you are already working in a library or information organization, stating “an internship can still be invaluable because it is structured differently to focus on specific learning outcomes and can expand and enhance what you learn and what you can talk about in an interview as well.”
  • Technological skills - Dr. Hirsh recommended taking advantage of courses that help you develop strong technological skills.
  • Strong soft skills - like communication, collaboration, cultural competency, project management and advocacy are viewed as very valuable in the workplace. Ways you can develop strong soft skills include coursework, internships or leadership opportunities through the school and professional associations.
  • Potential for leadership - to develop leadership skills, Dr. Hirsh highly recommended participating in student groups. You can also attend conferences and get involved in professional associations.
  • Embrace change - in this dynamic field, you need to be ready for environmental, organizational, and technological change.

Career Resources
Dr. Hirsh wants you to be ready for your job after graduation. She encouraged students to take advantage of the iSchool’s career resources such as: Career Webcasts, Career Blog, Alumni Spotlights, Alumni Career Videos and the MLIS Skills at Work job trends report. Don’t forget to reach out to career consultant Jill Klees for resume advice and interviewing practice. She urged students not to wait until the end of their program to take advantage of these resources.

Course Selections
Take a look at the list of new and interesting courses Dr. Hirsh picked out as possible options for Spring and Summer 2019.

Regular session:

  • INFO 281 Open Access (1 unit), Intercultural Communication (2 units), Digital Copyright (1 unit) and Metadata
  • INFO 282 Marketing of Products and Services (1 unit)
  • INFO 284 Managing Photographic Collections
  • INFO 287 Library Services in the Digital Age and Innovation and Participatory Practice in Libraries (to include Maker Spaces)

Special Session:

  • INFO 220 Maps and GIS (2 units)
  • INFO 281 Globalization and Information
  • INFO 282 Information Vendor Landscape (2 units)
  • INFO 284 Special Collections (2 units) and Oral History (2 units)
  • INFO 287 Health Informatics (2 units) and User Experience

Summer 2019:

  • INFO 287 Augmented Virtual Reality and Evidence Based Practice
  • INFO 282 Workflow assessment and design in collaboration with technology teams (1 unit)

If you still can’t decide, check out my article on how to nail down your schedule.

Upcoming Conferences
If you’re planning on attending any of the below conferences, make sure to stop by the SJSU School of Information table or booth and let Dr. Hirsh know ahead of time. Even if you aren’t registered for the conference, you can attend the reception to mingle with fellow students, alumni, and faculty. Upcoming conferences and receptions include:

As well as getting the scoop on what’s happening at the iSchool and the director’s top tips for success, one of the best parts of the director’s forum is the chance to hear from other students. Dr. Hirsh sparked the conversation by asking things like where do you live, what’s your favorite class and how do you balance school and work, and the answers were illuminating! All iSchool students are encouraged to attend the forums each semester. Dr. Hirsh hosts these coffee chats to get to know students, answer questions and share any useful information she has. Keep an eye on your email for an announcement about spring 2019’s event.

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