Your Best Sources of Advice for Graduate School — Featuring iSchool Faculty Experts

iStudent Blog

Published: August 25, 2016

SJSU’s School of Information faculty members are experts in their fields and hail from all over the United States and Canada. Just like you, they look forward to the beginning semester and want to get to know you, share their knowledge and expertise and challenge you to meet your full potential. To celebrate and get off to the right start, we asked some iSchool faculty to share their top tips for success in your graduate studies.

Discipline and Time Management
“Being a graduate student and an online student are new experiences for many students, and it can be overwhelming,” says Dr. Sue Alman.  “It’s important to know that it takes a bit of time to get into the rhythm of balancing the responsibilities of work, home, and academics.” Alman teaches the core course Info 204 Information Professions and Info 283 Marketing of Information Products and Services. >

I use a wall calendar to write and color-code my class assignment due dates the first day of the semester (checked: done). I make sure to participate in class discussions earlier rather than later so that I both get credit for being on time and because participating in the discussions enhances the class experience and allows me to get to know my classmates. I put the kids to bed early so I have time in the evenings to study and read class materials.

Plan for Your Career Future Now

Dr. Debbie Hansen who is serving as a thesis advisor this semester and also teaches the core course Info 200 Information Communities as well as courses in archives and manuscripts and the history of books, has advice about course planning as it relates to career goals. “Explain why you are taking the class,” says Hansen, “and how it relates to your career interests and goals.” This is great advice to consider both at the beginning of a course and even while your signing up for the following semester (Spring course schedules come out in early September!)

“Make the decision to get the most out of each course and extracurricular activity,” advises Alman. “It’s important to participate in class discussions in a timely manner, get to know your professors and the students in your courses, volunteer for a leadership role in a student organization and attend sponsored programs.  Be an active and engaged student in order to attain the full benefits of this educational endeavor.”

Student groups put on programs featuring information professionals talking about their specific career fields and if you can’t attend the live session, you can always listen to the recording. In the spring of 2015, Alman organized the Library 2.0 Spring Summit: The Emerging Future: Technology and Learning. Both this Spring Summit as well as the one-day conferences throughout 2016, including Privacy in the Digital Age and Library as Classroom, are great ways to enhance your coursework experience and give you the latest news and trends in the world of information technology.

A Wealth of Resources
The iSchool webpages (including this blog) and Canvas advising pages are full of tips on time management, coursework resources and advice for career direction and focus. “Become familiar with the resources and services of the SJSU MLK Library,” says Alman. These resources include the iSchool Library Liaison, Ann Agee. Don’t be afraid to ask her a question—or two or three or a dozen—that’s what she’s here for. And don’t wait until your last semester to think about your next career move. It’s never too early… or too late. Even if this is your last semester, you should be examining the iSchool’s Career Development website pages and following the iSchool Career Blog.

The iSchool’s fearless and extremely helpful leader, Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh, is also a regular advice giver, doling out Tips for Success during her semi-annual Director’s Forum talks. “Take advantage of as many leadership and learning opportunities as possible,” she urges students. It doesn’t even have to be a big commitment of time. Hirsh reminds student to read the iSchool blogs and to attend the webinars, or listening to recordings of past presentations. 

If you didn’t find the advice you were looking for in this post, then be sure to ask your course instructors or go to the iSchool website Advising pages and find the best person to ask. Faculty have been organized on these pages by particular areas of study. Remember that you get out of your education what you put into it, and if you make the effort to find the answers and get advice from experts then your educational return will be priceless.

For Related Content, check out:
Making Technology Assistance and Resources Easy at the iSchool

Resources for Success for New iSchool Students

image courtesy of stuart miles