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SILS Diversity Committee Update

March 2, 2018

The SILS Diversity Committee met on January 16th with several items on the table:

  1. Updated the existing diversity statement with small revisions to be more inclusive and politically correct.
  2. Discussed ways that faculty can and should be embedding diversity into their curriculum, such as making sure to assigned readings are written by diverse peoples, including the diversity statement on syllabi, and reaching out to diverse speakers when inviting guests into the classroom. In general, faculty should be aware of who they are making visible to their students.
  3. Discussed ways to promote the diversity certificate to SILS students. One method may be to email students who have started the certificate in order to encourage them to complete it. Another strategy is to build a sense of community by holding 2-3 informal student gatherings during the semester. The committee also discussed adding preferred pronouns to the diversity certificate application, and perhaps update the wording on the certificate itself.
  4. Began discussion on ways to retain diverse faculty and educate students, faculty and staff on the difficulties of being a minority in the academic environment. It is more difficult to get published if you have an ‘ethnic’ name, and faculty of color, especially women tend to get unbalanced reviews that on the lower end on student evaluations.

Master’s Committee Meeting Winter Updates

March 2, 2018

The December 6, 2017 Master’s Committee meeting focused mainly on the INLS 581-781-992 progression, and dual degree programs:

  1. INLS 581-781-992
    1. No decisions were made, but it was determined that there is a need to clarify what students should be familiar with coming out of Research Methods Overview (INLS 581) and going into Proposal Development (INLS 781). This will be discussed further in meetings in Spring 2018.
  2.  Dual Degree Programs
    1. A dual degree program with Environmental Science was discussed (BS in Environmental Science to MSIS). The goal of this would be to set up an accelerated program to identify, flag, recruit, and advise interested students early on.
      1. Undergraduates would be able to apply on paper, and take Foundations of Information Science (INLS 201) as freshmen or sophomores. With exposure to both environmental science and SILS, these undergraduate students would have the opportunity to double major (or minor) with SILS.
      2. In their senior year, they would apply to the MSIS program on the normal application cycle, but on paper.
      3. They would be able to take master’s-level SILS courses as undergraduates, and transfer up to 12 of these hours into the MSIS degree (although they wouldn’t be able to double-count those hours towards an IS minor). This would shorten their time in the MSIS program by approximately 1 semester, so the estimated length of their MSIS degree would be about 1.5 years.
    2. BSIS – MSIS accelerated program: This will be discussed more in January (Spring 2018). Lara will have some meetings to help determine which courses are necessary, and which core courses or electives can be taken by undergraduates to promote success as graduate students.


The Master’s Committee held its first meeting of the Spring 2018 semester on February 7. The following topics were discussed:

  1. Special Topics Courses
    1. The special topics course Disaster Planning for Libraries (currently INLS 690-225) is proposed to become a regularly offered course. This passed through the Master’s Committee without any objections, and will proceed on to be discussed at the next faculty meeting.
  2. Beginning Cataloging (pre-/corequisites for INLS 721)
    1. The Master’s Committee was asked by course instructors to reconsider having Organization of Information (INLS 520) be a pre- or corequisite course for Cataloging Theory and Practice (INLS 721), with the thought that if students were able to take INLS 721 earlier in their degree program, they would be able to work in cataloging earlier. During the Master’s Committee discussion, it was determined that the material from INLS 520 was valuable for placing in context the material from INLS 721. Thus, INLS 520 was left in place as a pre- or corequisite course for INLS 721:
      1. A suggestion was made for Library Science advisors to recommend that INLS 520 and INLS 721 be taken at the same time (in the first semester), especially if the student will be on the tech side of library science, or if they want to start cataloging early (e.g. if they want to be able to work in cataloging earlier).
      2. INLS 721 course instructors still have the option to waive requirements for students who do not meet the pre- or corequisite.
  3. Continued discussion of Proposal Development (INLS 781)
    1. Faculty input regarding INLS 781 (and by extension, Research Methods Overview INLS 581) was reviewed. “Flexibility” had emerged from the faculty meeting as a desired aspect of the INLS 781-to-INLS 992 (Master’s Paper/Project) transition. The Master’s Committee will invite INLS 781 instructors Mary Grace Flaherty, Brad Hemminger, and Brian Sturm to the next Master’s Committee meeting to discuss the relationship between the INLS 781 instructor, the student, and the Master’s Paper/Project advisor.

SILS All-Staff Meeting Notes (11/29/17)

December 1, 2017

General Announcements: Dean Marchionini started the meeting by congratulating Melanie Feinberg for winning an Institute for Arts and Humanities Fellowship for Fall 2018! He also mentioned  that SILS would be co-hosting a Black Girls Code event at Sitterson Hall on Saturday along with other UNC departments. PhD candidates are also going to be on campus for interviews and such in the next coming weeks, and he also encouraged faculty to talk with companies and ask them fund and provide student scholarships, in addition to hiring graduates.

Accessibility Services and Advice: Tiffany Bailey from the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services came and gave a talk with SILS faculty to talk about how students at UNC request accommodations from professors, how ARS helps students with their disabilities, and gave more general information about what faculty can do to help support students, or who to turn to in case they have questions about how to best accommodate a student.

Master’s Committee Update: Professor Losee, Chair of the Master’s Committee, updated SILS on the idea of allowing master’s students to take an additional 1.5 credit class for people who have already taken 781 but are starting on their master’s paper early. Discussion covered a variety of suggestions, and the general consensus was to not give the additional 1.5 credits, but many topics were covered regarding issues surrounding the master’s paper, such as how to better convey expectations for the paper, what the expected workload should be, how faculty can best advise master’s students, and in general how to calibrate the master’s paper process on both  the student and faculty side. No definitive decisions were made, but a proposal was made to bring up the topic again at another meeting with more time allotted to it for further discussion.



Pups and Cups

November 30, 2017

De-stress during finals week with puppy cuddles and a hot cup of joe! ILSSA will provide free coffee in the SILS Library on Wednesday, December 13th, from 3 to 4 PM, with Whiskey the therapy dog on hand to play and snuggle. We’ll have pups in the library on 12/11 (1-2 PM) and 12/12 (2-3 PM), too!

November 1, 2017 Master’s Committee Meeting

November 29, 2017
  1. Special Topics Courses
    1. The Committee discussed reaching out to faculty who have taught 490, 690 and 890 courses between Spring 2014 and Spring 2018 to determine if any of those courses should become regularly offered courses
  2. INLS 781: Proposal Development
    1. The Committee discussed some concerns about inconsistencies with INLS 781: some students request the ability to receive an additional 1.5 credits for continuing to work on their Master’s papers once 781 ends so that they can receive a total of 3 credit hours in the semester that they take 781, rather than having to find a second 1.5 credit course; there is a lack of understanding among some students about the purpose 781 and whether or not it’s beneficial to all students, whether they are IS or LS; there is some concern among some students about the inconsistency of 781, based on who is teaching it.
    2. The Committee discussed inviting faculty members who teach 781 to join the December Master’s Committee meeting, but ultimately decided to instead discuss the post-781 1.5 credit at the next faculty meeting.
  3. Master’s Paper
    1. The Committee discussed what seems to be a lack of consensus among students and faculty as to the purpose and scope of the Master’s paper – whether it is a paper, or a thesis, or a project, or whichever option the student chooses to make it, as long as a faculty member accepts their proposal. The Committee discussed Master’s paper requirements in other graduate programs (such as portfolios), the reasoning behind the SILS Master’s paper (it is a requirement from the Graduate School), and how to better inform students of available resources (the new website should make them easier to find).
    2. Current resources for completing the Master’s paper can be found here:
  4. Dual Degrees
    1. The Committee discussed the dual degree options for both IS and LS and the lack of detailed information currently available to prospective and current students about the degrees, such as required and recommended courses and a course/graduation timeline
    2. Lara has been meeting with the graduate student coordinators from each graduate program from which SILS students can receive a second degree – MAH from the Department of Art, MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, MPA from the School of Government, MHA from the Gillings School of Public Health, JD from the School of Law, MSN from the School of Nursing, and MA in Public History from NCSU. Lara has drafted IS-track and LS-track course plans for each of these dual degrees, which will be available on the website once they are confirmed by both programs involved.

Also mentioned at the Committee meeting: Spring 2018 admissions are in and the New Student Orientation will be on Tuesday, January 9th. The admissions process for Fall 2018 will begin in December.

R&D committee update

November 28, 2017

The committee met and reviewed the course requirements for doctoral students, the software and workflows for reviewing their applications, and plans for an admitted student day.

Student to Staff Essay Contest

October 29, 2017

Want to go to ALA but worried about the costs? Participate in the Student to Staff Essay contest to potentially win a chance at a partly sponsored trip to ALA!

What is Student to Staff?

It is a program for SCALA chapters to send a member to ALA. As a part of the Student to Staff program, the participant will work part of the conference while also attending sessions at the conference. This is a great opportunity to lessen the financial burden of going, as well as help out with making ALA a great experience for other conference-goers.

Each SCALA chapter nominates one member for the Student to Staff program. Here at UNC-CH we facilitate an essay contest to determine who will go to ALA.

Any questions? Email Brittany Soder at Look out for an email in early November from Brittany with links to the contest.