Owing to the scope and pace of change, society has become increasingly knowledge-based so that higher learning and research now act as essential components of cultural, socio-economic and environmentally sustainable development of individuals, communities and nations. In this environment, it is essential that higher learning and knowledge creation involve effective partnerships among academic and non-academic learning institutions and communities to create and apply learning and knowledge with stakeholders that are managing and creating sustainable development initiatives. Growing concern regarding the importance of the contribution that higher education institutions make to society has aroused increasing debate about their relevance and credibility amid escalating social problems. An underlying premise of community engagement is the understanding that not all knowledge and expertise resides in the academy, and that both expertise and great learning opportunities in teaching and scholarship also reside in non-academic settings.
This conference will explore how LIS educators and researchers can develop curricula, programs, and research activities that enable active partnerships with communities and civil society to manage and create change. How can LIS programs increase opportunities for experiential, service oriented, and community engaged student learning? How can we develop further collaboration between LIS programs and their larger communities (local, regional/ state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity?
During the 2015-16 academic year, as part of a review and revision of master’s level curriculum, faculty in the School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) at Emporia State University began to formalize communities of practice (COPs) that include both fulltime and adjunct SLIM faculty. The formalization of these learning communities with the aim of providing opportunities for further curriculum development, but also, and equally importantly, increasing support for adjunct faculty, and creating learning communities in which all faculty may increase their content knowledge and pedagogical skill. In this presentation we will detail the benefits COPs have for LIS education by describing our experiences of creating COPs, the challenges we encountered and the solutions we have found to those challenges, as well as the theoretical framework in which our COPs are developing.