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?
While LIS education in North America likely remains among the best resourced in the world it is easy for educators and practitioners alike to confuse this circumstance with always “leading the way.” The co-conveners assembled and reviewed a current list of courses explicitly designed to address “international” LIS education (“international” meaning non-North American). This review determined that during the past several years nearly half of currently accredited American Library Association Library and Information Studies master's level programs in the United States and Canada began offering courses and seminars in international practice. These courses range in topics from comparative and cross-cultural practice, to notions of international professionalism, innovation, and challenges currently besetting library and archival studies in non-North American LIS education programs.
Speakers will include Dr. Yuelin Li, Professor and Associate Dean, Chair, Department of Information Resources Management; Business School, Nankai University (Asia); Dr. Shanju Lin Chang, Professor and Past Director, Department of Library and Information Science, National Taiwan University (Asia); Prof Terry Weech, Univ of Ill at Urbana-Champaign (Eastern Europe); Dr. Charlotte Ford, Library Director Birmingham-Southern College and Assoc. Prof (Central/Latin America); and Dr. Mary Anne Kennan, Associate Head of School Information Studies Charles Sturt University (Australia/Oceania).