Universities need to target students at an earlier age

I came across an interesting article in this morning’s Globe and Mail that suggests that increasingly, students start making decisions about attending university as early as grades 6-8. Since most universities continue to target students in grades 11-12 for their recruiting efforts, this article could have a significant impact on such recruiting policies. The findings from the study to which the article refers may be found here. Not surprisingly, students whose parent(s) attended university are more likely to express interest in attending university. From the perspective of Information Management schools, this article and study present interesting food for thought. At Dalhousie, certainly, our school has focused primarily on undergraduate students as well as people who are currently working in an information management environment, but who do not yet have an MLIS. Increasingly, however, I think we need to reach out to students much earlier. I have serious doubts as to whether career or guidance counsellors know very much about the information management profession; at best, they may be familiar with librarianship, but do they know that you need a Master’s degree to be a librarian? In my initial forays at recruitment, I realized very quickly that the undergraduate career counsellors I met did not know of the existence of the MLIS, nor of information management as a career choice. Clearly, we need to do a better job of promoting our profession to other educational institutions.

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New academic year

Tomorrow will start the two-day Orientation event for incoming students for the 2010/2011 academic year. This is will mark also the beginning of my term as Director of the School of Information Management. The only major thing I regret about being Director is my reduced teaching load and the fact that I won’t be teaching the core course “Organization of Information,” of which I am very fond. Still, the course is in the very capable hands of one of our part-time colleagues. The up side is that I’ll be teaching cataloguing again after a two-year absence (sabbatical and reduced teaching load). This will be the first year that the advanced cataloguing course will be offered; I am gratified that the class enrolment for this new course is already high, especially considering that it won’t be taught until Winter. I love teaching cataloguing; I know the subject has a reputation for being dry and boring, but I think it’s great fun to delve into catalogue records and to actually create something that has an impact on retrieval.

Scotland bound

I’ll be heading to Glasgow on Tuesday to give a paper at the 9th Networked Knowledge Organization Systems workshops, as part of the 2010 ECDL conference. I’ll be presenting on the preliminary results of the research I’m conducting with my research partner, Laurel Tarulli (Halifax Public Libraries) on the log analysis data we’ve compiled from the AquaBrowser (Halifax Public Library) and BiblioCommons (Edmonton Public Library) social discovery from June-August. Since we haven’t yet collected all the data, I’ll be talking only about general observations we’ve made so far, as detailed data analysis will take place over the next two months. I’ll post the slides once they are published officially.

While in Glasgow, I’ll be meeting with two of my former SIM students, who now work in Scotland. It is, indeed, a small world.