USC MMLIS Student Experience with Hilda Loh-Guan

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Join us as we talk with Recent MMLIS Graduate, Hilda Loh-Guan, about her personal experience in the MMLIS program. Tune in as we dive into topics ranging from:

  • 100% Online Course Platform
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Faculty Access & Support
  • Time Commitment & Management Strategies
  • Admission Requirements
  • & MUCH MORE!


Uni Arceo:                           Good afternoon everyone, I’d like to welcome all of you that are participating at today’s webinar. My name is Uni Arceo, I’m one of the enrollment advisers for the master of management in library information science and graduate certificate in library information management online programs with the University of Southern California. Today, I’m joined by a recent graduate who recently just graduated August 15th, Hilda Loh-Guan. But before we get into introductions, I just wanted to wait for a few people to dial in before we get this started. A couple more minutes, we’ll wait for a few more people to join before we get started. Well again, good afternoon. Thanks again for everyone who is able to join today’s webinar. Just a few housekeeping rules. You’re all in listen mode only so you can hear us, but we cannot hear you. If you have any questions during the course of the webinar, just type them into the Q&A box to the right, and we’ll be able to get to them at the end of the webinar during the Q&A session. Keep in mind this is recorded and will be archived.

Uni Arceo:                           A copy of the presentation will be sent to everyone who has attended, and we’ll also send an archived version or link in the future. So for today’s agenda, we’ll do a quick overview of the USC and the online programs that we offer here at USC, and then we’ll jump into some of the student experiences that Hilda has been able to experience. So please welcome her. We’ll also give a quick review of the admission requirements for both programs. And then at the end, we’ll do a Q&A session. My name again is Uni Arceo. I’ve spoken with most of you, or if we haven’t spoken yet, I look forward to connecting with you shortly. My number here, as you can see, is 1-877-830-8647 extension 4182. You’re also welcome to email me with any questions. And my role here is to partner with students who are looking at potentially furthering their education in the library science field. Like I mentioned earlier, we have a recent grad, Hilda Loh-Guan, who is going to be able to share her experiences with the program. And if you don’t mind, go ahead and introduce yourself, Hilda.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Hi everyone. My name is Hilda Loh-Guan. I am currently a library administrator at the city of Santa Clarita Public Library. I just graduated as of two weeks ago from the MMLIS program, and I’m really excited to be here to talk to you, and here’s my link to my LinkedIn profile, so after the Webinar, you still have some questions and wish to connect with me, I’ll be happy to be in contact with you.

Uni Arceo:                           Thank you so much. And again, we are so proud that you’ve graduated with this program, and I’m really honored that you’re able to block out this time to share your thoughts and experiences with prospective students. So a quick run through of the program here at USC. We are ranked number 21 according to the US News and World Report. Our alumni network comprises of more than 300,000 distinguished alumni around the world. Additionally, our USC faculty is internationally recognized, and represents some of the best academic minds in the world, so you’ll be in good company. USC’s MMLIS and LIM graduate certificate online program is in collaboration between the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC libraries. It’s created from feedback from current library and information professionals, and the skill development focuses on four themes: library information, science management and operations, leadership and technology, but it’s also 100 percent online, which Hilda will be able to share in her experience doing the online program. So Hilda, let’s dive into that. What was your experience taking the online MMLIS degree at USC?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Well, in my prior experience before coming into the MMLIS program, I earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from the Colorado State University global campus. So I did my bachelor’s degree also online. So when I walked into this program, I was thinking the experience is going to be pretty similar, I was going to be able to manage things by myself, do things on my own, not having to necessarily be accountable to other people, and that is what you put in is what you get out, and that was going to be it. And so I felt like technology-wise, I was well prepared for this program, but when I walked into the MMLIS program though, I was so pleasantly surprised that this program is very, very much team and collaborative based, and that experience in and of itself has really enhanced my personal learning. I not only learned from all the literature and things that we were being assigned to, I learned from my professors, I learned from my colleagues, I learned from our assignments. It was a much more robust experience of online learning than I’ve had before. So it’s definitely changed my worldview as what an online program should be, and I hope that doesn’t scare you off because I feel like this is probably a really, really great way to learn online without feeling like you’re being isolated.

Uni Arceo:                           Thanks for sharing that. So you feel like you did have more of a connection with your cohort and professors?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Oh, very much so. In my other program, I was basically just answering simple discussion codes, turning in assignments. There wasn’t a real conducive way to connect with other students. But the MMLIS program, that is built in from day one. When I walked into Dr. Goldin’s class LIM 500, we were already placed in teams. When I walked into Dr Philadelphia’s class, we were already learning about how to manage teams. It starts from day one in this program, and it does not end until you walk out this door.

Uni Arceo:                           That’s great. Could you elaborate? How did you work collaboratively with your cohort in the team projects, group assignments?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                So I know a lot of you must be sitting here going, “Really? Teams? I hate working in teams.” Well, I felt that way too. I am one of those that I hold myself to a very high standard, and therefore I hold others to that standard. And oftentimes, people do disappoint you. People have lives outside of the program and outside of their work. And so sometimes, things might not be what you think it ought to be, but this program teaches you how to manage all of that. It’s not just throwing people into a team and go, “Okay, well, good luck.” It’s managing that conflict, managing that change, learning how to communicate in a way that works for everybody, whether that’s online, everybody sharing emails during a Google document, doing hangouts, meeting on social media. It is what you want to make it, and so it includes you to be connecting to your team, to your team members, and having those conversations to make sure that the experience is a workable experience for everybody.

Uni Arceo:                           That’s great. So it sounds like you were able to really connect. You didn’t feel that disconnect like you did with other online programs.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                No. Exactly. As I was graduating, I was kinda thinking about all the friendships I made in this program, and one of my cohort members actually works for my new organization, so we’ve connected in ways that we now have a lot of trust with each other. We look out for each other, we watch out for job postings and internships and be mindful of interest of one another, and we support each other in the work. So those friendships and professional contacts, it’s being built from day one.

Uni Arceo:                           I’m glad you brought that up because that is really what the Trojan family is all about.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Exactly.

Uni Arceo:                           Continuously build your network, which leads us to our next set of questions here. How are you still engaged with them? Could you, again, recap that with your peers and professors while you’re in the program?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Sure. No problem. So part of the program, and most of our classes, we do have synchronous live sessions that is offered by our faculty. And so that is your first and primary way of connecting with your professor, in person. It’s being able to see the face to a name, being able to hear their voice, being able to voice your questions and comments, and make those impressions with the professionals in the field, and it’s a gateway to also hear the voice of your fellow students and placing those names. Sometimes, when you’re conversing via chats or via email, sometimes those personalities, sometimes those comments might not come through as clearly, and so live sessions are really great for that. And as I’ve mentioned, when we’re working in team assignments, group projects, we’re using email, collaborative platforms, whether you’re sharing a Google Doc, Google Drive, OneDrive, whatever seems to work for you and your team. For me, I use Hangouts with a lot of my cohort members. It gives us a way to connect without having to invest in technologies or anything like that. And it seems to work well for all of us even among different time zones. One of my great colleagues and friends through this program, she is stationed in Japan with her military spouse. So even with a huge time zone difference like that, we’re still able to find time to connect in a very, very meaningful way.

Uni Arceo:                           Wow. That is amazing. Speaking of faculty and support, how did you feel you have that with this online program?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I love each and every one of my faculty members. I am not kidding, and I’m not kissing anybody’s rear when I say that. I have felt from day one when I walked into our program, each of our professors were very interested in making sure we’re not only getting through the program, that we are learning the things that will arm us to be a professional out in the library profession. It’s not just a paycheck to them. So whenever I encountered questions, when I had issues with maybe downloading the article or materials that I needed for the course, or if I was going through an issue and I have a tough time completing an assignment on time, or just don’t have all the tools I felt I needed, I reached out to my professors. All of them are very happy to work with you and try to give you the tools you need to be able to succeed in the program. It is not a matter of, “Oh, here I’m going to give a grade to somebody, and then off on to something else.” Even at our graduation luncheon, I’ve only had Dr. Curtis one semester, you know, in the middle of my MMLIS program, and he remembered me by name, by face. He remembered even one of the papers we worked on. So you’re really building relationships with your professors, and I always tell people and colleagues building that network starts when you walk into the door of the program. It does not start when you leave the program. So you’re making those impressions of professionalism of your passionate in the profession with your professors now because they’re well connected out into the field and can connect you to perhaps maybe a job that you might be interested in the future. So it’d be good if you do get to know them. They’re not just a face on a computer.

Uni Arceo:                           Excellent. I’m glad you mentioned that. And then could you just expand on the student support as well, in addition to the faculty?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Oh yeah. One of the things I was really, really impressed with with the USC program started with my application process. I remember I was a little, applying for graduate school is not an easy decision, and for some people in my, they must have faced rejection before or not sure what the process is like. I felt like I had somebody’s hand in mine every step of the way, from making sure the application was completed correctly, to having somebody review my admissions essay and giving me very constructive feedback, and answering questions as far as like financial aid, and how I’m going to get my classes and how I’m gonna manage my materials and all of those things. I had a staff member walk me through it every step of the way, and even once we’re into the program, we have Alexis, who’s our program administrator, reach out to us, periodically in making sure that, everybody’s doing okay.  If we haven’t locked in, she would check in on us to see like if something is going on, if there is some support that can be there. So there’s a huge support system not only from your colleagues, from the faculty, but also from the program in and of itself. And that is really remarkable.

Uni Arceo:                           Excellent. Yes. Thank you for sharing that. Speaking of faculty members, was there any in particular faculty that stood out the most or would be most remarkable?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Well, I loved a lot of my professors, and one of, I have a couple that I really, really enjoyed their class, and one of which is Dr. Gary Schaffer. He is our program director and he taught our LIM 599 class, which is on partnerships and collaborations, and what makes him really remarkable is he brings into the classroom all the professional experience he had working in libraries. He was a director at, I believe, the Tulsa City-County public library. So he was bringing in a lot of practical experience, and in that particular class, we were learning about looking at strategic plans, building community partnerships, and looking at how missions and visions fit with building partnerships, and looking at grants and kind of pulling in a lot of the things that we were learning from the other courses, kind of into in this culminating experience. And he keeps such timely and great feedback. And he gave such timely and great feedback through all of our work that I felt like from each and every class I was walking away with some tools, some technique, some knowledge that I was able to implement into my job immediately. While I was in that class, I worked for the county of Los Angeles as a library manager, so I found a lot of what we were learning in there very, very useful and very relevant. It wasn’t just idealistic thing that is in a book, it was a very holistic approach to managing a library, and managing partnerships, managing expectations. It was a really, really awesome class.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                The second professor I really enjoyed learning from was Caroline Muglia, who taught our Collection Development course. She made a very daunting course into something that was very approachable. She broke things down into ways that we understood. She was always reachable by email and by telephone. She was happy to work with us and connect with us, so that we were able to understand the content fully, because it’s not something that is easily learnable in a book, and she was able to really bring that to life for all of us through the assignments, through the exams that we had. It was a really solid experience. I really enjoyed both of those classes very, very much.

Uni Arceo:                           All right, yeah. It sounds like you were able to put in some practical skills and apply what you’ve been learning into, even, your field as a branch manager.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Yes.

Uni Arceo:                           That’s great. What about time commitment? How have you been able to succeed by balancing a full time, and family, and a grad program, such as the MMLIS?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Well, all things take time. I know that many of you guys sitting on the other side of the screen is probably thinking, how am I gonna manage. I’m here to tell you, you can. I am a widowed single parent to three young children under ten. I worked 40 plus hours a week, at the time, for the county of Los Angeles. I do volunteer work at my church, I manage a household, I help my elderly mother, and I was still able to complete the program very successfully. Yes, it can be done. But, having said that, you need to make the time. You need to plan your time. You need to look at your week, and know what sections of time that you can put off, so that you can say, I’m gonna make sure that this time is always devoted to reading, so that I can have all the reading done before I complete my discussion post, so that I can make a discussion post that makes sense. That it’s, what others reading it, it’s not a waste of everybody’s time. Sometimes, you might have to be able to say, you know what, I need to cancel my bowling game with my friends, or meeting time with so and so, so that i can attend to the project or assignment. Nobody is expecting you to just fully focus on school. I think 90 percent of my cohort were all working professionals. It’s just a matter of finding that time that works well for you, so that you can devote your time to studying and connecting with your cohort members. Don’t just rely just on a simple email, really do try to connect with them. Whether it’s via phone, or a google hangout, or some other way of social media, whatever you want to do, make sure you make time for those things.  It is doable, but what you put in is what you get out of it.

Uni Arceo:                           Exactly. It’s a short sacrifice, right?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Yes. It’s only 20 months you can do this. If I can, everybody can.

Uni Arceo:                           How many hours would you say, in a week, you would set aside to focus on grad school, for the MMLIS program?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                For me, I was a library manager at work, so i did not have the luxury of being able to do any school work while I’m working. I’m managing a building, managing a staff. I was never able to do it at work. I know some people can, and some people do. I did not. I made sure I set aside two to two and a half hours every evening, at the minimum. After I put my kids to bed, or when they were doing their own reading or homework, I’m sitting there doing my reading and homework.  On the weekends I tend to put in a little bit more time, because I didn’t work. When my kids were napping, or playing their games, I will make sure that I’m answering my assignments, or conversing with my team to make sure that we’re touching base on assignments that would be due on the upcoming week. It’s definitely doable. You can probably start it out, a lot of my colleagues did their reading during lunch. It’s just a matter of making it fit your lifestyle and your work schedule. It’s definitely achievable.

Uni Arceo:                           It’s crazy. Sounds like you really learned about effective time management by doing the online program.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Very much so.

Uni Arceo:                           What’s one lesson you wish someone might have told you before starting this program?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I wish somebody would have told me that you learn to manage your team well. That you respect each others time, that you manage your time and their time well. That was something that I had to learn in my first semester. In one of our first courses, which was, I believe, Dr. Philadelphia’s class on business communications, she talked about setting team ground rules, and how to set team expectations. I initially took that as, I know this, and I didn’t apply it to my collaborative team. It sounds great on paper, in a book, yeah I get it. But, it doesn’t work in real life. I wish somebody told me, yes it does, this is why she’s teaching you. She is trying to prepare you for that success and not to fall on our face. We had a team member, it was unfortunate that she was not somebody that adhered to what I would consider a great student conduct or a team member. Had we taken what Dr. Philadelphia told us in class, and taken those roles seriously, we would have had a way to communicate with her, to make sure that all of our expectations were aligned, that she understood if she wasn’t gonna bring her contributions to the table, we were gonna leave her behind, and that we will let all the professors know about it as well. Had I known that, I think that initial experience would happen so much easier. I would encourage all of you, if you were to enter the program, to really take into consideration what the faculty is teaching you. They’re not teaching you something just because it’s on a rubric. They’re teaching you something because these are practical things that will enhance your experience in this program, it enhance how you will engage teams and collaborations outside of the classroom when you’re working with other professionals, who may or may not always bring what you expect to the table. There is such a juncture between a professional environment and what you’re learning in the classroom. I really would recommend that everybody take those things very seriously.

Uni Arceo:                           That’s a great lesson. I think in any team environment, you have to hold each other accountable.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Yes.

Uni Arceo:                           I think that’s what you’re exactly referring to. That’s a great lesson. Hope everyone takes that lesson and respective students who are interested … make sure you write that down.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Yes.

Uni Arceo:                           In terms of assignments and courses, have you found the courses and assignments, regards to relevance to the library and information science field?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I definitely found everything relevant. It’s all very, very relevant. A little bit about myself, I have worked in a library environment for over 22 years, for the most part, for the county of Los Angeles, before taking my new position here at the city of Santa Clarita. I walked into this program thinking, I know public libraries, I’ve done this a long time, I’m here to just get a degree, I want to be a director some day, so I’m here to learn those skills sets. I wasn’t entirely wrong. When I looked at our assignments, each of those assignments have given me so many tools and so much power over my own learning. For instance, in one of your first classes, it will probably be the fundamentals of library information science. In one of our assignments was to interview a library professional. I chose, even though I come from a public library environment, I chose to interview somebody from the law library. This was, so I can learn about an environment that I’m not totally comfortable with or knowledgeable about, so that I can really tailor make my learning to areas that I feel weak, or that I feel I needed to work on. There were other assignments, like our independent research project, that I was able to delve into a subject matter that was very relevant to public libraries. I wrote a 40 page paper on the privatization of library management in public libraries. It gave me such a feel of empowerment that I was learning what I was interested in. The beauty of our MMLIS program is, we don’t do courses based on just public libraries or just academic libraries, or specialized libraries. All of these assignments have so much flexibility that it is easily translatable into all of those library environments. If you’re interested in public libraries, and you might not have worked in one, you can tailor make an assignment to fulfill that. Our teachers, and our faculty are happy to support that. They purposely make it such a broad range, so that we have all of our interests and aspirations so that we can build in to those assignments. These aren’t assignments … a few pages in an essay that you’re turning in just for a grade, they are meant to make sure that they are firming up that foundation for you, that they’re meeting those individual needs in each of the students, so that you’re finding your way into a library environment that you’re gonna enjoy. That It’s gonna be meaningful for you, that it’s gonna help you meet your professional goals. Depending on the assignment, I often times wrote things in a very public library administration perspective, because that is where I wanted to go, and I knew that’s where I wanted to go. Some of my colleagues have not had the same level of professional experience I had. They were a little bit more interested in experimenting with different library environments. They would work on their assignments, sometimes on an academic library, sometimes on a specialized library, sometimes on a public library, just so that they can explore all the different dimensions of the library environment. Your assignments are something that you can really take control of. I encourage all of our students to think about that very purposefully when they’re engaging their assignments instead of just throwing something on a paper.

Uni Arceo:                           So what I hear you saying is that the MMLIS program is very tailor-able, so whatever outcome to the interests you have for a career in the library, you can really dive into it with these assignments and courses that we offer currently.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Exactly. Exactly.

Uni Arceo:                           Were there any courses that stood out to you the most?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                There was multiple classes. I already mentioned Dr. Philadelphia’s class on business communications, I found myself referring to a lot of what she taught us in that class, throughout the entire program. A lot of those ideas and concepts really carried through. That is definitely one of the classes that really stood out to me. Another class is, research methods. That is by far, to me, the hardest class. I am not great with math. Academic writing was still something that I was being trained in. I usually do professional writing and not academic writing, so that class challenged me in many ways. I was able to walk out of that class with my head held high, and being able to say, I learned so much that I can apply to my other courses, to maybe future academic studies, that is what I wanted to do. Definitely to my job so that I was writing more cohesively. Both of those classes really set me up to do well in some of my final courses. All of these classes seem to go on each other, we’re constantly going, oh well didn’t we learn in so and so’s class this idea, and we are bringing that in to our next course that’s being taught my a different professor. It’s like telling a librarian to pick her favorite book, but, all of the classes were really, really relevant and enjoyable.

Uni Arceo:                           Thanks for highlighting a lot of the different challenges that you’ve faced and going in to this program very opened minded. I think that’s another thing that … a lesson that a lot of students should take in consideration when applying to the program.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                That’s correct.

Uni Arceo:                           In terms of return on investment, how do you see the MMLIS program enabling you to achieve your career ambitions. I know you mentioned earlier you did this program to potentially become a director one day.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I know what you must be thinking. There are tons of competing library school programs out there, that are a fraction of the cost. I’m not here to say any of those programs are bad. All I can say to you is, for me, the MMLIS program was definitely worth the investment. I did not want to head into a program that was gonna box me in to a specific library feel, or type of library. I wanted something that would arm me to be a good manager, a good leader, a good mentor, and to give me a very holistic approach to management. It isn’t just a book, it is very practical and relevant to a changing technology world. I didn’t see that in the other programs when I looked at them at the time of application. Having gone through this program, I know that I was in control of my learning, that I put in all the hard work, and I’m now reaping the rewards of it. I mentioned that I wrote a paper on the privatization of public libraries, well, having had just written that paper, and knowing what that topic was about, I walked into an interview for a library administrator position, my current position now with the city of Santa Clarita, which was leaving the privatization. So, I was walking in to that interview with so much knowledge that I would not have had, had I been pegged in to, maybe, a different program that would have told me what I had to write on. That’s something that was interesting to me. Santa Clarita happened to have been one of my case studies in my research paper. It was a direct translation into what my job is today and I am working with an excellent team now, that I know with my education, and with my experience here, it’s gonna prepare me very, very well to be that library director someday. I know for a lot of our colleagues who may not have had such, the different kinds of library experience before, this program encourages to look very broadly, and not just think about librarianship in very one dimensional, we were looking at all different facets with different aspects of it. I feel like many other programs may not be able to give you that, because a lot of their course work seems very academic teaching or instructional librarianship.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                They might only focus on one facet or something and not looking at it from all different perspectives. Even within a particular topic. So I feel like this program has armed me for my job and it’s setting me up very, very well heading into the future. So, it’s definitely worth the investment.

Uni Arceo:                           That’s great thanks for sharing that. If you could elaborate. It is said to prepare you for leadership roles. Could you elaborate how this program set you up for those leadership roles?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Sure. So a lot of leadership in management you’re gonna learn about, is it born is it made is it learned. For me it is a very much a learning experience. So what I’d learned in the classroom from managing time to managing a small team to managing my net library stacks now. I manage the stacks of 26 in a seven day library. I’m using a lot of those skill sets and a lot of those ideas and management theories that we were learning in the classroom. I am growing a new team here in my new library. I’m using a lot of the things I’m learning about, coaching, and managing change. As well as managing outcomes and expectations. I’m putting all of these things into play. As I grow my team and they get confident I get even more confident about what I am able to do and what I can grow into. So, like I said, I want to be a director some day so I want to be an effective transformational leader. I want to be somebody that is gonna be conducive to managing change. I want to be somebody that can do all the things and be respected because I am coming from not only a professional background but an education that supports my decision making. That supports how I run my library and how I manage my time and my staff. So, it’s, this program is just so multifaceted it’s hard to really place it into a one dimensional way that it’s simple. Because it’s an investment in yourself, it’s an investment in your profession. There is gonna be a lot of change in our profession and this program definitely enables us to be a competitive member of that.

Uni Arceo:                           That’s great that you mentioned very multifaceted. It’s not just cut and dry like it was back in the days. So it really does open up a lot of opportunities as you mentioned.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Definitely.

Uni Arceo:                           Now throughout the program we see scholarships that are offered. Were you able to receive a scholarship through the program?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I actually am very fortunate to have been a recipient of multiple scholarships throughout this program. A lot of those are earned based on … I believe one of them is based on your admissions essay, and how you feel you’re heading into the profession. Several of those were based on academic performance throughout the term. I was also very fortunate and very honored to have been selected for the Ken Haycock award for leadership that I received at graduation. So there is definitely scholarships as part of the program. Of course you can always apply through financial aid and all of the things, but there is certainly some support as far as paying for your schooling throughout the program.

Uni Arceo:                           Yeah, point being is there are ongoing scholarships so when it comes to, return on investment we do award students who are scholars like yourself Hilda. So thanks again for verifying that.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Yeah.

Uni Arceo:                           Well, thank you so much for being part of this webinar. I think you had a lot of insight to share as a recent graduate of the Master of Management and Library Information Science program. So I just wanted to really thank you we appreciate your time and what you were able to share regarding the program. Now I did want to give you an opportunity just to maybe recap maybe some last thoughts before I kind of dive in to some of the admission requirements here. Any last closing remarks?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                So just kind of recap, what you put into this program is what you’re gonna get out of it. The program in and of itself it’s rigorous, this is graduate school so I’m not going to kid you by telling you it’s easy. But it’s definitely achievable if you make the time for it. Our professors and fellow students, we all know you have a life outside of this classroom and sometimes the demands can be challenging. But this is where you come into play. You need to communicate with everybody else. You need to respect their time, you need to respect yourself. You need to respect the program. By communicating with the faculty, communicating with the students well in advance, will set you up to do this very well. Just a side story before I hand this back to Uni this last semester was a tough one for me. I started a very new job, a demanding new job and I traveled to a conference on top of it. So, there was a lot of flux and change and I just could not get certain assignments done in the way that I wanted them done, on time. So I reached out to the professors, I explained to them, this is what’s going on, this is where I am in the assignment, this is where I foresee it going. That I needed extra time, I needed help. I reached out to them and they were able to provide me that support. They were very understanding, they worked with me. So that I was able to complete things in a way that was conducive to all of us so that it was a win, win. So, make sure you communicate. Make sure you reach out. Make sure you’re putting in the time. What you put in, it’s what you’re gonna get out.

Uni Arceo:                           Great tip, great tip. The administrative requirements are as follows. There is online application. Where it’s pretty straight forward. You would put in your personal information, as well as your colleges that you’ve attended. There’s an application fee of $155. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution is required. It does not have to be a library science degree at all. Three letters of reference.  We do like to see a GPA of a 3.0 or above. However if you have any questions please reach out to one of the enrollment advisors. We’d be happy to clarify that with you. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you attended. One thing that’s nice is the GRE or GMAT score’s not required. Wasn’t that nice you didn’t have to take that at all, Hilda?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Oh, definitely. That was one hurdle I was very happy to have avoided.

Uni Arceo:                           More recently we are offering the library information management certificate. Same requirements with the online application.  A Master’s degree from an ALA accredited program is the requirement there. Two letters of reference. A GPA of 3.0 or above. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities. Again the GRE or GMAT score is not required. Related experience must be demonstrated. So a copy of your resume would be ideal. Again if you’d like to contact an enrollment advisor you can email the general inbox Alright, finally, I know that a lot of questions have been asked today so let’s go ahead and jump right into that. Hilda, I think this is for you. How was the job market after graduation? Would you be able to talk about that?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I work in the state of California so there are tons of different, at least for public libraries, there are tons of public library jurisdictions. I see on the job lists all the time they are constantly hiring for entry level librarians. There are plenty of internships available in many organization and many organization do hire some of their interns.  I definitely do not see a shortage in the job market. So it’s, if you are putting in the work. You are building a strong resume. I don’t foresee you having an issue locating or finding a job that might be suitable. The market is definitely there. Don’t forget this degree will teach you how … Arm you with how to manage information so you might not even be looking for a job that might have the title of librarian. So, you might want to be flexible and think about that as well.

Uni Arceo:                           Okay great. I know you were working while in the program. What about your peers? I know that you mentioned that some of your peers were looking at internships. Can you expand on that?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Sure. I was working the whole time, so I opted to write two major papers instead of doing a major paper and an internship. Many of my peers did choose to do the internship because maybe they didn’t have as much professional experience. But many companies, organization, libraries are able to work with some of the schedules. It’s not a huge amount of hours that we’re asking for and it’s definitely achievable over a term of 15 weeks. I have a colleague who worked full time as a library assistant in Colorado. He has two young boys and a wife and elderly parents and he was still able to complete an internship so … Of course then there are the virtual internships as well. For those who may be able to land those. It’s definitely achievable.

Uni Arceo:                           Okay great. Another question that came up is, There’s a recent grad with a major in IT management and a minor in graphic design, which courses would you recommend or do you feel that, maybe this focuses on technology?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I just recently took LIM 562 which is on library information technology. So we talked about information management systems. We talked about emergant technologies. We learned all about information technology terminology. That’s part of the coursework. So you might find that a very appealing or maybe even easy for you. That’s definitely one class that sticks out in my mind that definitely covers the technology side of things.

Uni Arceo:                           Yes, I agree. To just sort of piggy back on that it also covers organizations, classification, archiving digital content through new technology as well. I think that would be an idea program or a focus if that’s the direction you’re looking for. Another …

Hilda Loh-Guan:                We certainly have library professionals doing those tasks so that’s totally part of the course.

Uni Arceo:                           Mm-hmm (affirmative). This one’s for me. What’s the average class size? On average, we see cohorts between 15 to 20 students. Typically in the fall is a little bit larger, we see cohorts between 25 to 35 students depending on the term. But in your experience Hilda what was your class size? What did that look like? Your graduating class.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                It varied between the cohorts. We started off I believe with 18 or so when I started the program. Then over time of course some students come and go or other people decide to take a little longer to complete the program. So, when we graduated I want to say maybe there were like 10 or 12, that was in my class. But most of the classes were not like massive at all. So, you definitely were able to get to know your peers pretty closely.

Uni Arceo:                           Yes, so we do try to keep it small and intimate so that you really do get to build that relationship within your cohort. Depending on the size of the cohort we do typically split you up into groups and sections so you’re typically gonna be in group sizes of 10 to 15 students depending on again, how large the cohorts is. Or 7 to 10 students again depending on the size of the cohort.

Uni Arceo:                           Great questions so far. I have a question for you Hilda. How long did it take for you to complete the program with your busy schedule?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I did it five semesters in a row. I took the entire, I think it’s 20 months all together. So I started in January of 2017 and I just finished August 15, 2018

Uni Arceo:                           Okay. The program is full time only so you do have to take the three classes that’s required per semester. That’s two three credit hour courses and one two credit hour course which is research and professional applications where Hilda was mentioning earlier where she was able to really tailor her program specifically to public administration, public libraries.

Hilda Loh-Guan:                Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Uni Arceo:                           You’ll be taking three classes a semester and it will take five semesters to complete full time, which is, like she said 20 months.

Uni Arceo:                           I think those are it for questions. If there are any unanswered questions that we weren’t able to get to today, again, feel free to reach out to one of us enrollment advisors. Hilda is also open to getting connected if you want to write down her LinkedIn here. You have my contact information as well as Petronus Williams which is another enrollment advisor for the program. If you’ve inquired about the program in recent weeks you’ll be hearing from one of us to go over the library science program in more detail to determine if it’s a good fit for you and talk about next steps regarding how to apply etc. Any last comments before we end this webinar Hilda?

Hilda Loh-Guan:                I wish all of you the best of luck and if you choose to do the USC MMLIS program I do not think you’re gonna regret it. You’re gonna be truly joining the Trojan family. I hope you will be joining our family soon. Good luck you guys.

Uni Arceo:                   Good luck, sounds good, right on.