USC MMLIS Program Overview with Dr. Christopher Stewart and MMLIS Alumna Anita Torres

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Join us as we talk with Interim Program Director, Dr. Christopher Stewart, and recent MMLIS graduate, Anita Torres, about 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!


Patronis W.:                       Good afternoon and welcome to the Online Master of Management in Library and Information Science webinar. My name is Patronis Williams and your enrollment advisor. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us today. Before we begin, I’d like to review what you can expect during the webinar. If you’re experiencing any technical issues, please refresh your browser. To cut down on background noise, everyone is on listen-only mode. Since we will not be able to hear you, if you have any questions for any of our speakers, please type your questions in the Q&A box in the lower right hand corner of your screen and hit send. A copy of the presentation and recording will be available soon.

Maria:                                   For today’s agenda, we will be introducing Dr. Christopher Stewart. Dr. Stewart will share information about the university, the programs and we will then introduce our alumni Anita Torres. Anita, will be talking about her experience throughout the program and where she is now professionally. Patronis and I will be going over the admissions requirements and the application process. We will end the presentation with a brief Q&A session and we will try to answer as many questions as time allows. All right, let’s begin. Dr. Stewart, we are excited to have you with that.

Dr. Christopher S.:           Thank you, and welcome everyone. We’re really thrilled that you are interested in this are very unique MMLIS program. I’m happy to share information about that program with you here today. I am the interim director of the program and also full time faculty member in the program. On the Marshall Business school side, my career background is in librarianship. I served as a library Dean for many years and have taught at several institutions around the country. I’m very happy to be here and very happy to be involved in this very, very unique program, which I just joined in 2018. My experience in the online classroom runs very, very deep.

I’ve been teaching in all my classroom for several years. The resources that USC brings to this environment are really without rival. I’ll tell you a little bit about the program, what we can expect from the curriculum, but first we’ll talk a little bit about Marshall itself and this wonderful institution, University of Southern California. We are a credential to enter into the field of librarianship and information work. The credential that is essentially required to work as a professional librarian and in library environments, in all kinds of information environments. But what makes us unique is that we are embedded, we’re homed in a business school and not just any business school, the USC Marshall School of Business, which is a top 20 business school in the country.

We have tremendous student support team that is going to be with you every step of the way on the USC side to ensure your success in the program, to ensure your preparedness for graduate work and we offer all of this in an environment that is incredibly flexible, but also highly hands on. We’re very proud of our synchronous approach, our regular live sessions that most classes have once a week in the conversations that those facilitate between faculty and students and more importantly among student peers. It is a fully online program that I like to describe as very, very, very hands on and it has a very rich technological infrastructure and a student focus in our program. We are accredited program by the American Library Association that accredits graduate programs in library and information science.

Of course, as you probably know, USC is a top ranked private university in the country. It’s a global center for the arts, technology and international business. It’s home to College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and 21 exceptional schools and units and these include, but are not limited to the Marshall School Of Business, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USC’s Vaunted School of Cinematic Arts, Keck School of Medicine, the Gould School of Law among others. Marshall School of Business of course is accredited by the Association for the Advancement in Collegiate Schools of Business. It’s a really unique environment for your LIS education where you are earning the credential for entry into the profession, but it’s taught through a management lens.

Let’s talk a little bit about the curriculum. We are a five semester program. We move through as a cohort and you complete the program in 18 months, five semesters. Management and the management approaches are threaded throughout the curriculum, so you’re going to be trained to lead and manage any level in the organization regardless of industry when you’re deciding that you’re going to be doing information. We train you in the skills that information professionals, librarians and others need at all levels of their careers, skills to manage, organize and lead. Does not necessarily entail one having to be at the top of an organization. We teach you to manage and lead from wherever you are in the organization and give you those skills to succeed in a really rapidly very rapidly changing world of library work.

For example, in the foundations course, which I teach, you’ll see that up on the left hand side, that fundamentals of library and information science, this is a very broad course. We cover values and ethics of librarianship, concepts and information science, history of libraries, information policy, information description, program planning, library mission and vision and budgeting to name a few. The idea is to provide you with this a solid foundation for the work that you’re going to be doing throughout the program and your careers. I greatly enjoy meeting all of our students in their first semester in our program. It’s a course that I hope to never stop teaching. It’s really what I like and then of course, I [inaudible 00:07:22] students of course, at the end of the program, but it’s a great pleasure.

Our curriculum, again what we start to do there, we have four electives. We have a structured curriculum. We’ll move through at a pace with a fairly prescribed curriculum, but with some pretty dynamic electives as well that you can start to take in your fourth and fifth … Your third semester, but more on that Maria and Patronis will talk about that later. I want to end by talking about some of the connections that we help you to make in the program as new professionals or continuing professionals. We have a very active mentorship program, peer to peer mentoring by connecting students who are about to complete the program with students who are starting the program.

We connect you with professionals in the field. Indeed, many of our courses are taught by leading professionals in the field. We also have various professional development opportunities for our students. One of those is our conversations with leaders’ speaker’s series that we hold every month. This is a one hour live, synchronous conversation with a leader in the library field from a whole range of environment from life of library and other types of environments. These are leaders that may be at the very top of their careers, that may be leaders who are mid-career, people who are doing innovative things. We bring those speakers to you and enable you to interact with them as a networking opportunity and learn about their work in the field and their work changing and transforming the field.

For example, this fall, we started our conversations with speaker series with Gina Millsap, who’s the Chief Executive Officer of the Peak in Shawnee County Public Library, one of the nation’s most innovative public library systems. We will be speaking with Elizabeth Stromme in October and she works for the Department of State as an information professional and in November, John Chrastka, who is the Executive Director of EveryLibrary, which is the country’s first political action committee for public libraries. That’s a sampling of the kinds of practitioners and thinkers that we bring to you in this program and connect you with.

Okay. Well, I hope that I’ve covered enough here. I’m happy to answer any of your questions later in this presentation and I will now turn things back over to Maria and Patronis to introduce very happy to have with us a regional alumni, Anita Torres.

Maria:                                   Dr. Stewart.

Dr. Christopher S.:           Yes.

Maria:                                   Can we actually go back to the last slide?

Dr. Christopher S.:           Sure.

Maria:                                   Okay. Can you talk to us a little bit more about the diversity of our speakers?

Dr. Christopher S.:           In terms of the different environments they’re coming from?

Maria:                                   Yes.

Dr. Christopher S.:           Okay. Gina Millsap is a leader of a large public library system. A lot of our students are interested in entering into work in public libraries already, do work in public libraries and Gina’s library system has been heavily engaged in some really unique programming that’s emblematic of a changing mission of the public library in this country today and indeed in the world. She’s an example of a leader at the top of her field, like a major municipal library, public library director. Elizabeth is an example of somebody who would bring in that says, not doing traditional library work, doing information work, but a credentialed librarian. A good example of some of what we talked about when we talk about leading from where ever you are.

Leadership is a practice and a state of mind that everybody needs to be engaging in, in our field, wherever they are, whatever work that they’re doing. Elizabeth is responsible for several areas in Africa working for … She’s a regional public engagement specialist, and it’s very, very exciting information work and education in that part of the world.

John is not a librarian, but he’s an internationally known advocate for libraries and helps libraries to raise money, pass ballot initiatives and generally improve their advocacy. In the valuable organization but also publishes a journal, his institute publishes a journal called the Political Librarian and he’s doing incredible work and very well known in the library field.

We have other speakers who are leaders from academic libraries, law libraries, we have people who are working … We’ve had speakers who are working as metadata specialists for Pandora as archivists, for example, school media librarians. We bring in people that we think are representative of the broad scope of library and information work today. It’s always a great conversation and attended by many of our students and the sessions has back and forth questionings question and either also recorded, so people can come back and look at them later. We’ve made some really great connections with our students and these leaders in the field.

Maria:                                   All right. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Dr. Stewart. I know we get a lot of questions in admissions about the different careers that students can have with us. I really appreciate that it’s a diverse professional background and it really prepares you for information science, not just being a librarian. I really appreciate that and I really appreciate the importance of networking very early and having conversation with these leaders to know what’s going on in the industry right now. All right, so now we’re going to introduce and Anita Torres and she’s going to talk about her experience in the program and where she is now. Anita?

Anita Torres:                      Hi everyone? Thank you so much for being here. I really-

Patronis W.:                       Hello Anita?

Anita Torres:                      … Hi. I’m really excited, as everyone mentioned, being a recent graduate of this program. I’m going to begin by giving a little bit of background on myself more than what it says on the screen. I’ve actually been working in public libraries for a little over 15 years now. It was, I don’t want to say an accidental career, but it was my first full time job working as a library clerk and I’d always loved libraries as a patron. When I got a job there, I thought this is great, this is what I’m going to do while I’m putting myself through college, in my undergrad was in sociology and I thought I wanted to be a social worker.

I have the part of me that really loves helping people, but then this library information aspect of myself, I couldn’t deny it, especially as the years went on, and I continued working in libraries. After I graduated with my undergrad, I was still working in libraries and these really unique opportunities presented themselves to me to where I became in a supervisory role, but they were supervisory roles that didn’t require me to get an MLAS degree. These years I’ve been working in libraries has been in the circulation department as a manager. I have a staff, and I do everything that’s not referenced, not librarian work, but it really became a career.

Throughout that time, I considered going back to school and getting my MLAS degree, but there were a few things holding me back. I think whenever we make a big decision like this, we think it’s time and money. It’s a huge decision to go back to school and … Oh, thank you. I thought about all of that stuff and I was one of, I would say the older students. I started in my late thirties, this program and I thought, I have a great career, financially, I’m happy where I’m at. I was worried about the risk of a traditional on MLAS degree. I thought, is a library degree going to be relevant? Do I really need this for what I’m doing? Then I heard about the MMLIS program, and it changed everything. This is my dream program.

Whenever I talk to people, I say that second arm made all the difference and the management component and the fact that this program is run through the Marshall School of Business, it just carries so much weight and you learn … I have not gone through another program, so I can’t say that you learn more, but what you learn here to me is so relevant in the real world. It’s so diverse. It’s so valuable.

Where am I looking at now? What am I supposed to be talking about? Let me adjust my slides. I’m going to talk about … I’m going to talk about what makes this program so great and so different. Again, I had a lot of library experience going into it, but it wasn’t as a librarian. What this program will do for you is it will give you that management experience. You talk about budgeting and collaboration, project management, these are real life skills and you’re using them right away. Because I already worked in the library, I would go to work as soon as the next day sometimes. We would learn about emotional intelligence. We have one whole course where we really focused a lot on that and I was able to use that with my staff right away. I also want to say that there are many people in new programs who didn’t already work at libraries.

There were people who worked at libraries but maybe not in a supervisory capacity. You don’t have to already be a manager for this to be valuable. If anything, it could even be more valuable if you’re not a manager already because you’ll learn skills in this program that, like I said, will immediately translate into the real world. Some of the things that Dr. Stewart mentioned conversations with leaders, incredibly valuable. The capstone and the E portfolio or a couple of bullet points here that I want to talk about. The capstone and E portfolio are essentially the same thing and this is what you’ll do in your final semester. One of the things that I realized is this helps you create your pitch. When you go through all of your courses in your learning and the capstone E portfolio is what brings it all together.

You begin writing, you begin composing through assignments, through projects that you’ve done throughout the program. You begin creating this portfolio so that you can use that to get jobs. As recently as … I graduated in May, within two weeks I was at an event, oh, just a library … It wasn’t even really a networking event. It was actually an ALA event. I ran into the director of another library since then and we just got to chatting and she happened to mention that she was looking for some part-time librarians. It was a temporary basis and she asked if I knew anyone besides myself. Sure enough, she emailed me and within a couple of weeks I was working there as a librarian along with somebody else in my cohort.

I really want to highlight becoming your own advocate because this program gave me confidence that I didn’t have before. Again, I’m somebody who had worked in libraries for many, many years, but I learned these skills that gave me the confidence to go after what I wanted. I don’t know if I would have approached this library director the way I had, but I was able to say, “I’ve worked in libraries many years, I have not yet been a reference librarian, I have not yet gotten these projects at a library, but what we do in the program is so real world.”

One of the things that you’ll do is you’ll participate in collaborative projects where you’re choosing grants or libraries that are actually real libraries and real life scenarios. By the end of it, you feel like you’ve really done this project and it will make more sense as you’re doing it, but you can reference those in interviews. Since my graduation in May, I have actually interviewed for three jobs, which I feel like I wouldn’t even have been qualified to apply for with a regular MLAS degree because the level of these specialized positions you wouldn’t get that from just any program.

Another example I’m going to give is my internship, and this is another example of just really thinking outside of the box and making the most out of your experience. When it came time to do … I live in Los Angeles and we’re lucky to have some large library systems and there’re a lot of jobs available.

But when I came to my internship, I was having a hard time finding a place to go. I knew that I could just call it from here to here because again, I’ve worked in libraries for many years and say, “Hey, can I just be a reference librarian a couple of days a week and just do the internship that way?” It would’ve been easier, but I really wanted to prove to myself and prove to just, I don’t know, our cohort and our program and just anybody that I could tell that this degree is so much bigger, it can be so much bigger. I approached somebody that I knew and that works at a public relations firm, it’s Mosaic Media and Communications and I asked to have a meeting with them, and I said, “Would you consider taking me on as an intern?”

This person said, “Aren’t you in library school?” I said, “Yes, but it’s library school plush. I’m in a master of management in library information science program. What I can do for you is I can be a researcher. I can be your [informationist 00:23:38] basically.” I presented this pitch and they accepted me and it was such a wonderful experience. I’ve learned so much and I really feel like I was able to show a business that they do have the use for this type of job. When you look for jobs, it may say library librarian, something along those lines or it may not, but you’re still doing that kind of work and I think it’s so important to remember that again, when you’re job hunting. Think about this skills and this is where it goes back to the capstone and E portfolio.

When you’re in the program, there’s so much going on and it’s happening so fast, and you’re so super busy that you can’t really reflect easily while you’re in it, but that last semester when you’re pulling everything together, and you’re looking back upon your work and everything that you’ve done, that’s when you really realize, my gosh, I know so much now. I have so much experience and really making the most out of that internship and networking and forming those connections. The more you put into this program, the more you’ll get out of it.

I realized that the harder I work, the more I network, the more I communicated, formed relationships with … I’ve formed lifelong friends from the people in my cohort. It turned into so much more than I ever thought that this would be. I’m mean, that’s my side. Looking at me now, I’ve already talked a little bit about my current role. I’m still working for the City of Calabasas Library as their Circulation Supervisor, but I’m also working part time as the librarian for the City of Burbank Library. I work a lot. I mean, I work almost seven days a week right now, but I want to gain different experience and that’s what I mean about just taking it, and the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.

My guess is that this will turn into a job very quickly by the end of the year. The different offers that are coming out of this it’s almost like at some point, depending on where you live, it might be where you’re really getting to choose, do I want to take this one or do I want to take this one because the degree you get from this program really stands out. I think it’s really a cut above what other people are saying. Let me see. One thing I wish someone told me before entering the program. Be prepared for so much teamwork. I didn’t really anticipate how much this would be working with each other, but then on the other side, be prepared for how rewarding that will be.

Sometimes hard to see that when you’re in it, but this is a management program and when you come out of this, you don’t only learn reference and programming, and those skills that looking  at the titles and the courses, you’re obviously going to learn, you learn so much more than that. This program actually boosted my technology skills because it’s online, and it’s so dynamic. A lot of people would ask me, “Oh, how good of a program could be it be if it’s going online?” It’s actually quite amazing. It is good to me if not better than an in-person program because the interactions just at a very, very high level, whether it’s with your fellow students, with your instructors, program director, students support, it’s just all there.

Going into this, I didn’t consider myself a very technologically savvy person. It’s not that they’re teaching that, but in the course of this program, my tech skill shot up, which has really helped me in the job world because now, I mean, tech in libraries as everybody knows things are going digital, is becoming a very valuable skill and that isn’t something that was on our curriculum. It’s just something that happened as a result and that has been incredibly valuable.

Then again, going back to the team, that’s just been incredibly valuable because no matter what you do, you’re working with other people. When you’re doing a project, you’re thinking about the project goal, but what you’re maybe not realizing at the time is that experience, good and bad of working with each other is just going to help you in the real world.

I think I’m done. I think that’s it. I went all over the place, but I just get very excited about this program and I start going off on tangent.

Patronis W.:                       No, worries. It definitely shows your passion, so fight on. Anita, one of the things that I’d like to cover as an advisor, if you can speak to this a little bit more for us, a lot of students have questions on 591 and why they’re taking it each semester. Can you talk about the benefits of 591 each semester and how it just prepares you?

Anita Torres:                      The 591 being the …?

Patronis W.:                       Research and professional application.

Anita Torres:                      Right. That was like the capstone, and then remind me of what they were on the previous semesters. It was the internship …

Patronis W.:                       Right. Generally, you start a semester with either 591. It’s the two credit unit class that she’s going to take each semester. You start out with just three unit classes. Could you just walk us through research and professional application and how that prepared you when you were able to give to the capstone with the research and the project management and the things that you’ve learned in that class?

Anita Torres:                      Right. Okay. The 591s … Now, it’s been a few months. It’s been about a year since I did the first one, so I’m trying to think back. Actually, one of the 591, if I remember correctly, was Dr. Lattimer’s or Professor Lattimer’s project management class. That class … The 591s are to me the ones that … They are not as maybe academic curriculum. Those are the ones that bridge the gaps between the school portion and the real world portion, if I’m remembering correctly. The project management, oh my gosh, as you can probably tell from how I talk, I have so many ideas and I get so excited about what I’m doing and it’s all there, but focusing it and bringing things from point A to point B to point C, you need to be able to do that as well.

The project management class is something that started helping me in work immediately and has helped me in everything from actual projects to preparing for an interview, to preparing for this webinar, I mean, just everything. I can see why they call it professional application, because that’s what it’s doing. It’s taking the skills you’re learning and then having you apply them to real world scenarios. I can’t imagine that somebody had questions about why that’s relevant. It’s absolutely relevant. If you’re thinking towards the future, and you’re not doing this program, just to do this program, the 591s are such a great opportunity, especially for people who don’t have library experience, which we had a lot of students in our cohort who had little to no library experience.

When you start applying for jobs, you’re going up against people who also have degrees, so how do you set yourself apart. If you’ve never worked in a library before, you can still reference the examples from your program because they’re so realistic, what we’re doing. When we do the grant project and I think it’s Dr. Philadelphia’s class, you’re really finding genuine grants and pairing them up with real library. Maybe you’re not actually presenting them for real, but you’re doing the project as if. When you’re in Dr. Shaffer’s class, and you’re forming a collaboration, a partnership between a library and a community organization and you’re doing this massive project for the entire semester, writing an MOU, creating a budget.

When you’re in Dr. Shaffer’s program or a class and you’re implementing a new technology into the library, you aren’t doing it as if you really work there, and you’re really doing this. You can reference that in an interview even though it didn’t really happen. You’ll be able to speak to that from a place of real knowledge because they have me take it all the way from beginning to end. There are people who have worked in libraries for years who have never done budgeting, never created a program, so you’re really setting yourself apart. Those 591 courses are what helps, like I said, bridge that gap between academics and the real world.

Maria:                                   All right. Anita, thank you so much for letting us know how the business aspect of the degree helps translate in your role and in your internship. I know you really talked about your portfolio and referencing a lot of your work in your interview, so I think that really shows our students what they would put into their curriculum once they’re in it. We really appreciate your experience, and the knowledge that you’ve gained and thank you for taking the time to share that with us.

Now, we’ll go through the admissions requirements. First, we’ll need an online application to be submitted along with 155 application fees.

For the MMLIS, we do require a bachelor’s from a regionally accredited program, and for the LIM Certificate it requires an MLIS from an ALA accredited program. Three letters of reference or three letters of recommendation, this could be academic or professional. We looked for a 3.0 GPA.

Patronis W.:                       Awesome. Thank you for sharing that with us, Maria. Another part of the admissions requirements that we look for is a statement of purpose. That’s 500 words or less and it really goes over a few questions. Why are you pursuing an MMLIS degree? Why did you choose USC? How will your current professional experience help you be successful in the program? What you want to do in this situation, you want to write about your passion, but you don’t want to make it sound like … You want to avoid writing a narrative. You want to attempt to make it as academic as possible while focusing on answering the three main questions.

We will need a resume, an updated resume, transcripts from all of the schools you’ve attended, and we would need this so we can do an official GPA calculations.

Sometimes we forget that we may have taken a class one summer, our sophomore year at a community college, could have just been a general education course, but we will need that. There’s no GRE or GMAT that’s needed or our admissions requirements.

Maria:                                   All right. Get ready to start it. We have three upcoming semesters. The first one is spring 2020. The application deadline is December 6th. The summer 2020 cohort, the application deadline is March 27th and for fall is to be determined.

Patronis W.:                       Awesome. Thank you for sharing that with us. Just a couple of admissions tips. Communicate with your Roman adviser. We are here to provide you with an admissions plan of action. Best practices is to schedule a weekly appointment and talk to your advisor during the application process. This is a good way to make sure that you’re completing the application in a timely manner and you can ask additional program questions. Also, you can set a goal for completing the application to hold yourself accountable for the application. Applications can easily be completed in two to three weeks. Ask those that you would like to provide a letter of recommendation for permission.

Remind them that a letter and a form must be completed. Provide them not more than a two week deadline for submitting the recommendation. Now, we’ll move over to the questions and answer session. Please, at this time field your questions and we will go ahead and answer them.

Awesome. I have a question here for our program director, Dr. Stewart. The question is, what type of companies do your alumni find themselves in?

Dr. Christopher S.:           [crosstalk 00:38:03]. Yes. We are pretty found in libraries of all types, academic and public libraries. We have alumnus who work as information specialists in government agencies. We have alumnus who become legal librarians, law librarians working in some of the leading firms on the West coast. We have alumnus that work in for Disney doing information work and digital preservation. We have alumnus that work for other screening services like Pandora. Who else? We have alumnus who work in school libraries.

Not all of our alumnus go into … I need to mention this as well. Not of our alumnus are going to be in positions where the title is necessarily librarian, not many and most will. The nature of information work is changing so rapidly. This is such a flexible degree that trains you to do this work in myriad environments. We also have a big number of alumnus who pursue careers as curators and archivists, and so, all different types of libraries and information organizations, public and private.

Maria:                                   Anita, we have a question for you. Our students want to know where your cohort are. What are they now doing for work?

Anita Torres:                      Okay. That’s a great question. Actually, one of my very close friend who I met through this program, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and she actually just … She was working during the program at the Children’s Hospital Library. She recently, I think maybe a week ago, got a job within the same children’s hospital as someone in their technology department. I just thought that was so interesting and so cool because, like I was saying and like Dr. Stewart was saying, this is such a diverse degree. The title that she had while she was in school had library in it and after graduation with a bigger job, her title does not say library. I forget exactly what it is, but there’s no mention of library or librarian in her title yet she got that job after graduating. That just really goes to show you.

Then one of my other very good friends, she is working at Claremont Colleges, and she is doing archiving. Archiving is not something that is a focus in this program, but the experience and just everything that comes with this degree, you can just sometimes add an entry level, get in and if that’s what you’re interested in, make a career out of it. She’s at Claremont Colleges doing that.

Then we have another, I’m thinking another one, who was working actually at a law firm while she was in school, but they didn’t have a position necessary for a law librarian, but after she graduated, they traded some things for her. Again, it was tech oriented.

As Dr. Stewart was mentioning, this is a changing landscape and that’s actually one of the things I’m really passionate about is the fact that this is still a dynamic career, if you’re willing to make other people see that. I was telling somebody the other day, my goal is to have people feel like you want us, you need us, you just don’t know it yet. Just going out there and … I’m trying to think if I have another good example from our cohort, but yes, I would say all kinds of things we’re doing.

Patronis W.:                       Awesome. Thank you for sharing that with us. Dr. Stewart, we have another question for you. Can you talk to us a little bit more about the mentorship opportunities that are available to the students in our cohort?

Dr. Christopher S.:           Sure. In your first semester, you complete your profile and this is all hosted on an MMLIS web space. Your profile goes up, you talk a little bit about who you are, what kind of a mentor you’re interested in, if you know anything about the type of environment you want to work in. We don’t match you. It’s completely a voluntary program. You will have access then to an area in which the mentors, many of whom are in their last semester of the program will connect with you or you can connect with them for counsel and advice on how to succeed in the program.

But also in that area, are members of the profession and members of the faculty who have expressed interest and offered themselves up as mentors. Those connections are available for you to make. The connection itself, oftentimes, the student who is seeking a mentor at any level will reach out to the mentor or vice versa, but each presents a profile of the kind of professional mentoring they are looking for or could provide.

Patronis W.:                       Thank you for sharing that with us. We have another question and this one is for Maria and I. They want to know, how long does it typically take to get an application review?

We make every attempt to review your application in a timely manner. The admissions committee will more than likely review your … The review process will typically take about three to four weeks depending on what is going on. When I say that, sometimes since we … We have dual enrollment, so we’re accepting applications for the spring and the summer right now at this time, but if we have a lot of spring, we’re near the deadline, we will review those first. We try to get applications and best practices at least before the deadline. For instance with the spring, with the deadline being December 6th, that next week the university will close for fall break. We would like to have those applications in ahead of time, so we can be to render those decisions to the students.

Dr. Stewart, can you tell us a little bit more about the LIM certificate?

Dr. Christopher S.:           The LIM certificate is designed to … Let’s go back to the curriculum here. The LIM certificate is designed for professionals working in the library field or related information work that will provide them with the essential management training that they might not have gotten in their professional path or in their earlier graduate work. It’s designed for working professionals who are already credentialed as librarians working in a whole range of environments. It’s a series of courses with a business focus. For example, in our certificate program, you will take a GSBA 502, for example, management communications for leaders and that’s taught by Marshall Faculty.

You wouldn’t, as for certificate student take the fundamentals course because you are already a credentialed librarian, you’ve already had that course. The focus is on the business and the management side of the curriculum. Again, everything is contextualized for libraries, but we’re looking to … As the need for managers and leaders continues to grow in our field, as our field continues to expand and evolve … Just look at the kind of work that academic and public libraries are doing in their communities and for their constituents that would have seemed very far stretched 20 years ago and the high pace of technology and technological change in the field really, really requires all of us to have these core leadership and management skills.

We’re looking at professionals who want to come back and learn through a dynamic classic of business school curriculum with a library focus or the other way of looking at it of course is, a library management certificate, of course it is, with a management focus. Either way, it’s a management training certificate and one that we think provide a really good … I like the way Anita is sing the term bridge, bridging the skills that you need now in this rapidly changing profession. The skills you need for where you need to be and where your organization needs to be. Those are the management and leadership skills that are increasingly called for by team librarians from all levels of the organization.

Patronis W.:                       All right. Thank you for that. Dr. Stewart, how does the online program provide support and resources to our online students?

Dr. Christopher S.:           Okay. Well, I can let you and Maria answer part of that question too. We have a very dynamic student support team that is with you every step of the way, checking in with you making sure that you receive the support you need. We will provide you with support to enhance your academic skills if you haven’t been in school for a while. For example, we provide a whole range of supports through the University of Southern California student services.

To get more specifically to that question, you are going to have … There are student support specialists that are assigned to you throughout your career at FC. They’re available to you to address a whole range of challenges that you may encounter and to encourage you and to keep you on task and on schedule.

As far as the … I think I spoke a little bit about the technological resources that are available to you and offered in a very robust platform, rich technological environment via USC in our course management systems. There are other things that are provided for you as well, which I think you could talk more about, maybe Torres can speak to on the enrollment side. For example, all of your instructional materials, your books are provided for you as part of the program. All of our instructional materials are in electronic format. Kindle editions of books, for example, use Whisper Cast through Amazon. It’s a cohort based program. It’s comprehensive and because of the online environment, highly all inclusive.

You’re going to be supported not just by a student support team that is in regular communication with you on an individual basis, us, myself and our program administrator in regular communication with you, your instructors in regular communication with you, but equally important, your network of student peers that you’re working with on teams are part of your support network as well. I don’t think that we … We can’t discount, that shouldn’t be discounted. That’s part of it too. Your peers or part of your support group as well. We’re very, very proud of the attention that we provide students on an individual basis in this program.

Patronis W.:                       Awesome. Thank you for sharing this. Just to piggy back exactly on what you were talking about. With the support level, from the time you contact us, we remain with you, enrollment advisors, me and Maria, at least through the first month of classes. Answering any questions that you would like to go over, getting you acclimated with the learning management platform that we use, which is called Moodle, going through the curriculum, just letting you know what you’re going to look out for the upcoming semesters. Students support services, they will be with you throughout the entire program. They will take over where we leave office, they will follow with you at least by week to see what’s going on, offer some academic advising.

Then you also have a program administrator and Alexis at this office now on a call at this moment, but she’s very supportive, you can reach out to her for resources. She is the individual who will make sure that your books get sent out to you, she will make sure that you get all your headsets and everything else, she will make sure that you have all of the needs and support for the program. Like Dr. Stewart mentioned with the mentor, the mentor is something that’s going to help you out, not just academically, but it’s also going to help you out career wise professionally, because you’re going to be partnered either with a faculty member or alumni of the program. This can help you out getting you some of the skills that you need to move forward in both areas.

Also, as Dr. Stewart mentioned, some students haven’t been in school for a while, so we do have writing support to where you can get your writings tutored. You go to writing tutoring online through our Moodle application, so you can send your papers in and make sure you’re getting the right format. This way you can get acclimated to getting in the swing of getting everything back in order with schooling. We also have four dedicated librarians throughout the program that are able to assist you with some of your research in our program and two of those libraries are also instructors on the program.

Then there’s 24, seven technical support in librarian support. In the hours that we don’t have a librarian available for you, there’s also ask a librarian where we will have someone that will be able to answer those particular questions that you do have. I’m sure Anita can attest to this, your cohort, your peers, we’re a very tight knit cohort of at least 15 to 30 students in each cohort. We want to make sure that you get the individual attention that you need. Anita, is there anything that you can add to this as far as just with the peer support?

Anita Torres:                      I’ve been holding back pressing my unmute button just wanting to say something. Yes. From a student perspective, the support is something that I was astounded by. This isn’t just, like you mentioned, tech support. I had an incredibly busy schedule and oftentimes, not just me, but other people or I’m in LA, someone else in my cohort might be East coast. We’re doing our work at any day and the tech support is there. Beyond that, the student support, like you mentioned Alexis, both of you who I’m … This is the first time that I’m having the pleasure to work with you, but I can already tell it’s the same thing. They call you and I’m a pretty independent, self-sufficient person and I’m like, “Okay, I’m busy.”

They will make sure you’re okay even if … If they don’t hear from you, if you don’t reach out on your own, they will call you. They will email you to check in. Again, because the cohorts are so small, we get to know each other so well. Alexis, when she came down for a commencement in May, she was there at the back of the room tearing up because we’re moving along and we got so close for people that you may meet in person, may once or twice ever. That’s how close you genuinely work with these people so much, you lean on each other. One of the things I realized in my … You do a self-assessment and I’m not somebody who just reaches out for help that often. Like it or not, like you said, they’re going to make sure you’re okay.

Then I also want to mention that I still get some emails that come through that I noticed as a student because that is still active. Alexis just recently created this study group for people who are having a hard time and she’s doing this on her own time and she just recognized that enough people reached out and that’s something else about this program. They asked for evaluation at the end of every midterm, at the end of every semester and at the end of the program, use those because I did and then I would see the results happen. If there was something that wasn’t quite working, I would put that in as a commentary and next thing you know, you would see that they were working on it because they don’t know unless you say it. They want it to be good. They want us to be successful.

One more thing I want to mention is about the internships and even jobs. They’ll send emails I mean, weekly, at least it seems, Hey, I heard of this job opportunity and because this is a nationwide program, you might see a job opportunity come up somewhere else in the country or somewhere else in the next city, but they’re constantly putting out those opportunities. If it’s somebody that’s a USC alumni, or if it’s at USC itself, they’ll say, “Hey, if you’re interested, reach out to us directly. We’ll see what we can do.” It’s a very tight knit supportive group. They want us to be successful.

Maria:                                   All right. Thank you so much Anita and Dr. Stewart for your time today. We really appreciate you explaining the program, your experience, and answering our questions today. That is pretty much all the time we have left. If everyone has any additional questions, feel free to reach out to Patronis or myself, or the admissions advisor that you’re working with. Thank you everyone for taking the time to join us today and we’re excited to work with you.

Dr. Christopher S.:           Thank you.