A Day in the Life of an LIS Educator

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I read with interest this article at U.S. News &World Report:

Professor, Day in the Life

After that, you check out an online discussion that’s part of an Internet class you’re teaching. You post a couple of comments and answer a dozen student E-mails. Next, it’s off to a faculty meeting. Your department is debating whether to add another master’s degree to its offerings, and the discussion is dominated by a powerful faculty member who argues that an esoteric course—which happens to be in his area of expertise—is essential. Finally, you get to work on a textbook chapter you’ve been asked to write.

Parts of it rang true. Others were obviously part of the under-grad experience. It got me to thinking I ought share a brief “Day in the Life” for my work at Dominican GSLIS. I’d be interested to hear what other LIS professors do as well. I chose Wednesday because it’s my busiest “school” day. I also have 2 weekend classes this semester – three meetings each throughout our 15 weeks. Other days of the week are spent working on writing, class prep and speaking here and there. Many days I’m home in Indiana as well.

A Day in the Life of an LIS Educator

I’ll be describing a typical Wednesday. After a couple early morning hours drinking my tea, posting some stuff to TTW, catching up on email and feeds and looking over the To Do list (which I need to call “Next Actions” in good GTD fashion but it never seems to be that focused), I head to campus. I have late morning office hours to be available to the daytime or full time students, but usually I don’t see anyone in person. Emails from students or a Facebook question might come in. I might be checking the citations formatting for an article I’m finishing: highlighting the citation in the text and checking it in the references list just like I did in school. Or I might be finishing up a longer blog post.

Lunch hour might be spent with colleagues – typically off campus for a chat session, or “exchange of ideas” – read “here’s what happened in my classes this week” — or solo looking over the material for the evening class. It’s good to give the readings a once-over for questions and discussion in class. A board member of the student association might stop by and check in. I’m the adviser for our group this semester. I might also be grading short reaction papers to various articles. I look for critical thinking, flow of argument and error free writing. This always conflicts with my ideas about “the Culture of Perfect,” but we have to be able to communicate effectively in writing in our profession. Grading, in general, puts me through the paces because I so want students to do well. I’ve really grown in that aspect these past few semesters. It’s hard to grade down but I hope it ultimately helps the student grow.

Every Wednesday afternoon, at 1:30, Faculty Council convenes. We discuss an agenda of various items and report out from various sub-committees. As chair of the GSLIS IT Committee, I share our meeting minutes with the whole faculty. The funny thing is, I was very quiet in early meetings my first year teaching. I felt it was better to get the lay of the land before talking too much. Recently, I reported on our ongoing work with new technologies for teaching such as AdobeConnect. Other reports are shared and there’s general discussion – and some laugh out loud moments too! We’re prepping for our COA visit these days so that’s on everyone’s mind.

After Faculty Council, I gather my things and head into downtown Chicago. Dominican offers courses in various off-site locations and faculty take turns teaching there. This semester I’m teaching LIS701 Introduction to Library and Information Science in the Staff Development Office Training Room at Chicago Public Library. I have office hours for the downtown students from 4-5pm at Panera Bread and then head into CPL for class. We discuss the week’s articles, I lecture from the readings a bit and the students breakout into discussion groups. Last night, for example we spent 2 hours on collection development. I absolutely love this module and enjoy sharing some SJCPL stories.

After class, I’m done for the day and I head back to Oak Park. The late evening before bed is usually spent watching an iTunes TV show, Netflix movie or reading a bit of whatever is in the stack by my bed. I may check in with the TTW Contributors and answer a few more emails, send some texts, etc. I go to bed early these days because there’s tea waiting in the morning and I really enjoy watching the sun come up.

I’m interested in other “Day in the Life” posts – please share yours. And maybe Kyle or Lee will share a day as a student.