Sole Library Grad Program in Connecticut Could End

Oct 8, 2013

A rendering of completed renovations to Buley Library at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.
Credit Southern Connecticut State University

The national organization responsible for accrediting graduate library programs has voted to withdraw its accreditation of Southern Connecticut State University. The chair of the university's library program is asking them to reconsider.

It all began in 2010 when the American Library Association found Southern's Master of Library Science program wasn't meeting the standards necessary for accreditation. Southern was put on probation and given time to fix the problems.

Dr. Gregory Paveza is the interim dean of graduate studies at SCSU. He said, "The commission on accreditation itself raised the issues related to curriculum updates and the fact that their opinion that the curriculum had not been updated recently as well as faculty productivity."

The issue of productivity is nothing new for college professors who are expected to do research and to get their work published. Paveza said the 11 full-time faculty created a plan to correct the problems. And there's a new department chair after the former chair stepped down. The changes weren't good enough, because in June, the ALA committee voted to withdraw accreditation.

The ALA can't comment while the school appeals. Paveza said the school has already begun to see the negative impact on its program. "Certainly since we were put on probation, and this is no surprise--there is a dropoff in the number of applicants in the program. Unless it doesn't matter to the person's employer as to whether they graduate from an accredited program or not."

The ALA will decide on the appeal by mid- November. Meanwhile, 175 students are enrolled in the MLS program at Southern. If accreditation is not restored, current students already enrolled in the program won't lose out. Instead, they will have two years to graduate and still receive an accredited degree. Southern has the only library science program in the state.