Practicum: Frequently Asked Questions

What is required of the student in LIS 672? One hundred forty (140) hours of work at a library or other information-related organization under the supervision of an information professional (i.e. "placement supervisor"), and a multimedia course deliverable accompanied by a reflective paper of 2-3 pages in which they describe their internship experience, the topic and format to be agreed to by the student and their faculty adviser who serves as the course instructor. These requirements must be fulfilled during the semester or term in which the student is enrolled.

What is asked of the placement supervisor? Essentially, four things: (1) Work with the student to complete parts I-III of the learning contract; (2) Supervise and coach the student throughout the placement; (3) Complete the evaluation form and 4) discuss it with the student at the end of the semester.

Who completes the learning contract? Parts I-III should be completed jointly by the student and the placement supervisor. It is important that the student define carefully his or her learning objectives (part II). The student and their faculty adviser complete part IV, having to do with the course deliverable, which must be approved by the faculty adviser.

Is LIS 672 taken pass/fail? No, the student receives a letter grade.

How is the final grade arrived at? The faculty adviser who serves as the course instructor assigns the grade based on the placement supervisor's evaluation of the student's performance (70% of course grade), and evaluation of the course deliverable (30% of course grade).

What kind of work is appropriate for the placement? Bear in mind that the objective of LIS 672 is educational--to enable the student to enhance his or her educational experience while enrolled in the School's Master's degree program. Thus the work should represent that expected of an entry-level professional and should be performed under the close supervision of a qualified information professional. Students may NOT use their current job position as practicum experience--the practicum course is intended to engage students in new field experiences to broaden their scope of knowledge of the profession. Therefore, students who complete the practicum at their current place of employment must work under a different supervisor and department/division (i.e., if you work in reference, you could intern in cataloging), and the internship hours must be outside their regularly scheduled hours. Contact Student Affairs if you have specific questions about your potential placement site.

May the student be paid by the library or agency for the work done during the placement? Yes, although the School does not require that the student be paid for work done in LIS 672.

When may course LIS 672 be taken? LIS 672 is offered during the fall, spring, and summer 8-week terms. However, a student is not permitted to take LIS 672 prior to the semester or term at the end of which he or she will have completed 18 hours in our program. Moreover, prior to the placement, the student must complete any course(s) relevant to the placement  (e.g., LIS 601 for a reference placement or for a public-services placement that will involve some reference work).

May a student who registers for the course during the summer 8-week term begin the work during the 4-week intersession? Yes, this is common. It allows the student to have 12 weeks, rather than 8, to complete the required 140 hours of work in the placement. We do not typically have Summer 672 students due to adviser availability in Summer semester, so students seeking an internship for summer credit should notify their adviser and student affairs well in advance.

How should a student who is interested in LIS 672 proceed? The student should decide on the kind of experience he or she would like (e.g., reference work in a public library). If the student has someone in mind to serve as placement supervisor, he or she should discuss LIS 672 with that person and ask him or her to review the LIS 672 materials. At some point the student will want to discuss this with her or his faculty advisor and should get in touch via e-mail (contact Student Affairs at uklis.student.affairs@gmail.com). If the student does not have someone in mind to serve as placement supervisor, he may be able to make suggestions and help to arrange the professional field experience placement.