Library Juice 8:10


This issue consists of a Discussion on JESSE, the library educator's
list, about online PhD's and about the LIS PhD in general.

Several postings from the original discussion were removed from the
thread at the authors' requests.

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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 13:46:07 -0400
From: Tiffani Conner <Tiffani.Conner[at]UCONN.EDU>
Subject: Online PhD programs

All,

There's recently been a lively discussion (NMRT-L) on the
topic of an online PhD. While many LIS programs offer an
online MLIS, none, as far as we have found, offer an online
PhD (perhaps the exception is Nova in FL). Our efforts of
being helpful to one another have evolved into a discussion
of the why's or why not's of an online PhD program in LIS.

Would any faculty out there mind offering some reasons for
this or if this is a future consideration for LIS
educational programs? We've speculated on the
technological/cost issues, the benefits/drawbacks of
residency, the fact that research can be conducted anywhere,
the enculturation aspect, the frequent seminars, and so
forth.

Cheers,
Tiffani
Tiffani R. Conner, MS, MSIS
Library Liaison to Sociology, Criminology, Human Rights,
Rainbow Center, & Roper Center for Public Opinion
University of Connecticut
tiffani.conner[at]uconn.edu

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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 13:22:01 -0700
From: Lydia Harris <lharris1[at]U.WASHINGTON.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

Hi Tiffani,

My understanding is that Emporia State has already instituted an online
doctorate program. I do not know how it is structured, etc.

A major point on why online doctorates are not offered has to do with
the idea that at the doctorate level, enculturation into the academy is
a key element and this cannot be adequately accomplished in the virtual
environment. As a current doctoral student (as well as one who pursued a
doctorate in psychology previously), I must agree. The course work does
not revolve around information, but around critical thinking,
discussion, sharing, etc. The major work in my courses did not take
place in the classroom , but in the doctoral student office where we
debated ideas, talked about a subject from our different perspectives,
and were able to incoporate additional information as we developed it. A
student located in a community which did not have an academic department
in the specific subject area would also be at a serious disadvantage in
terms of locating the resources necessary to complete the work. For
example, one of my areas involves the historical development of
reference librarianship. Several of my sources were located in storage
here at the university; there was no other way to find and use these
sources.

My work with the faculty, my committee members, and my doctoral
colleagues would be hindered by my being in a separate space. As I
become part of the university culture, I am required to teach and have
my teaching evaluated; develop research projects; serve on committees;
interact with faculty from other departments; participate in the
politics of the larger institution as well as the department. This
involves almost daily changes, which I would not enjoy in an online
environment.

I did receive my MLIS through a distance option and I also have an MS
from another program. However, I feel an online doctoral program would
put me at a disadvantage in competing with someone in a residency
program.

This is just my two cents (I'm in the middle of my general exam but felt
I just had to say something) and may not be as coherent if I had more
time to think. It is a topic worthy of discussion.

Lydia Eato Harris
PhD Student / Athena Fellow
University of Washington
The Information School
4311-11th Avenue NE, Suite 400
Box 354985
Seattle, Washington 98105-4985

Tel: 206.616.1883 / Fax: 206.616.5149

lharris1[at]u.washington.edu
www.ischool.washington.edu

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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 21:14:02 -0400
From: PATRICE A CLEMSON <pac20[at]PSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

I cannot imagine a more lonely prospect than taking a Ph.D. online.

Pat Clemson

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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 21:26:51 -0700
Reply-To: smstauffer[at]earthlink.net
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

I just want to echo what you both have said. A doctorate is not merely a
master's degree with more reading and longer papers, and the social support
of fellow students is critical.

Suzanne Stauffer

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Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 20:38:01 -0500
From: LOUISE S ROBBINS <lsrobbin[at]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

Another reason, among the good ones offered, is that in major
universities, the doctoral student may--and in some instances must--
take courses around the campus from experts on, for example,
ethnographic methods, and take a minor emphasis. It would be
impossible to demand that faculty from all across a campus put their
courses online so that a few doctoral students from a particular
campus can take those courses at a distance.

Louise S. Robbins
Professor and Director
School of Library and Information Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison Wi 53706
Phone: 608-263-2908
Fax: 608-263-4849

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 08:48:16 -0500
From: Ann ONeill <Oneillan[at]EMPORIA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

I want to clarify, Emporia State's doctoral program is not offered
online. We do have some students in other states, but they come to
Emporia for classes.

Ann L. O'Neill
Dean and Richel Distinguished Professor
School of Library and Information Management
Emporia State University
White Library, Room 312, Box 4025
1200 Commercial St.
Emporia, KS 66801-5087
Phone: 620-341-5203
Fax: 620-341-5233
Email: Ann.ONeill[at]emporia.edu

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 10:33:44 -0400
From: Katherine Brent <kebrent[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

Yet one more reason, I would imagine, is that every Ph.D. program I've
looked at has had a teaching element to it - the doctoral students are
expected to do some instruction sometime in the course of the degree, be it
teaching introductory courses or acting as teaching assistants.

Katherine Brent
--------------------------------------
"All children, except one, grow up."
-- J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 09:53:30 -0500
From: "Wilkerson, Jay" <wilkersj[at]INDIANA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

HI!

I've been providing reference services to doctoral students at a virtual
university for the last eight years and I have found that students
graduating from this university are every bit as "enculturated" into the
academy as any traditional doctoral graduate I've met. In fact, the
virtual university is more exacting and stringent than what I've seen in
traditional programs.

The university is BIG on developing critical thinking. Students engage
in heated debate on issues pertinent to the research in their field of
study.

The library provides guidance, instruction, and support to assist the
students in their immersion in the scholarly literature of their
discipline. Our students use physical resources located in physical
libraries, they go wherever they must to obtain the same resources used
by traditional doctoral students in their dissertation. The first thing
we do with our new doctoral students is disabuse them of the notion that
everything they need for successful completion of their program is NOT
available online, but exists only in print format or through expensive
subscriptions online. Once they realize this fact they either quit the
program or they work with us to develop a Total Information Network to
obtain the resources they will need to do quality scholarly work.

Further, the university insists that their dissertation be linked to
positive social change within their professions. The university produces
doctoral grads who more often then not return to their professions as
scholar/practitioners. Many also teach at universities, colleges, and
community colleges in addition to their professional work. Several
become full-time faculty at the virtual university.

The above should not be read and interpreted as a knock on traditional
doctoral education. It merely suggests that for some students who are
active in their professions and can not relocate and drop-out of their
professional careers, there is another option available beyond
traditional programs that they can use to further their desire for
academic enrichment. The virtual university allows some very capable
people to become members of the academy that wouldn't have been able to
in the past, opening doors to those who have been denied the
opportunity. I would think the traditional programs would welcome these
people into their academy.

Jay Wilkerson
Assistant Librarian
Walden University
812-855-6058

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 08:08:35 -0700
Comments: DomainKeys? See http://antispam.yahoo.com/domainkeys
From: Dina Sherman <dinasherman[at]YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

Actually, I believe the University of North Texas has
been experimenting with an online PhD program. My
understanding is that there were some "face to face"
meetings scheduled during the year, but the bulk of
the work was done online.

I think it's an area worth exploring, since there
aren't that many doctoral programs out there (compared
to other disciplines).

I'd love to hear from someone who went (or is going
through) the North Texas program and see how the
experience has been for them.

-dina

Dina Sherman, MLS

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 10:49:05 -0500
From: LOUISE S ROBBINS <lsrobbin[at]FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

Enculturated into what? I guess the question in part is as follows: What
do people with a PhD degree intend to do with it? If you are interested
in library management, then it is probably quite okay, and your
enculturation is to the profession. You are not going to be teaching at
the university level and you will probably not live or die
professionally by your research and teaching.

If, on the other hand, you intend to teach at the university level, I
would think being resident for at least a year would be crucial, and
more would be desirable. Then the enculturation is to the academy. You
come to understand the pluses and minuses of the academic life, and
whether, in fact, you are prepared to immerse yourself in research and
teaching and, to a somewhat lesser extent outreach or service, for the
rest of your life. The worlds are quite different, and one of the
purposes of being on campus and face-to-face with faculty and students
is to find out if this is a life you want.

Louise S. Robbins
Professor and Director
School of Library and Information Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
600 North Park Street
Madison Wi 53706
Phone: 608-263-2908
Fax: 608-263-4849

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 11:14:17 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

I suppose if the person wanted to teach largely distance courses it would
also make sense.

This discussion also makes me wonder if it isn't time to start thinking
about reviving the D.L.I.S. for those who want an applied doctorate rather
than a research degree.

Suzanne Stauffer

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 13:30:49 -0500
From: Diane Bailiff <Bailiffd[at]EMPORIA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

Emporia State University does not have an on-line PhD program. Our
doctoral course of study is offered as a week-end intensive experience.
There are students in the program from all over the country. They come
to Emporia for class face-to-face with faculty. Each student has a
faculty mentor from the moment of acceptance into the program to assure
that there is an immediate connection with the program. A sense of
community is established with the first course, LI900 that provides an
orientation to discourse, between classes at a distance, SLIM's
Community of Scholars, faculty mentorship, research and shared learning.

At this time, we continue to believe that doctoral study is most
effective as a shared experience.

Diane M. Bailiff, Ph. D.
Doctoral Program Administrator
School of Library Information Management
Emporia State University
1200 Commercial St. Box 4025, WAWL
Emporia, Kansas 66801-5087
(620) 341-5203 fax: (620) 341-5233
bailiffd[at]emporia.edu

or
P.O. Box 1524 Florence, OR 97439

PhD Program inquiries: 1-800-618-8295

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 15:45:28 -0500
From: Brian O'Connor <boconnor[at]LIS.ADMIN.UNT.EDU>
Subject: Online PhD programs - UNT

As the lead proposal writer and PI on the IMLS funded
"distance-independent" Ph.D. program at the University of North Texas, I
have followed this discussion with interest. We have no doubt that the
students in this program will generate intriguing dissertations and make
significant contributions to the LIS community. We do not yet have the
data to speak to the real costs and sustainable effectiveness of our
approach. BTW, I should note that these are my personal thoughts and
comments.

There are several points that I must make about our program; then I
would like to make some comments and ask some questions. The term
"distance-independent" is awkward at best, as are so many terms that
attempt to describe a state of being not like something else (as a
documentary film producer, I was shocked by "non-print media" * why
weren't books "non-film media"). The term (which I believe Howard
Besser used for the JASIS edition on "distance education" of some years
ago) is used in our context to mean we intend to provide doctoral
education opportunities to people who might not otherwise be able to
participate in the life of the academy by reason of their being
physically, culturally, or financially unable to physically move to one
of the relatively few locations in the country that offers LIS doctoral
education. While there is considerable merit to the argument that if one
is sufficiently passionate to pursue the Ph.D., then such a move is not
too much to ask (certainly many of us did that at great costs of many
sorts), it just may be the case that another paradigm(s) might also
work.

I must say that our program is NOT web-based, though it has a strong web
component. Our IMLS cohort members are considered members of the same
doctoral program and subject to the same requirements as our
"residential" students. The term "residential" is squishy, since a
residential student need not live in the vicinity of the school and may
take some on-line courses. The IMLS program is design so that more than
51% of course time is conducted with the same level of face-to-face
engagement between students and faculty as would be the case for
residential students. If this had not been the case, we would have had
to petition to offer a different degree.

In the poster that I prepared for the most recent ALISE conference, I
listed as one of the research questions: Will the program kill the
students, faculty, or both? This was only somewhat tongue in cheek. The
grant funding has us on a timeline that is rather less given to
contemplation than I would prefer & students are not required to quit
their jobs or leave their families. As is often the case with the first
round or two of web-adjusted instruction, there is a lot of faculty
development and maintenance. Also, faculty are (anecdotally) putting in
a great deal of telephone & e-mail time to ensure that the course work
is, in fact, at what they perceive as doctoral level.

So far, with a few logistical adjustments along the way, student
performance is all that we would expect of any doctoral student. Would
we be able to sustain such a program without IMLS funding? * at this
point, I think not, though there are many things we are learning that
would enable more blended approaches.
Tiffini Conner asked: "Would any faculty out there mind offering some
reasons for this or if this is a future consideration for LIS
educational programs? We've speculated on the technological/cost issues,
the benefits/drawbacks of residency, the fact that research can be
conducted anywhere, the enculturation aspect, the frequent seminars, and
so forth.

My personal response would be to point out that we are really only at
the beginning of the digital era, so technology and costs are
essentially unknowns * though we are leaning more with each little
foray. I would suggest that we not necessarily hold the face-to-face
course as a gold standard; rather, that we consider deeply just what are
the characteristics of engagement with faculty and other students that
make for a significant doctoral experience. It is likely that there will
be different sets of emphases from this contemplation and that
possibilities for technological enhancements to doctoral education will
vary, as do doctoral programs now. If there were no such differences,
translation to a tech-enhanced approach would be much simpler! Even
after a few decades in academia I am routinely astonished at the
significant differences that exist on everything from the nature of the
dissertation (5 chapters? No chapters?) to the nature and method of
acculturation into the academy.

The Ph.D. is fundamentally a research degree. As there are different
sorts of questions with which members of the academy wrestle and
different approaches to that wrestling even within disciplines, it seems
unlikely that a single or even small number of assumptions will work.
Even within existing programs, students seek out different people as
dissertation chairs precisely because of the different paradigmatic
assumptions about what questions have significance and how one ought to
proceed with dissertation level research.

Lydia Eato Harris notes: "enculturation into the academy is a key
element and this cannot be adequately accomplished in the virtual
environment." I would comment that enculturation is terribly important,
though one might be able to imagine someone making major contributions
while not being "enculturated." One might also ask: "Enculturated by
whose standards? By what measure?" Perhaps more intriguing is the
assertion that enculturation cannot be adequately accomplished within a
virtual environment. Is this a necessary case? Is it not at all true
now, but possible with different technology? Is coursework important at
all? Is there not some virtual way to accomplish critical thinking,
sharing, debating, using different perspectives? So far, our experience
shows that such give and take is quite possible, especially if the
students have had an opportunity to meet each other face-to-face at some
point early on.

Please do not take the above to mean that I prefer the possibility of a
virtual academy * I do not. I am simply suggesting that we not toss out
the possibilities, at least, not yet. I cherish my nearly hermitic
existence as a Ph.D. student, closely connected with a few student
colleagues, going for beer and coffee with them and faculty members,
teasing concepts apart and challenging everything. However, I am not yet
prepared to say that there are no possibilities for digital analogs to
the coffee shop or pizza and beer joints. It is just difficult to speak
to administrators of wanting to have release time to construct possible
online beer joints.

Pat Clemson makes the interesting observation: "I cannot imagine a more
lonely prospect that taking a Ph.D. online." What is most interesting
about this (from the perspective of several years of coordinating
doctoral programs) is that doctoral students start out as members of a
cohort and are close; yet, as they complete coursework and approach the
dissertation phase, they become more solitary. That is not to say that
they do not ever have contact with other students for solace,
relaxation, etc. However, the intense nature of finding a unique topic
and throwing oneself into it to the degree necessary to accomplish a
defensible dissertation put one onto a lonely path. The doctoral process
is, perhaps, ultimately lonely in some senses. By this stage, the
student is likely to have greater expertise & knowledge of an area of
investigation even than the committee chair.

So, fearing that I have been rather long-winded on this, I'll stop for
now. I welcome more comments and thoughts on this venture and am glad to
see the discussion taking place. Whether face-to-face, on-line, or
blended doctoral education requires passion, time, and extraordinary
commitment from students and faculty.

brian

Brian C. O'Connor, Ph.D.
Coordinator
Information Science Doctoral Program
University of North Texas
Denton, Texas 76203

940.565.2347

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 16:12:48 -0500
From: "Crowley, Bill" <crowbill[at]DOM.EDU>
Subject: Online Ph.D. Programs

Greetings All,

So far I have seen several themes arising in the discussion of the
"delivery" of Ph.D. programs. The first is a recognition that, unlike
some other fields, disciplines, and professions, we do have a shortage
of doctorate-qualified faculty. On the other hand, in the environs of
Chicago, the idea that someone with an online Ph.D. could compete for
positions in areas with an "excess" of faculty whose knowledge and
expertise (including electronic) was developed "on campus" comes
something close to being laughable.

Next in the exchange, I saw a claim for the value of online Ph.D.
education by a librarian employed by an institution that specializes in
such education, and the offer to describe a substantially online Ph.D.
program offered by a well-established brick and mortar university from a
first-rate librarian who guest-presented in several of my classes! I
also saw assertions of the value of weekend intensive cohort programs.
Finally, I read defenses of traditional on-campus programs by those who
saw real value in immersing oneself in an academic environment which was
more likely to facilitate true interpersonal communication, including
the communication of professional values. The reminder that on-campus
programs allow courses from other cognate areas should not be
undervalued in a field that claims to interact effectively with the
entire academic curriculum.

I would like to add to the thread with a short recounting of my own
Ph.D. program because I believe that it reflects the background and
experience of quite a number of practitioners who are contemplating
joining our professorial ranks.

In the early 1990s I was Ohio's Deputy State Librarian for Library
Services, a well-paid division head/bureaucrat working in Columbus,
Ohio, who was convinced by a professional colleague that I ought to stop
complaining about the state of LIS/IS education and actually do
something about it. I found in short order that two master's degrees and
twenty-three years of experience would not be enough for a faculty
position. I reluctantly concluded that I had to earn the Ph.D. I was
also advised that it I wanted to continue my existing health insurance
coverage (at my expense) I had to remain in Ohio.

Since Kent State University did not have a Ph.D. in LIS/IS, I applied
for and was admitted to both Ohio State University and Ohio University's
higher education programs where I was advised that I could do a Ph.D.
that would include researching a dissertation on the academic library. I
ultimately selected Ohio University where I had two choices-an on-campus
program and a cohort program that would allow me to keep that well-paid
state job. The cohort program tended to attract individuals (including
the head of the state association of independent colleges and
universities) who needed a Ph.D. to advance within academic (often
community college) administrative careers. The on-campus program tended
to attract those who saw themselves as future professors. The boundaries
were quite permeable and I believe that I could have benefited from
either approach. Both the on-campus and cohort programs involved
intensive, in-person interaction, with substantial electronic components
in a support mode. Ultimately, I decided to quit my job and study full
time. While bemoaning the "opportunity costs" (talk to an economist)
caused by giving up my Columbus position for the Athens, on-campus Ph.D.
program, I was able to earn the degree in two years (and thus avoid
being ABD) and serve as both a graduate assistant and researcher for the
university president, later president-emeritus. I had some great
conversations with an extraordinarily wide variety of academics
(including outstanding librarians) and students, did an independent
study analyzing various aspects of the university's library under the
associate library dean, had a smorgasbord of relevant courses (subject
to the approval of my program committee), and (sadly) depleted my bank
account.

Before we go the route of encouraging online Ph.D.s, it might be
worthwhile to look around our campuses to determine if such Ph.D.s are
being hired in the university's other colleges or schools. Bluntly put,
LIS/IS usually doesn't have the highest status in academic environments
and it is not going to do our programs much good to be seen as being
taught by faculty with "Ph.D.-lites." This is particularly so if such
degrees are offered by institutions without on-campus doctoral
traditions.

Rather than encourage Ph.D.s from virtual universities, I would much
rather we direct geographically-limited potential students to either
enroll either in intensive cohort programs or to earn an
interdisciplinary Ph.D. at a local university that offers such a
possibility. In the latter case, with academic librarians on one's
program and dissertation committees, independent studies, and other
sources of library/information/knowledge expertise available, we might
even end up with future faculty whose wisdom combines
library/information/knowledge understandings with valuable insights from
other fields and disciplines. I explore this approach as one option for
experienced librarians as part of my article "Just Another Field?"
published in the November 1, 2004 issue of Library Journal.

http://www.libraryjournal.com/index.asp?layout=articleArchive&articleid=
CA474993

Regards,

Bill

Bill Crowley, Professor
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Dominican University
7900 West Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305
708.524.6513
crowbill[at]dom.edu

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Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 22:36:46 EDT
From: bsummers[at]MAILER.FSU.EDU
Subject: Re: Online PhD programs

Dear Folks:

Back in the olden days there was a two legged national governance
structure for accrediting bodies. One leg was the U.S. Office of
Education which maintained a list of approved accrediting bodies and
published standards for being included on the list. The other, was a
national group composed of accrediting agencies which was called
something like the National Comission On Accreditation, ( it has been
variously called since) which also set standards and invited into its
membership those accrediting bodies it deemed responsible. In part,
the latter group served to let the institutions know which groups they
should permit on campus. USOE no longer recognizes specialized
accreditation groups like ALA. The point is that neither of these bodies
recognized external PhD degree programs.

Relatedly, Universities which take themselves seriously do not
permit external PHD programs. At any of the three institutions with
which I have been privileged to be associated, Rutgers, South Carolina
and Florida State, the Dean presenting such a proposal to the Faculty
Senate would be hooted off campus and the program forever thereafter
labeled as Mickey Mouse.

Bill Summers,
Professor and Dean Emeritus
505 Live Oak Plantation Rd.
Tallahassee, FL 32312
PH: 850-385-5038

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Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 06:31:28 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs

In addition to everything else that has been mentioned, how would the
student find that necessary outside member for the dissertation committee?
This is related to the need to take courses outside of the department for
whatever reason. Students aren't socialized just to the department, but to
all of academia, which means interacting with those in other departments.

As for the dissertation process itself as a solitary endeavor, UCLA hosts a
number of "dissertation support groups" in which students from all
departments can meet on a regular basis to encourage and support each other
during the writing phase. They don't discuss the topic of the dissertations
but the amount of progress being made, writer's block, emotional issues,
time management, etc. Although this might be replicated to some extent in
an online environment, one of the strengths of the groups is that they
include students from other disciplines, which not only increases the
students' interdepartmental connections, but prevents the sessions from
degenerating into "gripe fests" about the department.

Suzanne Stauffer

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Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 10:37:36 -0700
From: "John D. Berry" <jberry[at]LIBRARY.BERKELEY.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online PhDs

Hmmm, Guess I am about to make everyone angry - but hope not -
regardless, here is a small rock in this pond...
PhD's are so uneven as it is in my experience, I don't know that On-Line
PhD's would be particularly bad or good,
other than snobbery in hiring which is resident anyway regarding
degrees. For that matter, why should your transcripts
or diploma denote that it was a remote degree of any kind?
It has always been puzzling to me how many student's think you HAVE TO get
a Master's first. NOT.
Amazingly, I actually had LS faculty who had never actually worked in a
library
(consulted, advised, researched, but not worked), ah, but they had a PhD.
Anyway, I'll itemize.
Distance PRO:
1. If you are not already socialized to the Academy by the time you start
looking

for a PhD, you are already toast.
2. There are ways to go around #1 above w/ Residency requirements
(1 month a summer, 3 weeks per academic year, etc.)
3. Library support - not an issue - ILL works, online catalogs/databases work.
4. Teaching - Practicum's can be arranged in any local institution.
(As an aside, the majority of PhD's in my experience, don't teach very well
and rely on their
grad students for that, primarily because they are more focused on research
so they can get promotion and tenure).
5. Outside classes - if you have any that apply you will transfer in the
max you have anyway. There are always summer
sessions somewhere too.
6. Cohort support - Listservs, e-mail, phone, fax all work + your
residency period gives you face time w/ cohort and faculty.
7. Remote would not be the total disruption that moving to campus
generally incurs. Some very bright people actually
have lives external to campus.
8. Distance education technology and techniques continue, yes even now, to
improve.
9. You would not get so enslaved to some PhD's
personal/philosophical/political agenda
(which you may not agree with) in combination with them holding you in
serfdom as a TA/GA, or as a committee member
(sometimes you don't have many choices among who's available in context of
what you are working on yourself).
10. It might even allow you to still have a decent job, maintain your
standard of living and totally focus you on your studies
during the time you allocate for them.
11. It might even allow you to avoid listening to droning lectures which
have not been updated for the last X number of years.
12. You can work in your own space - and not be crammed into substandard
office space w/ X number of other TA's, GA's,
that you might not like.
13. Your ethically challenged faculty (yes there are always a few), can't
as easily borrow your research topic(s) or data.
14. At least you would get to work with people who have vision,
technological awareness and believe in the future.

Distance CON:
1. You miss out on campus events, concerts, talks - that may have nothing
directly to do with your track of study.
2. Having to travel to meet whatever residency requirement is in place
will totally disrupt your life, vanquish your vacation
time and upset your family.
3. Remote pretty much precludes working with Archives or Conservation -
unless they are where you are.
4. You will pretty much speed up the decline of monumental fixed in place
campuses.
5. You probably won't schedule adequate time to do what you should be
doing because of other life pressures.
6. Cohort support - while your cohort may be useful intellectually &
socially - they are also your academic competitors and
indeed eventually your job search competitors. That support only goes so
deep. Indeed, you may find you really don't like some
of your cohort you are forced to deal with.
7. You don't get the adventure of totally uprooting your life, work,
family and friends to relocate.
8. Everybody does not learn in the same way - distance educ. might not be
your ticket - better know up front.
9. You probably don't get to be a TA or a GA and/or have the potential to
work for and hopefully with, someone you respect.
10. It won't make you get out of your security rut or leave that work
environment you are familiar with.
11. You will miss the guest speakers, symposiums, mini-conferences.
12. You won't get crammed into a substandard office space, with X number
of TA's, GA's who might just become your friends.
13. You won't find it as easy, or at least as convenient to work out a
collaboration w/ faculty on research areas or interests
which you might actually share.
14. You will get to sit in "core' classes taught by people who may not have
vision, technological awareness,
or who even don't give a ..... anymore.

...and finally, you will get to pay (borrow) a staggering amount of money
no matter which way it is done and take years to do it.
If you are already a working
professional you will probably NEVER make back what you sacrifice to do a
PhD financially.
...if you have a family and/or a working spouse who has their own career -
wellll how selfish are you?

So, why aren't there OnLine PhD's in Library Science - just snobbery,
protectionism and we have always done it this-away thinking.

Best,
John D. Berry

"Worried about our future? Do not fear. Look into the eyes of our children."
John D. Berry, MLIS, MA, NAS/CES Librarian, UC Berkeley
American Indian Library Association - Listserv Manager
American Library Association - Councilor at Large, 2001-2004
Occasional Adjunct Faculty

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Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 14:57:04 -0500
From: Elizabeth Aversa <eaversa[at]SLIS.UA.EDU>
Subject: Online Ph.D. programs

I agree with Bill Summers regarding the reception that a proposal for an
online PhD program would receive on most campuses. To make matters worse,
there are still many in the academy who have very little respect for
doctorates in LIS in the first place, so the notion of online PhD programs
in LIS would only provide more "evidence" for our detractors. (I am not
suggesting that LIS is unique in having these detractors -the same negative
comments are heard about research doctorates in education, social work,
business and other "professional" fields.)

Elizabeth Aversa
Director & Professor
School of Library & Information Studies
The University of Alabama

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Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 21:10:39 -0400
From: Samuel Trosow <strosow[at]UWO.CA>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs

Suzanne,

Old geezers like you and me ought to get with it. All this stuff about inside
members, outside members, classroom contact, going to the library, dissertation
committees, going out for a pizza and beer with your cohort, complaining about
this or that in the carrel area, having some personal contact with faculty
members, going over to the commons for a coffee, getting in and out of places
like Westwood, etc. is apparently getting very old school. It's not the most
efficient way to deliver the educational product that today's busy customers
demand.

It's a new day; it's a new digital era. It's time for the digital Ph.D. After
all, the Masters degree has been subsumed under the imperative of cost-cutting
technological measures. It would only be a continuation of this logic for the
Ph.D. to do so as well. Actually, schools like Phoenix, Barbizon, etc, have
been selling this sort of customer driven education for a long time, we're just
seeing the antiquated public sector schools catch up.

If the MLS o'the future is to be digitally delivered, what better way to
prepare the next generation of "library"educators than to offer the customer a
distance Ph.D? It's potentially a huge market.

With a distance program, management gets to lose the famous 'gripe fests' that
you so famously describe. You know that the social university where people
actually see each other simply breeds unions, student activists, and the such.
Hardly efficient.

So here's to the electonic future. May our successors never have to go through
the hassle of having to sit in traffic, to meet their classmates in person, or
to stand in line for coffee.

Sam Trosow

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Date: Sat, 21 May 2005 01:05:39 -0700
From: "Marcia J. Bates" <mjbates[at]UCLA.EDU>
Subject: Role of the PhD

John Berry--what a cynic you are about academia! Well, you are of
course welcome to your own opinions, but some of the things you
mention touch on some widespread misunderstandings in our field.
Your letter represents a good opportunity to talk about them.

Here are several key points first, then I'll relate them to various
things you say in your email.

1. BEING A PROFESSOR IS A DIFFERENT JOB FROM BEING A
LIBRARIAN. IT REQUIRES DIFFERENT TRAINING AND DIFFERENT SKILLS TO DO
IT WELL. An LIS professor is not just a librarian who happens to be
sitting in a university. We are interested in doing research and in
contributing new understandings and insights to our field. In order
to do that, we get another five years or so of education, where we
learn tons of research methods, advanced theory, and the intellectual
skills needed to take a topic or issue and address it in a way that
will advance understanding. Many practitioners, however, are
sarcastic about that training and say that having working experience
as a librarian is the only thing that qualifies you to teach new
librarians. Which brings me to my second point:

2. THE RATIONALE FOR HAVING LIS MASTER'S EDUCATION IN
UNIVERSITIES IS THAT THERE IS MORE TO OUR DISCIPLINE THAN THE SKILLS
NEEDED IN DAY TO DAY PRACTICE. To put it differently, if working in
a library were the only qualification to teach newcomers, then
prospective librarians could simply take a job and be mentored in
place by whoever was their supervisor. Being a librarian would
simply be another job, like many others, NOT a profession.

3. WHAT MAKES OUR FIELD A PROFESSION--REQUIRING AN ADVANCED
DEGREE FROM A UNIVERSITY--IS THAT THERE IS A BROADER PROFESSIONAL
VISION, AND LOTS OF THEORY, RESEARCH, AND UNDERSTANDING DEVELOPED
BY....PROFESSORS. And that vision, theory, etc., would be very hard
to learn in the context of a busy day to day job in a single
institution. Years ago, when I taught reference, I used to devote a
lecture hour to each major type of library, what was specific to
reference services in that kind of library, along with all the other
stuff I taught in general about reference services. One of my
students complained that he planned to go into public libraries and
so didn't want to hear the hour about academic libraries, or the hour
about special libraries, etc. It's THAT kind of an attitude that a
good professional education should eliminate. A student should be
helped to see beyond the border of a single library or single job.

4. TURNING THE ABOVE AROUND, WE OWE OUR STANDING AS
PROFESSIONALS, SUCH AS IT IS, TO THE FACT THAT WE GET OUR EDUCATIONS
IN GRADUATE UNIVERSITIES. I, like many librarians, don't think our
field gets the respect it deserves. But we DO earn two-year master's
degrees to become qualified to work at a professional level. The
MIXTURE of theory and practice students get in the university is what
qualifies them as professionals. If we didn't have even this
training and recognition, being a librarian would simply be a job,
not a profession.

I feel that, too often, in the abundant contempt some
librarians feel for their library school professors, they forget that
the professors and their students have the common cause of advancing
the field as a profession, and gaining widespread societal
recognition for the genuinely sophisticated professional work we do.
Deriding their library school faculty as out-of-date idiots does not
exactly contribute to that broader goal. If we use each other as
punching bags, all we do is drive each other down in social rank and
validation.

Now for some responses to specific things you say in your email:

* "Socializing to the academy" is not the same thing as
getting used to being in college. You most certainly WON'T have that
down pat before going for a doctorate. As others have said in other
emails in this exchange, getting a PhD is not just getting more of
the same learning you got earlier. When you go for a PHD, you are
really going for a different kind of job (professor, not librarian)
and you must learn the skills for that game. One of the most
important things students do during that time is transition from
being the learner to being an independent scholar, to being the
person who comes up with the new ideas or new results. Learning that
really involves a lot of one-on-one mentoring and observation.

* Library support: "ILL works." Surely, you jest!! If
you're writing a 30 page paper for a seminar, or developing your
dissertation proposal, having easy access to a high quality and
extensive library collection is vital. Are you going to submit ILL
requests for 200 items? And how do you pick the 200 out of the 500
you may have to review in an online search or a browse through the
stacks. At the PhD level you are doing industrial strength
scholarship. You can't get by with four references at the end of
your paper.

* Interaction with a cohort and many faculty through time
is vital to the experience of apprenticeship as a junior scholar.
You learn scholarship by observing how all your professors work and
think, and you learn still more by interacting with your fellow
students and seeing what does and does not work for them. Getting a
PhD is not at all just about mastering the "content" of the courses.
These other skills picked up from observation and interaction are
just as vital to success and longevity as a professor.

* I agree that teaching skill is variable. That's why much
more emphasis is being put on giving doctoral students opportunities
to teach.

* It really is a problem that people with careers hate to
leave a job and go elsewhere to get a degree. For those who want the
degree to advance in the place they are already in, leaving for the
degree feels self-defeating. On the other hand, if you want the
doctorate because you want to teach and do research, then it is
important to acknowledge that YOU ARE CHANGING JOBS AND CAREERS.
Maybe it makes sense to go elsewhere for the education, since you
will probably have to leave your current city anyway to find a
teaching job.

Marcia
--
Marcia J. Bates, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Department of Information Studies
Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1520 USA
Tel: 310-206-9353
Fax: 310-206-4460
Web: http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/

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Date: Sat, 21 May 2005 12:33:05 -0500
From: "Charles W. Bailey, Jr." <cbailey[at]UH.EDU>
Subject: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Information schools have one group of potential Ph.D.
students that appear to have unique characteristics:
academic librarians with faculty or faculty-like status.

To advance in ranks in these up-or-out systems, academic
librarians:

1. Publish in peer-reviewed journals, edit such journals,
serve on the editorial boards of such journals, write books,
and edit books. They also write, edit, and serve on
editorial boards of a variety of other publications.

2. Write, manage, and analyze the results of funded research
projects.

3. Make presentations at professional conferences and
elsewhere.

4. Teach for-credit and non-credit courses.

5. Serve as adjunct faculty in information schools.

6. Serve on committees and as officers of professional
associations.

7. Often obtain multiple master's degrees.

This is not to say that other librarians do not also perform
the above activities; however, academic librarians with
faculty or faculty-like status are typically required to do
1, 3, and 6, with the main difference in such requirements
being on the need to perform higher-level activities in 1. And
they are "rewarded" for performing all of them.

So, what other disciplines with Ph.D. programs have
potential students with similar requirements? If the answer
is "none" and if the above activities are not viewed as a
kind of faux scholarship, then it would appear that
experienced members this client group (say those with
associate status or above) have characteristics that suggest
that their need for enculturation, lengthy preliminary
study, and other academic requirements that are obviously
needed for freshly minted undergraduates or inexperienced
MLS graduates is limited or nonexistent. Consequently, they
may be quite successful in online Ph.D. programs where these
other students would fail, especially if online study is
supplemented with brief on-campus stays.

Best Regards,
Charles

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Assistant Dean for Digital Library
Planning and Development, University of Houston,
Library Administration, 114 University Libraries,
Houston, TX 77204-2000. E-mail: cbailey[at]uh.edu.
Voice: (713) 743-9804. Fax: (713) 743-9811.
DigitalKoans: http://www.escholarlypub.com/digitalkoans/
Open Access Bibliography: http://info.lib.uh.edu/cwb/oab.htm
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog: http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepw.htm

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Date: Sun, 22 May 2005 00:56:17 -0500
From: Brian O'Connor <boconnor[at]LIS.ADMIN.UNT.EDU>
Subject: Re: Role of the PhD

Marcia's distinction between librarian work and professor work is one of
which we hear frequently, but perhaps do not contemplate sufficiently.

If all professors in LIS schools had to do was teach others how to do
librarian work and perhaps conduct their own research on practice and
delivery then the state of affairs would be most simple. However, many,
if not all, who hold Ph.D.s and teach in LIS schools (which need not
mean they have LIS Ph.D.s) sought and worked to attain those degrees to
wrestle with fundamental issues of information in human affairs. Some of
those issues might well deal with libraries and other existing
information systems and seek more efficient means of using them.
However, it is also the case that some of that research might deal with
systems that have little or nothing to do with existing systems. Indeed,
in the spirit of Ph.D.-level wrestling with issues, it is not out of the
realm of possibility that one or more researchers could find, say, that
public libraries are fundamentally flawed information structures and do
little but waste community and searcher resources. In which case the
holder of the Ph.D. and faculty position in an LIS school might well be
far from comfortable simply passing on "practice" to master's level
students.

brian

Brian C. O'Connor, Ph.D.
Coordinator
Information Science Doctoral Program
University of North Texas
Denton, Texas 76203

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Date: Sun, 22 May 2005 09:14:20 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Role of the PhD

Marcia has said most of what I was thinking, but couldn't quite express.
Jonh Berry's comments are, in fact, a prime example of the need to
become socialized to the academic world at the doctoral level.

The outside courses that we take are doctoral-level courses in other
departments. They are NOT taught during the summer. They are not even
taught every year. I had to wait two years to take the course in
American history that was central to my dissertation. In addition to
mastering the content, the purpose of these courses is to increase the
students' exposure to other departments, disciplines, and faculty. We
live in an era of increasing interdiciplinarity; increasing our
knowledge of and contact with other disciplines is essential to
survival. It is also the way that students establish a relationship with
hat critical outside member for the dissertation committee.

The idea that graduate students would even be aware of, let alone
interested in, undergraduate activities such as concernt is laughable.
Who has the time? On the other hand, we do remove the intellectual
blinders that rigidly and narrowly define our interests as only those
topics that directly related to our "track of study." We expand our
minds. Everyhing is potentially directly related to our "track of
study." And, again, in an era of increasing interdisciplinarity, there
is very little that is "that may have nothing directly to do with your
track of study."

I worked in my own space in my pjs. We were not required to spend our
time in "substandard office space w/ X number of other TA's, GA's, that
you might not like." That model might have been true back in the way old
days before we all had computers at home, but it's certainly not
reflective of current practice.

I think we should be asking why it is that graduate school is so
incredibly expensive that only the wealthy, those with two incomes, or
those willing to rack up immense student loan debts (that would be me,
in case you're interested) can achieve it, and whether distance
education is really the answer to that problem. What are the social
costs of creating -- or further entrenching -- a two-class higher
educational system? The day that Harvard offers a distance doctorate is
the day that I'll believe that the two educational systems are truly
viewed as equivalent.

Suzanne Stauffer

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Date: Sun, 22 May 2005 09:22:54 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Why would academic librarians want a Ph.D. in LIS? The purpose of a Ph.D.
in LIS is not to make you a better librarian -- and it won't, in most
cases, although cataloging might be the exception. The purpose of a Ph.D.
in LIS is to do research and to teach in LIS.

As you say, academic librarians have subject masters' degrees; their Ph.D.
should reasonably be in the same or a similar area as their subject degree,
and that is something that they can generally earn at the university where
they are working as academic librarians. Those in administration will do
just as well to get a doctorate in business or public administration or a
related field -- or maybe an additional masters degree. I don't know; it's
not my area.

Suzanne Stauffer

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Date: Sun, 22 May 2005 20:22:29 -0500
From: "Rein, Diane C." <drein[at]PURDUE.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Librarians don't want a PhD in "LIS". We don't want theory. We leave
that to those of you here who do.

We want the availability of a PhD in librarian practice that would
incorporate such concepts of research and analysis of the populations we
serve, developing independent thinking, developing fiduciary (business)
acumen, exceeding in project management, critical analysis skills,
developing grant writing and funding prowess, negotiation skills at the
level of Department Heads, Deans and Vice Provosts/Chancellors within
their institutions for library initiatives, and the development of
digital library and metadata skills as a norm, to name a few.

But at the very most basic level, academic librarians need a PhD in
"academic librarianship practice" so that they can professionally
function at the level needed within academic institutions, including
learning how their academic colleagues outside of the libraries function
and interact with each other.

I am so tired of having to constantly distinguish in conversations with
my own colleagues of "faculty" versus "subject faculty". For goodness
sakes--we are all faculty here at Purdue.

Why do LIS graduate programs persist in limiting professional
development of academic librarians to a MS degree, knowing darn well
that they will be placed within a setting where Masters degrees are
clearly not designed to provide professional independence and
decision-making. This ultimately leads to the conclusion and often times
prejudice that librarians are distinctly inferior in knowledge, skills
and abilities of their PhD academic cohorts, the latter of which may
include any LIS PhDs who may be on a campus. This in turn leads to a
gross devaluation of academic librarians as professionals.

Diane Rein

************************************************
Diane C. Rein, Ph.D. MLS
Assistant Life Sciences Librarian
Biomolecular Sciences Specialist
Life Sciences Library.
Voice: 765 494 2915
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907

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Date: Sun, 22 May 2005 21:14:25 -0400
From: kaw52+[at]PITT.EDU
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

I think most academic librarians already know that they certainly do not
need a PhD in LIS to become a 'better librarian' somehow
or to even become a admin/director. Most academic and research
librarians working today have ample opportunities as well to teach
courses way beyond basic bib instruction sessions, and conduct research
as faculty themselves. Many research universities support library
faculty professional development and encourage active participation in
the LIS field and other areas of specialization. They certainly do not
need a PhD in LIS to accomplish that, but they may want to pursue it
for personal reasons and yes to possibly help their career down the road
if another unique opportunity arises.

But why though would you consider 'cataloging' as a possible exception
for academic librarians having it? I find that interesting.

Best,
Karen

Karen Weaver
Doctoral student DLIS
School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 07:34:03 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

What you are describing is an applied doctorate, and they certainly are
available, but they aren't Ph. D.s. A Ph. D. is a research degree. It is
given for doing original research, and that's not something that a single
department or field can change. Those who hold them are doctors of
philosophy (per OED, "1. a. (In the original and widest sense.) The love,
study, or pursuit of wisdom, or of knowledge of things and their causes,
whether theoretical or practical"), not doctors of [insert name of subject
here]. Our field is just the area in which we do our research -- as I'm
sure you know.

Many schools of education offer a doctorate of education, also known as an
Ed. D. Psychology offers a Psy. D. for practitioners. The J.D., L.L.D., and
the M.D. are also applied doctorates. The applied degree in LIS would be a
D.L.I.S. I don't know if any schools still offer that as an applied degree.
My understanding is that the applied D.L.I.S. is no longer offered because
there simply aren't enough students to keep a program going over the long
term. From what I know, an Ed. D. in educational administration (higher
education) would provide the kinds of knowledge and skills that you
describe. There may be others.

Which leads me to wonder whether what people really want is an online DLIS,
and what everyone thinks of that?

Suzanne Stauffer

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 08:46:06 -0500
From: Joanna Fountain <fountain[at]THEGATEWAY.NET>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

I can partially address this; just about everything in the area of
cataloging has undergone huge changes in the past decade or so, and the
impact of automation on all these creates another layer of complexity
that is hard to imagine unless one gets involved in it. To catalog well
today means to know a changing set of approach and rules, constantly
evolving MARC with its international implications, knowledge and
understanding of how computers and software affect the cataloging
record, evolving subject terminology, need to accommodate key word
approaches, and periodically-changing classification schemes. If one
were only cataloging - and not teaching it too - it would be a challenge
to keep up. Add all the requirements of academe... cataloging and
teaching it are not for the faint of heart!

Joanna F. Fountain, Ph.D.

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 08:48:27 -0400
From: Lee Shiflett OLSHIFLE <olshifle[at]UNCG.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Diane:

What is being demanded here is not a PhD--but something beyond the MLS and
short of a research degree (the PhD). A number of years ago, Mary Biggs
published a piece in Library Quarterly calling for the abolition of the
PhD in library science and offered a good case that librarians really
wanting to engage in research would be better served (as would the
profession itself) by going for the degree in the traditional subject
areas rather than through the professional schools. The problem with this
is that it is impossible to convince a doctoral committee in sociology, or
history, or geography, or any other arena of research, that libraries are
worthy of study at the doctoral level. There are bigger and more
important questions there (at least for doctoral committees in other
disciplines) than libraries. It is even impossible to convince schools of
education that libraries are fit subjects for research.

The DLS (not the Columbia variant) was one appropriate credential for the
kind of work described by Diane Rein, but that has apparently fallen by
the wayside. Perhaps a revised form of the EdD may be appropriate.
Certainly it is not the PhD.

This particular issue, though, is not merely one of degrees. We have any
number of librarians (MLS ones) holding PhD degrees in various subjects
employed as reference librarians, subject specialists, catalogers,
archivists, etc. in our academic institutions who achieve no real level of
respect on the campus because they hold the PhD. The problem is not the
level of degree, but the kind of work in which the holder is engaged. This
is part of the academic culture, not the degree structure.

Lee Shiflett
Chair, Library & Information Studies

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 09:58:54 -0500
From: "Dr. Carole Nowicke, Applied Health Science"

<cnowicke[at]INDIANA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

On Mon, 23 May 2005, Suzanne Stauffer wrote:

> Which leads me to wonder whether what people really want is an online DLIS,
> and what everyone thinks of that?

They might--for tenure and promotional purposes. I keep wondering if I
should "lose" my doctorate when applying for practioner positions outside
of academe.

I can see an applied doctorate being profitable for universities. The
degree of choice for musicians who wish to win university positions is the
DMA (sometimes called "didn't make audition"). The DMA writing
requirement is been reduced at some institutions to only producing a short
document--or "program notes" for a CD of the final recital.

Carole E. Nowicke, Ph.D., M.L.S.
Reference Librarian
Indiana Prevention Resource Center <http://www.drugs.indiana.edu>;
cnowicke[at]indiana.edu
List Owner Dressage-L <Dressage-L[at]Listserv.Indiana.edu>

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 10:04:14 -0500
From: "H. Frank Cervone" <f-cervone[at]NORTHWESTERN.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

As someone who is enrolled in a distance education Ph.D. I'm disheartened,
but not surprised, by the rather one-dimensional and what I perceive to be
arrogant tone of much of this discussion.

Why would a mere academic librarian want a Ph.D.? Well, surprisingly not
everyone believes that the sole purpose of a Ph.D. is limited to being
training to become a research faculty member. Many people have pursued and
are pursuing doctorates in the sciences and professions with no intention
of ever being a member of academia. They pursue the doctorate because it is
an integral part of their professional development. There are some of us
who are genuinely interested in pursuing a deeper research-based
understanding of a particular area of librarianship while, at the same
time, are not particularly interested in changing careers.

If you look at doctoral programs that are offered in distance and extended
formats, you'll find that most are aimed at the mid-career professional who
is expected to both perform research and practice in their field. Clearly,
a different focus from that found in traditional Ph.D. programs, but one
that sounds remarkably in tune with what almost all academic librarians
do. For many of these people (including me), traditional doctoral programs
offer neither the flexibility/accessibility nor options necessary to
complete the degree while maintaining a professional practice, so pursuing
a distance (or extended) learning route is the only viable option.

Arguing that allowing for this option creates a two-tiered system is really
disingenuous. The reality is we already have a rather clear and distinct
class system in traditional higher education. We all know that some
institutions are more worthy than others, whether deserved or not.

Furthermore, arguments by analogy such as "The day that Harvard offers a
distance doctorate is the day that I'll believe that the two educational
systems are truly viewed as equivalent", are extremely dangerous. Putting
the argument in a different context, one could easily say "The day that
Harvard offers a Ph.D. in Library Science is the day that I'll believe that
library science is a valid discipline." Does that mean that LIS is not
truly worthy of having a doctoral level of study simply because Harvard
doesn't have a program? I should hope not, but perhaps it's just this same
type of logic that has been a contributing factor to the disrespect of
library science.

Frank Cervone
Assistant University Librarian for Information Technology
Northwestern University
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-2300
847.491.8304

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 08:51:29 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

> As someone who is enrolled in a distance education Ph.D. I'm disheartened,
> but not surprised, by the rather one-dimensional and what I perceive to be
> arrogant tone of much of this discussion.
>
> Why would a mere academic librarian want a Ph.D.?

I am extremely troubled that you chose to interpret and misquote my
question in such a way. I, like Horton, meant what I said and I said what I
meant.

My question was, and remains, why would an academic librarian want a Ph.D.
in LIS? Why would any professional who does not intend to do research want
a research degree?

Suzanen Stauffer, M.L.S., Ph. D.

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 12:32:18 -0500
From: "H. Frank Cervone" <f-cervone[at]NORTHWESTERN.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

I'm not sure how I misinterpreted what you said. You asked why an academic
librarian would want a Ph.D. You then say, by implication, that a Ph.D.
would be of no use to academic librarians because they don't do research.
In general, this is not true. Academic librarians do perform research.
Perhaps it is often grounded more in pragmatic issues rather than purely
theoretical concepts, but this is not always the case. For the most part,
this research is part of the promotion and tenure or continuing appointment
process, just as it is for faculty in LIS schools. As a consequence, there
are many of us who would find a Ph.D. in LIS to be useful.

Are you suggesting, instead, that the terminal degree for practitioners
should be the DLIS rather than the Ph.D.? If so, that was not at all clear
to me from your comments. This might be an option for many, but the
difference between professional doctorates such as exist between an Ed.D.
or DBA and the Ph.D. is murky at best. At many institutions that offer both
types of degree, there is no significant difference between the two
degrees. At others, the only real difference is whether the research
performed for the dissertation is purely theoretical or may be more
practice-based.

But we seem to have gone off course from the original question of why
aren't library schools looking at this issue seriously rather than
dismissing it out of hand? There are many of us pursuing doctorates, at a
distance, right now in schools outside of LIS because we have no choice. If
we want to grow and sustain the profession, this seems to be an
overwhelmingly counterproductive strategy to me.

Frank

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 12:37:04 -0500
From: Sharon Mcqueen <smq[at]CSD.UWM.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

On Mon, 23 May 2005, Mike Chumer wrote:

> I am both fascinated and distraught by e-mail users who think that this
> form of communication (e-mail) represents the alpha and omega of
> communicating "meaning". Suzanne mentions quite matter of factly that her
> communication was mis-interpreted BUT that is exactly what e-mail lends
> itself toâ¦significant mis-interpretation. This discussion is getting to
> the point where much ambiguity is creeping in and when that happens e-mail
> ( not being a very rich communication medium) functions very poorly.
> Better to use this topic as a panel discussion in ASIST, ALA, and/or some
> other "professional" conference.

ALISE (Association for Library & Information Science Education) would seem
appropriate to me - as this is an LIS education issue. And, as many who
are posting are librarians, perhaps an ALA/ALISE collaboration would be in
order.

Sharon McQueen

School of Library and Information Studies
The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Helen C. White Hall
600 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 12:51:29 -0500
From: David Eichmann <david-eichmann[at]UIOWA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

A re-reading of this thread as a "philosophy of
the field" doctoral discussion (either in the
classroom or your pub of preference) provides an
excellent case study in the challenges that
temporal-spatial distribution technologies
present. The loss of communicative nuance limits
your semantic bandwidth in a way that makes
doctoral-level teaching and mentoring very
difficult.

I find myself these days quite easily taking up
one stance or the other at will regarding the
viability and effectiveness of distance
education. We (Iowa) only do distance courses
via the Iowa Communications Network (ICN), which
provides us multi-point full-motion video - a
live class concurrently operating out of a half
dozen or more classrooms. We additionally have
experimented with streaming captured class
sessions for on-demand post-hoc use by students
as well as the more standard asynchronous
channels of communication.

With all of that, I still do not achieve near
the sense of comprehension of ICN student's grasp
of material that I do with the local students.
At the master's level, this is viewed as an
acceptable trade-off. I'm not sure that it is at
the doctoral level, no matter how you define the
doctorate. Out-of-band (non-classroom)
interactions are critical to the intellectual
development of a doctoral candidate.

- Dave

p.s. Please note that I intentionally did not
scope these comments to be specific to LIS.
Having taught both LIS and Software Engineering
students in this framework, I see little
difference in the issues that arise...

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 13:03:14 -0400
From: Mike Chumer <chumer[at]SCILS.RUTGERS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

I am both fascinated and distraught by e-mail users who think that this
form of communication (e-mail) represents the alpha and omega of
communicating "meaning". Suzanne mentions quite matter of factly that her
communication was mis-interpreted BUT that is exactly what e-mail lends
itself toâ¦significant mis-interpretation. This discussion is getting to
the point where much ambiguity is creeping in and when that happens e-mail
( not being a very rich communication medium) functions very poorly.
Better to use this topic as a panel discussion in ASIST, ALA, and/or some
other "professional" conference.

Secondly...Do not be so naÃ&hibar;ve as to think that every PhD (student or
candidate) is earning a PhD just to do research. I am a third career
academic who loves to teach (taught my first college class in 1970) and
earned a PhD in 2002. The PhD assists in that vein (teaching first and
doing research second) tremendously. A snail like process in academia
leaning toward developing a cadre of teaching/clinical faculty is
beginning to address the needs of people like me.

>> As someone who is enrolled in a distance education Ph.D. I'm
>> disheartened,
>> but not surprised, by the rather one-dimensional and what I perceive to
>> be
>> arrogant tone of much of this discussion.
>>
>> Why would a mere academic librarian want a Ph.D.?
>
> I am extremely troubled that you chose to interpret and misquote my
> question in such a way. I, like Horton, meant what I said and I said what
> I
> meant.
>
> My question was, and remains, why would an academic librarian want a Ph.D.
> in LIS? Why would any professional who does not intend to do research want
> a research degree?
>
> Suzanen Stauffer, M.L.S., Ph. D.
>

Mike Chumer, Ph.D.
Information Systems Dept
NJIT
University Heights
Newark, NJ 07102
973-596-5484
chumer[at]scils.rutgers.edu
chumer[at]njit.edu

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 14:47:06 -0400
From: "Dawn J. Walton" <djw23[at]PSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Why would a professional librarian want a PhD?

Looking through the ads on chronicle.com and many other Academic Librarian job
postings, many positions require a PhD for tenure, particularly the State
System of Higher Education in Pennsylvania, as well as many others.

Also, I know very few academic librarians who are not required to do some
original research and publish for tenure/promotion.

It seems that those teaching future librarians should be aware of the
requirements their students will encounter in their careers and prepare them
accordingly. I was very dismayed to learn here that LIS faculty members are not
aware of these things.

Dawn J. Walton, MLS
Reference Librarian
Penn State, McKeesport

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 15:10:03 -0400
From: Lorna Peterson <lpeterso[at]BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

As chair of the ALISE Recruitment Committee, it is time to acknowledge
that the committee has been following this discussion that relates to our
charge. (See:
http://www.alise.org/about/committees.html#recruitment:

"1. to develop strategies for the recruitment of doctoral students to
LIS education

2. provide liaison to recruitment committees of the American Library
Association and its divisions

3. to provide liaison to recruitment committees of other related
professional associations ... deletes)."

We have been discussing how to best fulfill our charge and gather
information concerning LIS doctoral education. A successful
recruitment forum was done at ALA midwinter with ALISE but that
focused on Masters education. An appropriate forum is in the works,
but not for ALISE 2006. Some other information from the committee:

ALISE Vice-President, President elect John Budd is getting on the programs
of as many conferences as possible. He wrote me that; "I'm focusing mainly on recruiting doctoral
students into programs. I was able to get a roundtable at the April ACRL
Conference, and it's looking good for an event at next
year's PLA Conference. I proposed a panel for ASIST, but they rejected it
..."

Some other notes:

IMLS has had funding doctoral programs as a priority. LIS programs have
applied and some grant proposals have been successful and some have not.
LIS programs are making efforts to increase the opportunities for doctoral
education but the parent institutions, funding streams, and states don't
always cooperate with the efforts.

I have gone through the ALA accredited program sites to see what is listed
for doctoral education. I haven't prepared it for the committee yet.

Also, in March I had a question regarding placement statistics. Lance
Vowell answered that at ALISE 05, there were 95 resumes, and 30 posted
positions.

The ALISE Recruitment Committee appreciates this discussion as we continue
to work on our charge. thanks, lp

Lorna Peterson
University at Buffalo

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Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 22:25:26 -0500
From: "Charles W. Bailey, Jr." <cbailey[at]UH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Let me briefly recap some of my main points in light of this
discussion. Academic librarians with faculty or faculty-like
status who are at the Associate and Full levels do not need
to be taught how to be scholars: they are scholars. In this
respect they represent a unique doctoral clientele. What
they need, if they do not have them, are Ph.D.'s. They do
not want to quit their jobs or commute long distances to get
them from the few information schools that remain. If they
wanted Ph.D.'s in other subject areas, they would not be
troubling information school faculty. Certainly, a DLIS
option would be a welcome alternative to nothing. However,
they are not in any way intimidated by the prospect of a
research degree. They are researchers. They are interested
in a research degree, but many have no interest in joining
the ranks information school faculty. Having a research
degree will help them in their current career path in a
variety of ways.

Illustrating the point that academic librarians are
researchers, an examination of high-impact library-oriented
journals would likely show: (1) academic librarians edit
such journals, (2) academic librarians publish in such
journals, (3) information school faculty edit such journals,
and (4) information school faculty publish in such journals.
In short, the peer-reviewed library literature is a
co-mingling of the scholarly work of academic librarians,
information school faculty, and others. If all identifying
information but the title were stripped away from a
peer-reviewed library journal article, it would be
impossible to determine if it was written by an academic
librarian or an IS faculty member.

In spite of some frustrations, most academic librarians have
a high regard for information school faculty and believe
what they do is very important. However, they find it
difficult to understand how, in 2005, with the wide array of
digital technologies at information schools' disposal why,
in light of their unique circumstances, their needs cannot
be adequately met with these technologies, supplemented by
brief on-campus stays. This dialog has revealed a number of
information school faculties' concerns. It appears to me
that a key one is that such a degree would not be viewed as
legitimate by faculty in other disciplines at the local
institution. This is understandable, because these faculty
do not have a potential doctoral study body with similar
characteristics. But, depending on local circumstances, they
may, at the same time, be officially recognizing local
librarians as faculty members or as having a faculty-like
status. This could be pointed out to them as a case was made
for establishing a special program that was designed to
reflect the unique status of academic librarians.

The extent of interest in an online Ph.D. program among
academic librarians may not be apparent to information
school faculty. However, market research is likely to reveal
that a significant subset of academic librarians would be
interested in pursuing such an option, and, information
schools that could overcome the barriers that prevent such
programs, would find that their pool of potential doctoral
students was significantly expanded with experienced, highly
desirable candidates that they would never otherwise
attract.

Best Regards,
Charles

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Assistant Dean for Digital Library
Planning and Development, University of Houston,
Library Administration, 114 University Libraries,
Houston, TX 77204-2000. E-mail: cbailey[at]uh.edu.
Voice: (713) 743-9804. Fax: (713) 743-9811.
DigitalKoans: http://www.escholarlypub.com/digitalkoans/
Open Access Bibliography: http://info.lib.uh.edu/cwb/oab.htm
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog: http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepw.htm

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Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 08:09:27 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

I don't believe that anyone is questioning why academic librarians would
want -- or need -- to earn a doctorate. However, I think it is an
overgeneralization to suggest that most or all of those would want -- or
need -- to earn a doctorate in L.I.S.

If they do not want to quit their jobs, then it is safe to assume that they
are earning the doctorate in order to further their professional
development as academic librarians. Given that they are academic faculty at
a university, they have many options where they are for earning a
doctorate. Why do you think that the Ph.D. in L.I.S. is the most
appropriate doctoral degree for an academic librarian?

Those who hold professional doctorates, such as the DLIS or the Ed.D., most
certainly do engage in research and they do publish and edit publications
and present at conferences. The primary difference is that their research
is more focused toward application and practice than that of a Ph.D.'s,
which is often described as "too theoretical."

Suzanne Stauffer, M.L.S., Ph.D.

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Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 10:13:41 -0400
From: Lorna Peterson <lpeterso[at]BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

On Mon, 23 May 2005, Sharon Mcqueen wrote:

> ALISE (Association for Library & Information Science Education) would seem
> appropriate to me - as this is an LIS education issue. And, as many who
> are posting are librarians, perhaps an ALA/ALISE collaboration would be in
> order.

--------- It seems that this thread started as an interest in having PhD
programs available through distance learning. Threads also emerged on
access to PhD programs, who needs it, who ants it, and what you do with a
PhD once you earn it.
Just to give an idea of what is available regarding LIS doctoral
education, I quickly went through ALA accredited MLS programs that list
a PhD as offered through its parent institution (which of course means
that the PhD is not accredited, we know that ALA does not accredit the
PhD). This list does not include the IS, Computer Science, and other
related doctoral degrees available for those who want to pursue this level
of education. This was a quick overview and the names of the degrees may
not be exact. Out of 55 accredited MLS programs, 36 have a PhD offered
through the parent institution. No distinction is made for online/distance
learning. I am not reporting level of support, number of applicants and
rejection rates.

Tiffani Conner asked if LIS programs are considering offering doctoral
education through distance learning--- the answer is yes. I don't have the
figures but there have been several grant proposals submitted to IMLS to
fund such programs. Some of these proposals have not met with success.

The ALISE Recruitment Committee realizes it has a lot of work ahead. Thank
you for your discussion and contributions which are helping us formulate
strategies to fulfill our charge. lp

ALA Accredited MLS Programs Offering PhDs through the Parent Institution
Lorna Peterson, May 24, 2005. Draft Report to the ALISE Recruitment
Committee.

U Alabama PhD Communication
U[at] Albany (SUNY) PhD Information Science
U Alberta PhD Individual Interdisciplinary
U Arizona PhD Library and Information

Science
U British Columbia PhD Library, Archival and

Information Science
U[at] Buffalo (SUNY) PhD Communication
UCLA PhD Library and Information
Science
Dalhousie PhD Interdisciplinary
Drexel PhD Information Science and

Technology
Emporia PhD Library and Information

Science
Florida State PhD Library and Information

Science
Hawaii PhD Interdisciplinary Communication and IS
U Illinois PhD Library and Information

Science
U Indiana PhD Library and Information

Science
U Iowa PhD Interdisciplinary
U Kentucky PhD Communication
Long Island PhD Library and Information

Science
McGill PhD (Ad Hoc) Program
Maryland PhD Library and Information

Science
Michigan PhD Information (Doctor of

Information)
Missouri PhD Information Science and

Learning Technologies
Montreal PhD Information Science
U North Carolina, Chapel Hill PhD Library and Information Science
U North Texas PhD Interdisciplinary Information Science
Pittsburgh PhD Library and Information

Science
Rutgers PhD Library and Information Science
Simmons DLS Library Science
Syracuse PhD Information Science
Tennessee PhD Information and Communication
U Texas, Austin PhD Library and Information

Science
Texas Women's PhD Library and Information Science
Toronto PhD Information Science
Washington PhD Information Science
Western Ontario PhD Library and Information Science
U Wisconsin, Madison PhD Library and Information Science
U Wisconsin, Milwaukee PhD Multidisciplinary

PhD Medical Informatics

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Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 12:35:12 -0400
From: "Ladner, Sharyn J" <sladner[at]MIAMI.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Thank you, Professor Johnson, for incorporating in your list the reasons
why I decided to enter and complete a Ph.D. program in LIS after 15
years in practice in special and academic libraries. I chose to stay in
academic librarianship after completing the Ph.D. in 2004 for a variety
of reasons, including the fact that I absolutely love what I'm doing and
am adequately compensated for my contributions to both the profession
and my institution.

My doctoral education has deepened my intellectual curiosity, given me
the skills to design quality research projects, and introduced me to
theoretical perspectives that have broadened my approach to problem
solving and critical analysis. These are indeed relevant in the
practitioner community.

Sharyn J. Ladner, M.L.S., Ph.D.
Interim Head of Reference & Government Information
University of Miami Otto G. Richter Library
Coral Gables, FL 33124
sladner[at]miami.edu

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Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 12:56:15 -0400
From: Bill Buchanan <buchanan[at]CLARION.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Lorna,

I thought I remembered that the Simmons program is a Doctor of Arts (DA)
program and not a Doctor of Library Science (DLS). I checked their
website and the degree is a DA; however, the following announcement
appears on the DA page: "We are in the process of shaping the future of
doctoral studies at GSLIS, and are not currently accepting applications
to the Doctor of Arts." I'm not sure what this means, other than
Simmons is not currently an option for librarians seeking to begin a
doctoral program.

Bill

Dr. William Buchanan
Professor
Department of Library Science
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
840 Wood Street
Clarion, PA 16214
814.393.2447 (office)
814.393.2150 (fax)

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Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 15:59:21 -0400
From: Lorna Peterson <lpeterso[at]BUFFALO.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

I had placed in my message that the list I produced was quick and would
not have the exact names. Please send corrections to me privately if you
wish. I am sure that many others will find errors in how the degree is
listed for a particular institution. My purpose was only to give an
overview of the opportunities available for doctoral education in LIS.
I would also like to note that the ALA has a listing of doctoral
programs. Karen O'Brien, Director of the Office for Accreditation, sent me
the following:

"(it's an Accreditation page) http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm
... and then scroll into the page to the section 'Limit to Schools that
offer the following ...'"

The ALISE Recruitment Committee will work on posting a page that describes
and lists PhD programs. It will included some descriptive information. We
plan to have this done by Jan. 2006.

thanks,
lp

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Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 18:51:31 -0700
From: Suzanne Stauffer <smstauffer[at]EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

I'm curious as to why you chose to earn a Ph.D. in LIS rather than a
subject area. Since I also earned one, it isn't that I question the value
of the degree, but when I was a paraprofessional at one academic library
and a librarian at another, I was repeatedly advised to earn either a
subject doctorate or an Ed. D., for the reasons I've given in other e-mails.

Suzanne Stauffer

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Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 21:33:24 -0500
From: "Charles W. Bailey, Jr." <cbailey[at]UH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

No respectable program would offer an online doctorate?

University of Arizona, College of Nursing
http://www.nursing.arizona.edu/doctoral.htm

Boston University, College of Fine Arts
http://www.bu.edu/disted/online/online_course_doctor_of_music.html

Boston University, Sargent College of Rehabilitation Sciences
http://www.bu.edu/disted/online/online_course_physical_therapy.html

Texas Tech University, Department of English
http://www.english.ttu.edu/tc/OnlinePhD/
http://www.english.ttu.edu/tc/OnlinePhD/PhDOnline.htm

University of Hawaii, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
http://www.hawaii.edu/ur/newsatuh/2005/0314/health.htm

University of Maryland University College
http://www.umuc.edu/grad/dm/

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, College of Nursing
http://cfprod.imt.uwm.edu/nursing/academics/doctor_online.cfm

Best Regards,
Charles

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Assistant Dean for Digital Library
Planning and Development, University of Houston,
Library Administration, 114 University Libraries,
Houston, TX 77204-2000. E-mail: cbailey[at]uh.edu.
Voice: (713) 743-9804. Fax: (713) 743-9811.
DigitalKoans: http://www.escholarlypub.com/digitalkoans/
Open Access Bibliography: http://info.lib.uh.edu/cwb/oab.htm
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog: http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepw.htm

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Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 16:36:48 -0400
From: Tiffani Conner <Tiffani.Conner[at]UCONN.EDU>
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

This post [Sharyn Ladner] is more in line with my personal
thoughts on pursuing a PhD. I've grappled with the whole
idea of a PhD in LIS or in another subject area. Given the
fact that I pursued a MS in Adult Education for the initial
purpose of learning how to teach properly in
universities--as my aspiration at that time was NOT
librarianship but a PhD in a subject field. Obtaining my
obligatory MLS degree and experiencing the coursework,
literature, and faculty in library school totally altered my
seemingly narrow view of a PhD. Librarianship, for me, has
become a vehicle for many other things and I LOVE that part
of this field most of all.

I must say that I do not want a PhD in LIS for the sole
purpose of research/teaching in LIS, in fact most of my
courses were taught by adjuncts. Rather I'd pursue such a
degree for the experience and learning opportunities that
would expand my own research--both interests and methods,
would increase my ability to put libraries "on the map" of
other disciplines, and would increase my understanding of
the research process in general. I would not, however,
choose to pursue an EdD equivalent because it is more
practitioner based, and I personally believe that any good
researcher "should" be able to transfer theory into
practice--or they better be since that's what the MLS
programs are offering those hiring, and what those hiring
are expecting.

This thread, while I started it as a limited question
concerning online PhD programs, has been exciting to follow.
I truly appreciate the comments and the humor. It is
comforting to realize that those of us on NMRT-L are not
holding outlandish opinions or viewpoints, that in fact our
speculations are rampant among those who may not consider
themselves "new librarians" anymore. Now I'm curious more
about the push in LIS and libraries for digital libraries
yet at least 50% (it feels like) are reticent to truly
embrace distance programs and the learning issues related to
distance education.

Cheers,
Tiffani
Tiffani R. Conner, MS, MSIS
Library Liaison to Sociology, Human Rights, Rainbow Center,
& Roper Center for Public Opinion
University of Connecticut

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 23:42:32 +0100
From: "S.Webber" <S.Webber[at]SHEFFIELD.AC.UK>
Organization: University of Sheffield
Subject: Re: Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Hi

Thanks for all the thoughtful discussion on this. I thought I'd
contribute information about some PhD options here, and then
some reflections.

Firstly, the information (or an advertisement ;-) Sheffield University
Department of Information Studies, in the UK, has options for our
PhD programme
- "Joint location" (full time - expected to complete the degree in
normal 3 years, one year must be spent at Sheffield) and
- "Remote location" (part time - there must be at least one face-toface
meeting per year, and there are conditions laid down for
communication). At the moment, for example I am supervising one
remote location student (an Irish librarian investigating Continuing
Professional Development needs of solo librarians).

See: http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/away (info on
studying away from Sheffield)
http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research (info on research
degrees at Sheffield)
http://www.shef.ac.uk/is/research/resappn.html (info on my Dept. -
n.b. the detailed menu for more applications info, on the right of
this page, including the format of the research proposal)

Sheffield is a research-led university and the Department of
Information Studies has obtained the top possible score in all three
of the UK's Research Assessment Exercises (one of an exclusive
band of Departments in any subject area to have done this). (OK,
ad almost over.)

I think that British PhD programmes differ from North American
ones in that the instructional component of British PhDs is less,
with focus on developing and investigating your own research
question throughout the three years. For full-time PhDs (on
campus or joint location) there is a Research Training programme
of credit-bearing modules (which most students would take during
year 1). Part-time students do not have to take this programme.

Some of the pros and cons of on campus vs. remote have already
been mentioned by others. A part-time PhD (in particular) requires
a lot of dedication and determination, plus supportive nearest &
dearest, whichever way you do it.

There are various differences between the US and the UK (e.g. in
the UK you do not have to have a PhD to become a faculty
member), so apologies of the following remarks do not seem so
applicable.

Finding people (in addition to your supervisor) to discuss your
research with will obviously help you on your personal research
journey, particularly people using the same research approach.
For, e.g., some types of IR research there is a thriving research
community within LIS and sometimes within individual
Departments. For others (given the broad spectrum of research
approaches which are employed across the whole LIS spectrum)
you ideally would want to seek out fellow researchers elsewhere,
anyway. Being a distance learner might push/encourage you to get
"out there" that bit earlier. From that perspective, if you are able to
identify a research community for that research approach
internationally and engage in virtual and preferably face to face
discussion (at conferences and seminars), this may exteremely
valuable.

My feelings are that a mature PhD student may actually have the
confidence to engage in this dialogue at an earlier stage, and also
have have more command of resources (possibly!) to fund (or get
funding for) attending research seminars etc. Also, having to
explain and justify your research to interested fellow-practitioners
back home can be very valuable & motivating.

I think more difficult things, if you are not resident in the research
environment of an academic department, include maintaining
patience and determination in refining your research question
(when perhaps colleages keep saying "haven't you started
collecting your data yet!"), and shedding accumulated baggage of
assumptions & pet theories.

I started listing a few other things, but then deleted them as I
thought they were issues which are challenging whether you are
based at home or in a department. Opportunities for debate and
exchange may be more easily engineered when you are full time in
a Department, but wherever you are, you have to be willing to
engage, reflect, learn and develop. Well, actually I think all
participants in education (teachers, learners and researchers) have
to be willing to engage, reflect, learn and develop ;-)

As a final observation, there seems to have been an increase in
interest in research study from UK librarians in the area I'm
interested in (pedagogy for information literacy), perhaps an
example of the cross-disciplinary aspect that I think has already
been mentioned.

Sheila
---------------------
Sheila Webber, Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Studies,
University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 211 Portobello Street,
Sheffield S1
4DP, UK.
Email s.webber[at]sheffield.ac.uk
Tel. (0044) 0114 222 2641
Fax 0114 278 0300
The Information Literacy Weblog: http://ciquest.shef.ac.uk/infolit/
_____________________________________________________________________

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