Hello Students, Alumni and Prospective Students,
By now, I’m sure you’re aware that Pratt SILS is now the Pratt School of Information. If you need to get caught up, you can read Dean Tula Giannini’s statement, and Provost Kirk Pillow’s announcement.
I wanted to take a moment and clarify SILSSA’s position within this change, and reach out to any of you who want to discuss what this change means for you, for the school, and for the future.
To start, SILSSA remains the student association for all students enrolled at the School of Information, as well as the official Student Chapter of the ALA for Pratt. We intend to retain the name and acronym SILSSA. This is the name that we are known by, both within Pratt and in the world at large, and because we continue to be officially associated with the ALA, we want to continue to represent libraries and library science within our name. As the School of Information expands, there may come a day when we need to reevaluate the scope and/or name of our group, but for now, we remain SILSSA.
Secondly, I know that a lot of people have questions about what the name change means for the school, for their degree, and for ALA accreditation. As per the Dean, the School of Information will continue to offer the MSLIS degree, and that degree will continue to be accredited by the American Library Association.
Currently, the School of Information offers two Master’s degrees: the MSLIS and MS in Museums and Digital Culture, as well as the dual-degree programs. There are plans to offer other degrees in the future, and it is my understanding that this planned expansion is what predicated the change of name.
Becoming the School of Information is a change that was made behind closed doors. Many students and alumni did not know that this was being considered, and our input was not sought. It is also a change that has caught many people off guard, considering the quick turnaround time between the announcement (Thursday, October 1) and the official change itself (Monday, October 5).
I have spoken to a number of student and alumni who have concerns not only about the removal of “Library Science” from our name, but also about the manner in which this decision was made and announced to our community. SILSSA would like to give you an opportunity to discuss these changes, our position within the world of LIS education, and the future of the field.
We are in the early stages of planning a town hall-style event where students, alumni and other concerned parties can come together to discuss these issues, so keep an eye out for further announcements. If you are interested in participating or helping to plan this event, please get in touch with us.
If you have questions or comments, whether for SILSSA, the School of Information administration, faculty or the Dean, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or me directly at email@example.com. Or, if you would like to remain anonymous, you can leave a comment though the google form we’ve set up for this purpose.
I look forward to hearing from you, and to continuing the dialog around this topic,
Sarah Hackney, SILSSA President