Chapter 4 – Standard IV: Students


As stated on the school’s website, “[t]he GSLIS serves the general public, students, employers, the university, and other stakeholders through its various programs in library and information studies.” (Appendix IV.1) This mission guides all of the school’s policies and activities related to the composition of, and relationships with its student body.  The school’s mission with respect to its students is operationalized in its Organizational Goals and Objectives, as stated below.

GSLIS Organizational Goal 4 (Related to ALA Standard IV)


4.1.      Develop effective policies for diversity recruitment.

4.2.      Support services for diverse student needs.

4.3.      Provide support for student travel to professional organizations.

4.4.      GSLIS provides support to student associations and their functions.

4.5.      Student representation on faculty committees and advisory boards.

This chapter discusses how the GSLIS is achieving these goals and objectives, demonstrating our compliance with ALA requirements for Standard IV.

Standard IV.1

Standard IV.1

The school formulates recruitment, admission, financial aid, placement, and other academic and administrative policies for students that are consistent with the school's mission and program goals and objectives; the policies reflect the needs and values of the constituencies served by a program. The school has policies to recruit and retain students who reflect the diversity of North America’s communities. The composition of the student body is such that it fosters a learning environment consistent with the school's mission and program goals and objectives.

GSLIS Program Overview and Student Profile

 “The GSLIS prepares graduates for employment and service in a diverse, global and rapidly changing information society now and the future. Graduates of the GSLIS are able to demonstrate appropriate competencies and to articulate ethical values as defined by LIS professional organizations, and other stakeholder communities”.  With this Program Goal, the GSLIS offers a 36 credit Master of Library Science (MLS) degree in which students may pursue certificates in Children and Young Adult Services in Public Libraries, and Archives and Preservation of Cultural Materials; and, in which certified and non-certified teachers may pursue New York State certification as Library School Media Specialists. The school also offers a 30 credit Certificate in Post-master's Studies in Librarianship (Appendix IV.2).

Appendix IV.17 presents ALISE trend data which illustrate total course enrollment for spring 2014, by individual courses and by program code. There were a total of 482 course enrollments in GSLIS, with 86% of these course seats represented by students enrolled in the general MLS program (program code 602), which includes the certificate programs in Children & Young Adults, and Archives & Preservation; with just under 10% of course enrollments represented by one of the School Library Media Specialist certification programs for certified and non-certified teachers (programs codes 604 and 606). The remaining student course enrollments reflect registration in the post-master’s Certificate in Library Science and non-degree student enrollment (program code 950).

Data in Appendix IV.6 also show that total student enrollment in the GSLIS has been trending downward since 2010, a pattern reflected in all of the MLS programs in New York City. In 2013, overall, GSLIS had a head count of 326, with 80% (260) of these students attending part time. In spring 2014, GSLIS total head count was 300 with FTE of 192.

GSLIS is the only publicly supported institution in the greater NYC region that offers a program leading to a Master’s Degree in Library Science. Private schools in the geographic area that offer MLS programs are unaffordable for many of our students. The current economic downturn exacerbates the financial problem for many potential students. Thus, GSLIS enables many potential students in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties to pursue this career path when it otherwise would not be an option for them.

GSLIS is a commuter school and students are largely working adults, who attend our school on a part-time basis, with full time students making up 20% of the total student population in fall 2013.

Table IV.1 (next page) shows the rate at which GSLIS students progress through the program, using fall 2013 data as an example. This table shows that just over one-third (36.84%) of students graduated within two years, 84% within three years and over 95% of GSLIS students graduated within four years. Considering the largely part time makeup of the GSLIS student body, this graduation rate is satisfactory.


Number of students who graduated in 2013 Fall (i.e., 2014 Feb) :


Number of Active Students fall 2013:


Number of students who have been in the program for 2 years or less:


No. of students who have been in the program more than 2 years but less than 4 years:


Number of students who have been in the program for 4 or more years:


Number of  students graduated:


Number of students graduated within 4 years:

55 (96.49%)

Number of students graduated within 3 years:

48 (84.21%)

Number of students graduated within 2 years:

41 (71.93%)

 Table IV.1 Student Progression and Graduation Data (2014 Fall)

Student Diversity

Queens College is situated in Queens County, the geographic equivalent of the Borough of Queens, which is considered to be the most ethnically diverse county in the United States (perhaps the world) (Appendix IV.4). Queens College prides itself on its diversity (Appendix IV.5 ). While the GSLIS does not have a recruitment policy specifically geared toward recruiting and retaining diversity, the unique nature of the population in Queens County, the four other counties that comprise New York City and the counties that adjoin the City’s five counties (boroughs) is such that a diverse population is reached by regular recruitment methods. ALISE trend data (Appendix IV.7), show that GSLIS is ranked #4 in percentage of minority enrollment among total ALA accredited institutions in 2013. Removing the University of Puerto Rico, which has 100% minority enrollment, GSLIS (34.66%) is ranked 3rd. GSLIS commitment to diversity is longstanding. Table IV.1, based on the data of Appendix IV.7, compares the 5-year minority enrollment data of GSLIS to that of other Schools of Library and Information Science in the New York City metropolitan area.







Queens College

Total ALA (head count) Masters Students






ALA minority enrollment











Pratt Institute

Total ALA (head count) Masters Students






ALA minority enrollment











St John’s University

Total ALA (head count) Masters Students






ALA minority enrollment











Long Island University

Total ALA (head count) Masters Students






ALA minority enrollment











Table IV.1. Comparison of GSLIS minority enrollment with other New York City area Schools of Library and Information Science: *There were reporting errors for 2010 and 2011; the correct data will be available at the time of the ERP site visit.

From the data in table VI.1, it is evident that GSLIS has been maintaining a high percentage of minority enrollment over the past 5 years as compared to other ALA-accredited schools in New York City. We therefore conclude that we are achieving Organizational Objective 4.1, and the related aspects of Standard IV.1

The GSLIS has offered a course in Multicultural Librarianship (LBSCI 775) for over 18 years. Additionally, we encourage and recognize student achievement in this area through one of the student awards given at Graduation (Appendix IV.8). Each year the Professor David Cohen Multicultural Award is given to the student who has produced significant work in this area of interest.

The student body is of diverse ages and backgrounds. It is not at all unusual for students to hold advanced degrees, including those in law and medicine. Students  come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, as well. We celebrate our diversity. The diversity of the GSLIS student body is reflective of, and complements, the diversity of interests and directions that our department supports, and that the field of library and information science encompasses.

Recruitment and Admission

Admission requirements are clearly stated in the Graduate Bulletin (Appendix IV.15) and posted on the GSLIS web site (Appendix IV.3).  The application process is conducted online, through the Office of Graduate Admissions. The GSLIS Graduate Advisor for Admissions is the primary faculty representative in the admissions process. In addition to other admission requirements, a meeting with the Director/Chair of the GSLIS, the Graduate Advisor, or a member of the GSLIS’s Admissions Committee is required before a decision on admission is made. (Appendix IV.16, Queens College Admissions Handouts, available on site). GSLIS is one of only a few departments in the College that mandate an interview as part of the admissions process..

 Formal recruitment efforts on behalf of all the graduate programs at Queens College are managed by the College’s Graduate Admissions Office (Appendix IV.13), which holds a Graduate Open House event each semester, However, the majority of inquiries are received directly by GSLIS through its website, and through phone calls and email messages directed to the Graduate Advisor for Admissions throughout the year. Recently, GSLIS took part in a Knowledge Alliance Essential Information event that took place at the Brooklyn Public Library on Saturday, May 31, 2014. The target audience for this event is undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented groups who are considering careers in librarianship.

Word-of-mouth recommendation is the most common means by which GSLIS students are recruited. Student admissions essays confirm that GSLIS alumni and employers are our most effective recruiters.

Responses to our recent Alumni Survey (April 2014, n=119) emphasized the affordability of the GSLIS program as a strength of the school. In response to a query about “What is the greatest strength in the program?”, in the “other” category, 12.6% of respondents mentioned some variation of cost, affordability or value for the money. This was by far the most common “other” comment received.  (In comparison, among pre-selected choices, faculty (31.9%), curriculum (22.7%) and student diversity (13.5) were the highest ranked choices. (Appendix IV.14)

Learning Environment

An appropriate student-faculty ratio is an important component of a supportive learning environment. Table IV.2, “Total FTE Enrollment-FTE Faculty Ratio” shows the generally satisfactory total FTE enrollment-FTE faculty ratio at GSLIS over the past seven years. The data in Table IV.2 are derived from Appendix IV.17, the ALISE data of trends over time for GSLIS.

Academic Year








FTE / Full-Time Faculty Ratio








Table IV.2 Total FTE Enrollment-Full-Time Faculty Ratio 2007-2013

In addition to regular teaching sessions, GSLIS provides opportunities for special programs for students, which take place during “Curriculum Space” periods, designated hours held during each semester. Professors also invite guest speakers to give talks on special topics of interest. The benefits of these efforts are clearly shown by our alumni survey results. One of the questions in the alumni survey of April 2014 is “What are the things you most value from your experiences at the QC GSLIS?” The survey results analysis shows that the top three answers are “exposure to all aspects of librarianship”, broad overview of current state of the field”, and “learning from practitioners.” (Appendix IV.14)

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid decisions are made on a college-wide level. Queens College participates in the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), sponsored by New York State, and several Federal programs, including Federal Work-Study. For graduate students, the major type of financial aid is loans. Details may be found at the Financial Aid page on the Queens College website (Appendix IV.18). Graduate tuition for New York State residents is $385.00 per credit (effective Summer 2014) and $405.00 per credit (effective Fall 2014), with out-of-state residents paying $710.00 per credit (effective Summer 2014) and $745.00 per credit (effective Fall 2014) (Appendix IV.19).

Until Spring semester 2014, only the modest H.W. Wilson Scholarships have been made available to students by the GSLIS, administered through the Committee on Admissions, Academic Standing and Student Affairs. Recently, GSLIS received a significant new source of student funding — The Ellen Libretto and Adam Conrad Scholarship Fund. This new scholarship fund is in memory of Ellen V. LiBretto, a Queens College GSLIS alumnus who dedicated her professional career to improving literacy among young adults. This fund will initially support one full and three partial scholarship awards in fall 2014 to Queens College students who wish to pursue a career advancing YA literacy.. The fund has just recently been renewed wi to support five additional scholarships in spring 2015.

A substantial number of students receive tuition reimbursement from their employers. The Queens Public Library, for example, supports several of their trainees in this manner, as do the Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library. Some students employed in the private sector and school districts are the recipients of tuition reimbursements to some degree.

Standard IV.2

Standard IV.2

Current, accurate, and easily accessible information on the school and its program is available to students and the general public. This information includes announcements of program goals and objectives, descriptions of curricula, information on faculty, admission requirements, availability of financial aid, criteria for evaluating student performance, assistance with placement, and other policies and procedures. The school demonstrates that it has procedures to support these policies.

Accessibility of Information

Current, accurate and easily accessible information about the School and its programs is available in the Graduate Bulletin 2013- 2014 (Appendix IV.15) and on the Queens College/GSLIS website (Appendix IV.23). The Bulletin clearly states the GLSIS mission and goals, as well as admission requirements. It also includes minimum requirements for remaining in the program and for graduation. Brief course descriptions and a list of faculty are in the Bulletin as well. Requirements for our two certificate programs, Archives and the Preservation of Cultural Materials and Children and Young Adult Services in the Public Library, and for our Library Media Specialist Programs, are also listed in recently revised brochures, and posted on the GSLIS website (Appendix IV.23).

Detailed biographies of faculty can be found on the GSLIS website and among the items in the Orientation information packet distributed to all incoming students. Among the items in this packet is the GSLIS Student Handbook, also available on our website (Appendix IV.20) which repeats much of the broader information in the Bulletin and also includes more granular information about student life particular to GSLIS. Orientation is held twice a year; shortly before the beginning of each Fall and Spring semester.

Financial Aid decisions are made on a college-wide level. Details of available aid may be found on the Financial Aid Office website (Appendix IV.16).

Policies and procedures related to expectations for both students and faculty are found in the Graduate Bulletin (Appendix IV.15), Queens College Graduate Studies Handbook (Appendix IV.21), GSLIS Student Handbook (Appendix IV.20), and the Queens College Adjunct Handbook (Appendix IV.22). Additional information may be found on the GSLIS website as well (Appendix IV.23). Specific time-sensitive procedures are also posted on the student listserv, GLISANN (Appendix IV.24). This list posts a great deal of information of general interest relating to library and information studies. It also functions as the outreach to alumni who often stay on the list after their graduation.

 The placement office at Queens College does not include assistance to graduate students in any of its programs. However, the QC Office of Career Development and Internships, while primarily geared to undergraduate students, offers numerous valuable resources on its website, including interview tips, a guide to writing resumes and cover letters, and other support materials (Appendix IV.25).

There are no formal placement policies for GSLIS students, however, faculty facilitate placement actively and informally. Nearly all are active in one or more library or related associations, whose membership meets locally. Faculty frequently attend activities with students, help them make appropriate connections, and encourage networking through participation in various professional venues. These include workshops and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) hosted by METRO (the Metropolitan New York Library Council: ), and LILRC, (the Long Island Library Resources Council: The New York Metropolitan Area contains many libraries and information intensive workplaces that seek to hire students with a completed MLS. Further, in light of the challenging economic environment, numerous local organizations have held events and workshops designed to assist new job-seekers.

GSLIS maintains an active listserv, GSLISJOBS, which lists position announcements sent to the GSLIS and/or posted by faculty from their contacts (Appendix IV.24). Many alumni subscribe to this listserv as well, for assistance in identifying positions for which they might apply. In addition, once a year, we hold an event for students called Career Day which features recruiters and employers, including representatives from the major public library systems in the area.

Standard IV.3

Standard IV.3

Standards for admission are applied consistently. Students admitted to a program have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution; the policies and procedures for waiving any admission standard or academic prerequisite are stated clearly and applied consistently. Assessment of an application is based on a combined evaluation of academic, intellectual, and other qualifications as they relate to the constituencies served by a program, a program's goals and objectives, and the career objectives of the individual. Within the framework of institutional policy and programs, the admission policy for a program ensures that applicants possess sufficient interest, aptitude, and qualifications to enable successful completion of a program and subsequent contribution to the field

Admissions Standards

The GSLIS admission standards are clearly indicated and widely available in the documents referred to above, in particular, at the section on Admission Policies and Procedures of the GSLIS description in the Queens College Graduate Bulletin (Appendix IV.15).

All students, whether matriculated or non-matriculated, must have earned a bachelor's degree. Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater are automatically considered for admission. Those with less than 3.0 may be required to take the GRE at the discretion of the Graduate Advisor for Admissions, unless they already have a post-graduate degree.  Applicants whose first language is not English are required to attain a score of 100 or better on the TOEFL examination, to be considered for admission. Both the Graduate Advisor for Admissions and the Graduate Advisor for LMS make many routine admissions decisions for matriculated student applicants. They seek the advice of the full Committee on Academic Standards, Admissions and Student Affairs in other instances.

Students who fail to meet all the standards for admission may be given either conditional matriculated or non-matriculated status on the basis of policies and procedures for waiving the admission requirements, which may be found in the Queens College Graduate Bulletin (Appendix IV.15).

While the applicant's undergraduate GPA and/or advanced degree are important, the personal statement and reference letters included with their application, and meeting with the Graduate Advisor for Admissions or the Graduate Advisor for LMS, constitute "a combined evaluation of academic, intellectual, and other qualifications as they relate to the constituencies served by the program, a program's goals and objectives, and the career objectives of the individual". All applicants admitted, whether matriculated, conditionally matriculated or non-matriculated, are judged at the time of admission to have the potential to be able to complete the Program.  

Standard IV.4

Standard IV.4

Students construct coherent programs of study that allow individual needs, goals, and to aspirations be met within the context of program requirements established by the school. Students receive systematic, multifaceted evaluation of their achievements. Students have access to continuing opportunities for guidance, counseling, and placement assistance.

Student Program Planning and Advisement

All begin the GSLIS program by taking the four core courses; however, long range program planning is discussed at the beginning of the program. Program planning forms are kept in students’ files and updated every semester.

There are three Graduate Advisors at GSLIS; the Graduate Advisor for Admissions, the Graduate Advisor for Continuing Students and the Graduate Advisor for LMS and Coordinator of the LMS Programs. Their specific duties are described in (Appendix IV.26, Appendix IV.27, and Appendix IV.28). Their work includes, but is not limited to: counseling, guidance and assistance with admission; transfer; and, certification for graduation and other graduation issues. To accomplish this, the Graduate Advisors maintain connections and interact with other entities within and outside of the college. For instance, the Graduate Advisor for LMS works closely with the Education Unit and the Queens College Office of Teacher Certification.

Placement and Career Services

There is no formal placement office at the College or the GSLIS. The College, however, does maintain an Office of Career Development that will keep on file a credentials file for students who request this service. Representatives from this office have conducted both resume writing and interview workshops for the GSLIS student association, QCLISSA. Further, as mentioned above, the GSLIS provides opportunities for special programs for students, which take place during “Curriculum Space” periods. Many of these programs are career oriented and provide informational sharing opportunities for students as well as the opportunity to hear from speakers and practitioners from the field of library and information science. 

Assessment of Students’ Readiness for Professional Positions

As part of the effort to assess the success of our students, practitioners are surveyed about their impressions of our graduates on a regular basis. This also gives us a rough measure of our effectiveness in preparing them for their careers. They are also asked to share what skill sets they would like to see in new employees and their suggestions on how GSLIS can better prepare its students to meet the needs of 21st century information professionals. Their responses help to better guide GSLIS students in getting ready for their future careers (Appendix IV.31). In March and May 2014 GSLIS met with the CUNY Council of Chief Librarians, an important employer community, to take stock of their assessment of our students. The greatest consensus among these chief librarians was that graduates need to come out of the GSLIS program with greater knowledge about using technology to teach; about digital technologies in general; and about how to work with vendors. Suggestions were made for GSLIS to offer professional development workshops in these areas. It was observed that internships offered by CUNY libraries were not frequently responded to by GSLIS students and, finally, suggestions were made for GSLIS to offer more courses in Manhattan and other locations outside of Queens, which is frequently perceived to be inconveniently located.)

In reply to students’ queries, GSLIS recently initiated an annual presentation on civil service procedures in Nassau and Suffolk Counties for students interested in working in those public library systems.

Standard IV.5

Standard IV.5

The school provides an environment that fosters student participation in the definition and determination of the total learning experience. Students are provided with opportunities to form student organizations and to participate in the formulation, modification, and implementation of policies affecting academic and student affairs.

Student Participation in the GSLIS, QC and CUNY Communities

GSLIS maintains a supportive environment for the student body. Student representatives are invited to attend GSLIS faculty meetings and GSLIS Curriculum/Ed Tech Committee meetings to discuss problems that arise among the students. Students also participate in the governance of the college, serving on Queens College Academic Senate Committees (Appendix IV.29). One Post-Master’s Certificate student, Mark Alpert, who acted as the graduate student representative for Social Science, chaired one of its major standing committees, the Graduate Scholastic Standards Committee, from Fall 2009 to Fall 2011; another GSLIS student served on the Search and Review Committee for the Chief Librarian in 2011

There are two student groups currently active at the GSLIS, the Library and Information Studies Student Association (LISSA) and the student chapter of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). Queens College provides funds for both of these student groups.

LISSA also functions as an American Library Association Student Chapter (Appendix IV.30) whose objective is to provide opportunities for professional development for current and future library and information science professionals. LISSA sponsors and arranges trips, guest speakers and other events, and represents the students to the faculty. The group is an active body, and the faculty advisor is the Director/Chair of the GSLIS. LISSA arranges the reception for our graduates after Spring Commencement exercises, and an annual trip to visit the Library of Congress. LISSA also maintains a Facebook group page.

Students are advised to take advantage of student memberships in the American Library Association, as well as professional organizations such Association for Information Science & Technology, Special Library Association and Public Library Association. Our students are encouraged to join LACUNY (Library Association of CUNY) as well (  LACUNY is also increasing its outreach to our students and a representative from this organization appears at the orientations for new students. Information about LACUNY is posted on the GSLIS website. Support for student travel to professional organizations is available on an ad hoc basis and requests pass through the departmental P&B Committee.

Standard IV.6

Standard IV.6

The school applies the results of evaluation of student achievement to program development. Procedures are established for systematic evaluation of the degree to which a program's academic and administrative policies and activities regarding students are accomplishing its objectives. Within applicable institutional policies, faculty, students, staff, and others are involved in the evaluation process.

Student Achievement and Program Development

GSLIS aims at systematic, multifaceted evaluation of students’ achievements. “We have been developing better ways to evaluate student achievement of student learning outcomes at the level of students” (See Standard 1.3 under GSLIS Program Goals and Objectives in Chapter 1). By evaluation we refer to both traditional assignment of grades and to ongoing comments from faculty in response to assignments, projects, class discussion and so on. These evaluation mechanisms can be understood as formative evaluation. Summative evaluation is also performed through various mechanisms, e.g. ePortfolios (See Chapter 2, Section on Standard II.7).

In keeping with CUNY and Queens College policy, letter grades are assigned as evaluation of student performance in courses at the GSLIS. Their numerical equivalents are found in the Graduate Bulletin (Appendix IV.15). Overall criteria for grading and methods of evaluation are clearly stated in each course syllabus (Appendix IV.10)

Much of the qualitative evaluation of student achievement that prompts changes in the GSLIS programs arises in the context of curricular review. In the monthly meetings of the Curriculum Committee, courses and program components are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Changes and innovations are based upon informal faculty and student input, including indirect feedback during advisement. Analysis of the annual Graduate Exit Interviews, Alumni Survey results, and input from the GSLIS Alumni, Employer, and Community Advisory Board also provide systematic evidence regarding the degree to which the program’s policies and activities serve to support students’ success in meeting the School’s objectives (Appendix IV.12, Appendix IV.32 and Appendix IV.33). We are also considering asking graduating students to write a reflective essay on what they have learned and what they propose to be added to and improved of our programs.

Institutional course evaluations include questions about each course taught that semester, independent of the faculty who teach them, as well as responses relating to the specific course instructor (Appendix IV.11). These results provide useful comparative feedback across course sections and within the various strands of the program. Individual instructors are encouraged to read students’ comments in the course evaluations, based on which they are expected to consider improving their teaching of the courses. Appendix III.23 presents detailed course evaluations for all full time and adjunct faculty from 2010 forward.

As part of our ongoing assessment for the improvement of our program, we have been making efforts to elicit students’ comments and suggestions at the individual course level (in addition to the institution-wide course evaluations). An example of these efforts was the administration of a student-initiated online survey in Spring 2011 soliciting perceptions about LBSCI 700, Introduction to Technology (Appendix IV.9). Difficulties with this course relate to varying levels of students’ technology skills; some younger students are extremely tech-savvy, while other students are technophobes needing remedial help. Following the analysis of the survey results, a meeting of the Technology and Curriculum Committees was held to incorporate this essential student feedback to begin the process of redesigning this key core course.


The evidence provided in this chapter demonstrates that the GSLIS is meeting its Program and Organizational Goals and Objectives as they relate to the student body; its recruitment, composition, support and involvement. In meeting these Goals and Objectives, the evidence also demonstrates that the GSLIS successfully responds to, and meets, the various elements of ALA Standard IV.

GSLIS strives to be a student-centered institution. Students are our most important stakeholder group and the school attempts to incorporate student input, from both current and former students, into major decision making activities. As discussed in Chapter 3, student evaluation of courses and instructors is an important source of feedback in faculty evaluation. We have given examples throughout this Program Presentation of the ongoing collection and use of feedback from current students and alumni, especially through our web based surveys.

The part time makeup of our student body makes it difficult to engage students in faculty meetings, which mostly take place outside of class time periods. However, in 2014 we are encouraging virtual participation in our faculty committee meetings. Future plans for GSLIS include the formation of a student advisory board that will play an active role in assessment and formation of plans for future directions for the GSLIS.

As shown in Table IV.1 and Appendix IV.17, student enrollment in GSLIS programs has been in decline in the past few years. This is clearly due, at least in part, to general economic conditions, and is reflected in the enrollment data for other New York metropolitan area LIS programs. GSLIS is planning ways in which to address this drop, including such initiatives such as the joint MLS/MA in History degree program, participation in a Queens College-wide data science program, and collaboration with Baruch College of CUNY in some programs. However, this trend remains a significant problem, which will require further steps on the part of GSLIS.