Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why’d Middle States Go and Do That?

Those of us who work for colleges and universities in the
mid-Atlantic region were taken by surprise when the word suddenly spread
that a draft revision of the Characteristics of Excellence,
the primary set of standards for higher education accreditation
published by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
now omitted any reference to the library or information literacy as a
learning outcome. The surprise was followed by shock for good reason.

MSCHE has been a good friend to academic librarians. It was an early
adopter of specific language in its standards addressing information
literacy as a desired learning outcome. This was a departure from
earlier standards that only spoke mostly to the physical qualities of
the academic library (e.g., Did it have adequate study carrels? Were the
hours adequate for the institution? Were there librarians available to
provide research help?). When the 2002 edition of the MSCHE standards
were adopted it was a quantum leap ahead for information literacy in
higher education.
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