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Strategic Plan 2021

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2021-2027 Strategic Plan Overview

Approved by SLIS Faculty Vote on August 20, 2021

Strategic Directions:

Support and Promote Excellence, Inclusion, and Innovation in Education for the Information Professions

Become a Strong, Sustainable, and Inclusive Intellectual Center for Research, Practice, and Applications Involving the Organization and Uses of Knowledge, Information, and Data

Expand Community Understanding and Engagement Through Impactful Informational Initiatives

 

Introduction to the Strategic Plan

Since 2016, our vision has been to transform our program beyond its current status as an American Library Association-accredited library school into a school of information (iSchool) with a much broader vision of leadership within the information field, collaborating to create effective responses to strategic research opportunities, providing support for and solutions to shared challenges, and providing informed perspectives on matters of public policy as they affect the collection, organization, dissemination, use, and preservation of data and information. These efforts are intended to augment, not replace, our long-standing commitment to the library and archival professions.

Our graduates include the chief executive officers of all nine public library systems in Oklahoma, with a tenth graduate currently serving as the State Librarian of Oklahoma, as well as recent graduates employed across the country. We also have a robust undergraduate degree program with a strong job placement rate and an emerging doctoral program with an international student cohort.

Our current faculty expertise includes research on access to health information, archives and human rights, assessment of school library policies and standards, bibliometric applications, critical information theories, cybersecurity, data analytics, development of user-centered digital libraries, health informatics, human factors in information retrieval, library innovation, machine learning, makerspace development, public libraries and community needs, social factors in the organization of information, text mining, and youth sociotechnical interactions in learning environments.

Our faculty publish in and edit a wide variety of peer-reviewed journals, collaborate, and are affiliated with a number of internal and external organizations, and are involved in research endeavors sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, HathiTrust, the Institute for Museum & Library Services, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, etc. However, to date these efforts have been the result of intensive individual faculty efforts, and there has been little opportunity to build a substantive and enduring research culture and research infrastructure. As we build our doctoral program, this research culture and research infrastructure are becoming essential to our growth as a unit.

Strategic Directions: Growth and Alignment

As stated in our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, our strategic directions have been to:

Reaffirm our continued commitment to excellence in education for libraries and archives

Strengthen and expand our focus on information/data science

Become an iSchool by 2025

Expand our community engagement initiatives through research, teaching, and practice

Based on this past year’s extensive discussions in committee and faculty meetings, as well as a series of interviews, focus groups, and surveys with various stakeholders including employers, alumni, and students, a comprehensive review of similar programs at peer and aspirational schools in our disciplinary areas, conversations with accreditation bodies, and briefings from University of Oklahoma and College of Arts & Sciences administrators, we believe that we are now within reach of our current goals and are ready to initiate a new strategic plan for the next 7 years.

Our intent is to build on our existing strengths by growing our enrollment and our faculty, by bolstering our capacity for strategic collaborations inside and outside the University, and by expanding our diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives considerably beyond our current community-focused efforts. This requires extending our earlier strategic directions to encompass the following goals for our unit, which are to:

Support and Promote Excellence, Inclusion, and Innovation in Education for the Information Professions

Become a Strong, Sustainable, and Inclusive Intellectual Center for Research, Practice, and Applications Involving the Organization and Uses of Knowledge, Information, and Data

Expand Community Understanding and Engagement Through Impactful Informational Initiatives

These three strategic directions or goals align with the University of Oklahoma’s “Lead On, University” Four Pillars as follows:

i: Become a Top-Tier Public Research University

ii: Prepare Students for a Life of Success, Meaning, Service, & Positive Impact

iii: Make OU’s Excellence Affordable & Attainable

iv: Become a Place of Belonging & Emotional Growth for All Students, Faculty, Staff, & Alumni

Our second goal also aligns with the Office of the Vice President for Research & Partnerships' Strategic Framework for Enhanced Research’s emphasis on convergence of knowledge and perspectives across disciplinary lines, especially in the Strategic Verticals iii. The Future of Health and iv. Society & Community Transformation as well as the Core Capabilities of Data Science/Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and Social Sciences & Humanities.

It also positions us to further develop collaborative research initiatives that address the College of Arts and Science’s strategic priorities, such as Data Science/Data Scholarship; Decision Making, Risk, and Crisis Management; Environment, Health, and Society; Native Peoples; and Public Humanities.

In addition, our goals conform to the following new Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) from the College of Arts & Sciences and can support relevant metrics for these:

i: Research/Scholarship/Creative Activity: Measuring faculty performance as an AAU-level aspiring public research university, + scale of research operations (e.g., postdoc and research faculty), scholarly publications & awards.

ii: Teaching and Mentorship: Measuring faculty performance in training our undergrad students.

iii: Undergraduate Education: Measuring success, e.g., through prestigious awards, time-to-degree, retention, diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.

iv: Graduate Education: Measuring graduate education success through prestigious awards, time-to-degree, retention, diversity, equity, inclusion.

This strategic plan is intended to serve as a living document for planning by the School and may be amended as circumstances require.