ALA Accreditation Update

By Lorna Peterson, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Accreditation Coordinator

The University at Buffalo Department of Library and Information Studies is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). It is on Conditional Status, a status awarded during its last review in spring 2006. From the ALA web site, conditional connotes: “a status assigned to a program that must make changes to comply with the 1992 Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies to enable accreditation beyond the date specified by the Committee on Accreditation (COA). Please note that these programs are fully accredited under the Standards.”

UB’s program did not sufficiently and systematically involve constituents of the program in its planning process since its 1998 review. Curriculum, students, and faculty were not areas of concerns although planning, space, physical facilities, and financial support were. The COA “is concerned with the totality of the accomplishment and the environment for learning. The decision regarding accreditation is approached from an evaluation of this totality rather than from a consideration of isolated particulars.”

Student role in the accreditation process…

The visiting team for the COA, called the External Review Panel or ERP, will be here March 26-27, 2009. The team will want to see examples of student work. Your instructors will be asking your permission to retain your work for ERP review. Students will also have the opportunity to attend an open session with the team where they will introduce themselves and the process. The team will also ask to interview students. Questions may concern advising, curriculum, extra-curricular and leadership, and other student issues. We welcome your participation in this process and hope that a wide section of the student body will be available for interviews. The following link may help to answer some of your questions:

Additional information on the ALA accreditation process

UB DLIS constituents have been kept up to date on the process through various professional electronic mailing lists. What follows is the text of that communication. We hope it proves helpful to our students. You are an important part of the process and your engagement in this activity is welcomed.

Our Program Presentation, or Self-Study, first draft is due November 26, 2008. The final draft is due February 12, 2009. Several of you on this mailing list are serving on our advisory board, ad hoc committees, Planning Steering Committee, or some other working group where you have direct interaction with our assessment and review activities.

The team, known as the External Panel Review (ERP) , will visit March 26-27, 2009. They will write and submit their draft report three weeks after the visit. Their final report is due April 30, 2009. Our Program Presentation and the ERP Report are read by the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA).

Along with other documentation, the COA will make its decision July 11, 2009.

The ERP and the COA are two separate groups. The team coming to visit is not made up of the same individuals who visited in 2006. To see the composition of the COA, please visit the ALA Office for Accreditation site:

Here is the roster for the Buffalo ERP:


Alumni Distinguished Professor

School of Information and Library Science

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

301 Manning Hall, CB# 3360, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3360

Ph: (919) 843-7883 Fax (919) 966-0510




Senior Project Manager.Office of Academic & Student Affairs

University of Colorado Denver

11397 E. Evans Avenue

Aurora, CO 80014

Ph: (303) 724-2120



System Director

Peninsula Library System

2771 Flores Street

San Mateo, CA 94403-2422

Ph: (650) 349-5089



Directrice des bibliotheques

McGill University

1250 Pine Avenue W. .#210

Montreal, Quebec CANADA QC H3G 2P5

Ph: (514) 845-2690



Assistant Professor .Darden College of Education

Old Dominion University

120 Dogwood Drive

Camden, VA 27921

Ph: (757) 683-6683



Associate Professor

Clarion University .Department of Library Science

840 Wood Street

Clarion, PA 16214

Ph: (814) 393-1815


The Committee on Accreditation (COA), is made up of 12 members appointed by the ALA President elect. Two members are public members who represent the general public, i.e., the library user. The public member represents a variety of backgrounds; currently, the public members are a physician from Brooklyn, NY and a university chancellor from Illinois.

Accreditation decisions require a quorum of at least 8 voting members of the COA and require an affirmative vote by at least 8 voting members of the COA.

A program on Conditional status is an accredited program. From the COA policies and procedures manual: conditional status is “a status assigned to a program that must make changes to comply with the 1992 Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies to enable accreditation beyond the date specified by the Committee on Accreditation (COA). Please note that these programs are fully accredited under the Standards.” Removal of conditional status is an accreditation decision and requires 8 “yes” votes. Programs that have recently earned Conditional Status twice in a row are Texas Women’s University and University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Two programs that have recently come off of Conditional Status are Emporia State University and Dominican University.

Here is a url to the directory of ALA accredited programs in the US and


Viewing other ALA accredited programs can provide insight in how alumni, employers, and friends, are involved in library and information science education.

To view sample Program Presentations, see:

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One thought on “ALA Accreditation Update

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