ALA Accreditation

As of January 2017, the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree is Fully Accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).

Update January 24, 2017

We are pleased to announce that the American Library Association’s (ALA) Committee on Accreditation has granted full accreditation status to our Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program. Conditional accreditation status has been lifted and the next comprehensive review of the program is scheduled for fall 2023.

The School would like to say thank you to those who extended support and remained strong advocates of the MLIS program throughout this process.


Accreditation Update: November 24, 2016

The External Review Panel is now complete. We enjoyed hosting the dedicated members of the panel, and would like to thank the staff, faculty, students, and community members who supported the visit.

Results of the accreditation review will be communicated to us at the end of January 2017.

Accreditation Update: October 24, 2016

On October 1, we submitted our final Self-Study Report to the Committee on Accreditation and to members of the External Review Panel.  Over the summer we submitted an initial draft report and we incorporated feedback on the draft in the final report.  Arrangements for the External Review Panel visit are in the final stages, and we look forward to hosting the panel on November 14-15.  We expect to receive a decision on the accreditation status of the MLIS program in January.

The Self Study Report is available here: UBC iSchool Self Study Plan_October 1

Accreditation Update: February 12, 2016

Since our last update, we submitted two reports to COA: A Self Study Plan (October 2015) in preparation for the Program Presentation Report that is due in the summer of 2016; and Status Report on Conditional Status (December 2015).  We have also finalized the scheduling of the External Review Panel (ERP) visit for November 14-15, 2016.  Both reports are attached here.  We received feedback on the Self Study Outline via a phone conversation with our ERP Chair and Karen O’Brien, Director of the Office for Accreditation.  We were encouraged to include in the Program Presentation specific examples of how the Learning Outcomes Assessment Program has influenced decisions and strategic planning in the School.  We received notification that we will receive feedback on our December report in April 2016, after the COA meets.

Self Study Plan is available here: UBC iSchool Self Study Plan
UBC iSchool Status Report on Conditional Status: UBC iSchool Status Report

Accreditation Update: May 08, 2015

In March 2015, we submitted a status report to the ALA Committee on Accreditation regarding our current work in addressing learning outcomes assessment. At that time we also asked for further information on what was holding up removal of the conditional accreditation status. The response from CoA remarks only that “There are no requests for additional information regarding these reports”, and that the next report in December 2015 “Continue to update the COA on collection of assessment data and use of the data in the program’s planning and decision-making processes.” The letter also notes that “No motion was made to remove the Conditional accreditation status.”

UBC Cover Letter to the ALA-COA is available here: UBC Cover Letter to ALA-COA
UBC iSchool Conditional Status Progress Report: UBC Status Report
Response letter to status report from the ALA-COA is available here: Response letter from ALA-COA

Accreditation Update: November 25, 2014

We are pleased to report that, following our November 21st meeting with ALA-CoA, our “Plan for Removal of Conditional Status” for the MLIS program was positively received by the committee, and they have officially accepted our Plan. That document outlined the major changes we have made over the last year to implement a comprehensive learning outcomes assessment for the MLIS program. We are pleased with this outcome and are continuing to put full effort toward removal of the conditional status.

The full text of the Plan as submitted to the ALA-COA is available here: UBC iSchool Plan
Letter of Support from the Dean of Arts, Professor Gage Averill: Letter of Support
The letter from the ALA-COA indicating acceptance of the plan is available here: British Columbia Plan Accepted

Accreditation Update: November 12, 2014

On October 1, 2014, the iSchool working group on accreditation – Director Caroline Haythornthwaite, Associate Director Luanne Freund, and Assistant Professor Eric Meyers – completed the Report to COA for Removal of the Conditional Accreditation Status for the MLIS program. The report outlines the iSchool’s plan as required by the COA, details the actions taken and in progress that address concerns about compliance with ALA Standards. Major sections address the areas of concern as outline by COA, and the general framework for learning outcomes assessment at the school. At time of writing, we have already carried out many of the actions required to address COA’s concerns, with further steps in progress that enact a continuous learning outcomes assessment program. We have established a systematic, broad‐based and ongoing evaluation process focused on the iSchool’s mission and with program and course level objectives expressed in the form of student learning outcomes. This evaluation program provides input to a planned multi‐year cycle of review within the iSchool. On November 21, 2014, members of the working group and an Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts are meeting with the ALA COA in Chicago to discuss the plan. Further updates will follow.

 Accreditation Update: April 18, 2014

The iSchool has engaged the services of Tom Delsey, formerly of Library and Archives Canada and now an Adjunct Professor at the University or Ottawa, as a consultant. Dr. Delsey will work with the iSchool to review the School’s accreditation documentation and current learning outcomes documentation and practice to advise on addressing ALA/COA concerns. Dr. Delsey will also be working with the school to recommend ways to strengthen the program planning and evaluation processes and help in planning a systematic, broad-based planning process for school programs. While our focus in the near term is on addressing ALA/COA’s concerns in relation to the MLIS degree, outcomes assessment processes will be implemented for all professional programs at the School (i.e., for the MAS and dual degree programs).

Working with the Director on the accreditation process will be Assistant Professors Luanne Freund and Eric Meyers. Assistant Professor Freund’s role is MLIS Program Accreditation Lead with primary responsibility for writing the required ALA accreditation documentation due to ALA October 1, 2014. Assistant Professor Meyers will be the Learning Outcomes Assessment Lead, responsible for documentation and procedures across the school as a whole. He will work to tailor implementation recommendations from Dr. Delsey for the iSchool as a whole. In this role he will also work closely with the Director and Assistant Professor Freund in preparing the required accreditation documentation.

Notification of Accreditation Status


The Master of Library and Information Studies degree at SLAIS, The iSchool at UBC, has been granted a three-year extension of its accreditation status (2014-2017) by the American Library Association’s Committee on Accreditation (ALA-COA). This is also known as conditional accreditation status. Although this is not a decision granting the longer seven-year accreditation cycle, it affirms full accreditation for the degree and all students who receive an MLIS degree from UBC during those three years and up to two years after.

The decision by ALA-COA to apply this status reflects a request for further progress on learning outcomes assessment. We have been working diligently over the past two years to implement learning outcomes assessment measures that comply with the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. We are fully confident that we will soon be able to report to ALA-COA in a manner that both demonstrates our implementation of measures for learning outcomes assessment and satisfies the committee that we are in compliance with the Standards.  Notwithstanding the need for reporting, we are committed to moving forward on all aspects of learning outcomes assessment, and continue to be dedicated to providing the best education and outcomes for our students.

The next program review for the MLIS degree is scheduled for Fall 2016 leading to an accreditation decision to be made in January 2017. Students enrolled in the program during this review period who successfully complete their program before Summer 2019 will automatically earn an ALA-accredited MLIS degree. The status of the degree that students earn who enter in or after Fall 2019 will depend upon the decision made at the COA meeting in January 2017.

SLAIS Program Presentation 2013

COA External Review Panel Report – November 2013

Letter from Committee on Accreditation

As of 2014, the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree is Conditionally Accredited by the American Library Association (ALA), after having been fully and continuously accredited since 1963.

As a result of the ALA accreditation review in 2013, the MLIS program was granted accreditation with Conditional status: a three-year period to address improvements needed. Our next accreditation visit to verify implemented improvements is scheduled this fall for November 14-15.  Under Conditional status, the MLIS degree remains accredited– all degrees conferred are accredited.  The accredited status of the MLIS degree will remain in place until the end of 2018, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming review.