Introduction to the IS 591 Practicum
Welcome to the IS 591 Practicum course! This course is designed to give students the opportunity to gain experience in a type of library/information organization of their choice by performing professional tasks under the guidance of an experienced LIS professional. Reciprocally, it also provides an opportunity for information professionals to teach, train, and mentor new entrants to the IS field as they perform their duties at the work site. The Practicum course entails at least 100 hours of fieldwork experience that is guided by the learning outcomes developed collaboratively by the Site Supervisor and student.
Working With Faculty/Staff
The Practicum Coordinator is available to assist you throughout the Practicum process. If you have an interest in obtaining a Practicum student, questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact the Practicum Coordinator:
Rebecca Hodson, Practicum Coordinator
School of Information Sciences
501 East Daniel Street MC-493
Champaign IL 61820
Telephone (217) 300-2254
Email: rhodson1 [at] illinois.edu
The Practicum Faculty Advisor - In addition to the Practicum Coordinator, you may also communicate with the student's Practicum Faculty Advisor. The Faculty Advisor is a member of the faculty or staff who has experience or expertise in the area of the student's Practicum field work. The Faculty Advisor will give final approval to the student's Practicum Contract. The Faculty Advisor will also assign the student's final grade for the Practicum, based on your evaluation of the student's work and the course assignments submitted by the student. The Practicum Contract and Supervisor Evaluation are described below.
Obtaining a Practicum Student
There are two ways to obtain a Practicum student: 1) the Practicum student may approach you to discuss and explore Practicum possibilities, or 2) you may submit a Practicum announcement to the Practicum Coordinator for posting to the iSchool's student job board. If you would like to post the availability of a Practicum, please e-mail a description of your organization, the work, and the student background required to the Practicum Coordinator.
Supervising a Practicum Student
Once you have obtained a Practicum student, you will undertake the responsibilities described below.
- Practicum Contract – Site Supervisors will work directly with the student in order to develop appropriate learning outcomes for the Practicum experience. The student will outline the practicum experience and detail the learning outcomes in the Practicum Contract. It is the student's responsibility to author the contract, obtain your approval via email, and submit the contract to the Practicum Coordinator.
- Scheduling – Work with the student to establish a mutually beneficial work schedule.
- Accommodation - Make arrangements at the site for space, equipment, supplies, etc. needed by the student.
- Orientation/Train - Orient the student to the site and personnel, organizational structure of the agency and the professional nature of the supervising librarian's responsibilities. Train the student on policies and duties as necessary.
- Supervision - Provide supervision and mentoring to the student.
- Meetings - Meet with the student regularly for discussion regarding the process and progress of the work experience.
- Communication - Provide information as necessary to the Practicum Faculty Advisor and/or the Practicum Coordinator.
- Performance Review – The student is required to meet with the Site Supervisor after at least 75 hours have been logged in order to discuss the student’s strengths and areas where they can improve. Students are required to submit a written summary of and reflection on this discussion by the end of the semester.
- Supervisor Evaluation – At the end of the Practicum, the Practicum Coordinator will request a written evaluation that assesses the student’s performance in the Practicum work. The student’s Practicum Faculty Advisor will consider this feedback when assigning the student’s grade.
Appreciation from the School: Tuition and Fee Waiver
The administration of the School greatly appreciates the contributions made by practicing professionals and organizations in sharing their expertise with its graduate students. As a token of this appreciation, we offer Tuition and Fee Waivers (TFW) to Site Supervisors and organizations. For individual Site Supervisors, the TFW enables the Site Supervisor to enroll full-time or part-time for one semester at the University of Illinois, on any of its three campuses.
Please contact the Practicum Coordinator if you are interested in using the Tuition and Fee Waiver. iSchool courses available to nondegree students are listed on the Nondegree Students page.
Tuition and fee waivers are provided under the following conditions:
- Supervise a student through the IS591 Practicum course.
- Maximum of one waiver can be earned per semester of supervision.
- TFW redeemable/valid one of three semesters after semester of supervision.
- Redeemable at any of the three U of I campuses, some academic programs may impose restrictions on TFWs. Individuals should inquire directly to the program of interest in order to determine if field supervisor waivers are accepted.