GSLIS launches its first spring LEEP cohort in over a decade

Twenty-nine GSLIS master’s students traveled to Champaign this month for the School’s first spring LEEP (online) cohort since 2001. The new spring admissions cycle allowed them to begin their studies in January, rather than waiting until the summer.

Students visited campus from January 3-9, 2013, traveling from as far away as Minnesota, New York, and Louisiana as well as from various locations in Illinois. While on campus, they completed the two-hour required course “LIS 502: Libraries, Information, and Society” and a number of noncredit technology workshops.

“The initial LEEP on-campus session is an important component of the overall LEEP program design,” said Linda Smith, GSLIS professor and associate dean for academic programs. “The intensive face-to-face time enables them to build connections with faculty, staff, and their fellow students that support the sense of community that continues throughout the program. By allowing students to begin study in January rather than having to wait until our regular July start date for LEEP students, we are making the online option of our M.S. program more accessible.”

GSLIS doctoral candidates and teaching assistants Sarah Roberts and Miriam Sweeney were part of the introductory “boot camp,” led by Professor and Dean Emerita Leigh Estabrook, which engaged students in a number of exercises, including the creation of word cloud focusing on their professional goals and visions. Both Roberts and Sweeney agreed that the experience was an intense but very positive one and forged strong connections among the students.

“We had students of all ages and career backgrounds. Each cohort has its own personality and group dynamic: this cohort was very laid back, despite the condensed time conditions that we were experimenting with. Instead of letting that be a source of anxiety, they met the challenge with enthusiasm and aplomb, which showed in their conversations and coursework,” said Sweeney. “It is always a privilege to get to know and work with the [LIS] 502 students—this cohort exceeded all of my expectations for the week in their thoughtfulness, level of participation, commitment to the course, and, of course, their sense of humor!”

Cheryl Ziegler, one of the students enrolled in LIS 502, had not been in a college classroom since graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 1975.

“I was thrilled to be accepted into the January cohort—thrilled and terrified,” said Zeigler. “If I had to characterize my boot-camp experience in a few words, they would be ‘shared passion’ and ‘a shared wish for success.’ These concepts were evident from the amazingly patient tech people to the outpouring of support from various people on staff. I have a solid foundation for the rest of my GSLIS studies, and I am grateful to be a part of the best LIS school in the country.”

Since its beginning in 1996, LEEP has been an innovative hybrid program that combines web-based education with brief periods of on-campus instruction. Sixteen years and over 1,000 graduates later, LEEP continues to stand out among its peers, offering access to one of the top-ranked LIS programs in the nation.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Summer Getaway to focus on media literacy

After a pandemic break, the iSchool is pleased to announce that the seventh annual Summer Getaway will be offered in person on June 10-11. Led by iSchool faculty/instructors/staff and school librarians, this professional development event offers a series of workshops focused on topics related to media literacy.

2022 Summer Getaway-Media Literacy

2021 Downs Intellectual Freedom Awards given to #FReadom Fighters and ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom staff

For libraries and librarians, 2021 was an especially challenging year in terms of the increase in attempts at censorship. According to the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges to library materials more than tripled from 2020 to 2021. In addition, current estimates show that 82 to 97 percent of challenges go unreported, suggesting that the total number of challenges are significantly greater.

#FReadom Fighter logo

iSchool launches new undergraduate degree in data science

In the Fall 2022 semester, the iSchool will offer a new degree, the Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences + Data Science (BS/IS+DS). The degree is part of a campus-wide partnership to provide interdisciplinary education in data science. It consists of a collaboration between the iSchool and other colleges, including the Gies College of Business, Computer Science Department in the Grainger College of Engineering, and the Department of Statistics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

iSchool Building

Hayden to deliver Windsor Lecture

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will deliver the 2022 Windsor Lecture on Thursday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m. The lecture, which is co-sponsored by the University Library and Center for Advanced Study, will be held via Zoom, and advance registration is required.

Carla Hayden