DEIA-AR-MMLIS: Introduction

MMLIS Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility and AntiRacism Statement

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism (DEIA+AR) 

The faculty and staff of the USC MMLIS program will actively participate in an ongoing commitment to DEIA+AR in our instructional design, pedagogical practices, and curricular and academic programming. This commitment to core beliefs and values will be evaluated and updated at the start of each academic year among the teaching faculty.

  • We understand that this is just the beginning of an enduring project to address structural inequalities in the education and professionalization of information professionals and future library leaders. We commit to strengthening our curriculum to better prepare our students for inclusive and anti-racist library leadership. We begin this journey by stating the following principles:
  • We recognize our place of privilege and power at the University and in our classroom.
  • We commit to making our curriculum more representative of the diverse communities we serve and teach. To this end, we will commit greater awareness of dominant points of view in the professional, pedagogical, and theoretical literature and in texts assigned for our courses.
  • We will strive to continuously assess our administrative, curricular, pedagogical, programmatic, and scholarly practices, and to maintain an ongoing and open dialogue among faculty, staff, and students to ensure our activities support DEIA+AR.
  • We frame diversity within the discourse of currency and accountability. We believe diverse perspectives and experiences drive inquiry and intellectual growth. Therefore, we will strive to build a culture where difference is valued, and where all are empowered to connect, belong, and grow.

We recognize that we are not alone in our aspirations. In preparing this statement we relied on ideas expressed in the following USC documents:

2023 DEIA+AR Committee

A working group of Masters in Management of Library and Information Science (MMLIS) Library Faculty was formed to address diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and anti-racism (DEIA + AR) specifically in pedagogy and curriculum, resulting in actionable items and recommendations that will ensure the program is promoting diversity, equity, inclusive, accessible and anti-racist strategies, curriculum, resources and pedagogical practices in our classrooms.

The Working Group consists of five white-identified, cis-identified, educated, English-speaking, employed professors. Represented within the Working Group are non-traditional, transfer and first-generation college graduates from various socio-economic, religious and international backgrounds, as well as multilingual members.

Jade Winn, MLIS, EdD, Chair

Melissa Miller, MMLIS, EdD, Member

Caroline Muglia, MLIS, Ex-facto Member (Inaugural Chair)

Ruth Wallach, MLIS, PhD, Member

Ashley Temm, M.P.A, Member

 

 

 

 

History

The Working Group was formed after one of its faculty put out a call to the rest of the MMLIS instructors to determine interest in jump-starting a functional committee shortly after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

To further help  through the process, the Working Group reached out to the teaching faculty in the program. There are 21 members of part time faculty with various backgrounds and experiences, as well as three administrators, one of whom also teaches. The goal was to engage peers and create a space for a collaborative, critical and instructive examination of what was working and what could be improved in the program on the topics of DEIA+ AR.

The Working Group also engaged eight currently enrolled student volunteers with a specific interest in DEIA+ AR topics. These comprised the Student Advisory Committee (SAC). This was a group of students and new entrants into the profession offered the perspectives that the Working Group lacked. The Working Group had several touch points with the students including inviting them to our meetings. We also conducted two one-hour listening sessions with student focus groups. These sessions helped us understand what the students viewed as the strengths of the current program and opportunities to develop it into a more inclusive learning environment.

The Working Group sought out student voices through the SAC and perspectives from our peers in the MMLIS program to ensure that a diversity of viewpoints would be represented not only in the final deliverables, but also in the development process as well.