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. Initially adopted by the MMLIS faculty in April 2021, this commitment statement will be evaluated and updated at the start of each academic year among the teaching faculty and will be continued as we welcome the inaugural class of 2024 to Bovard college.
We recognize that we are not alone in our aspirations. In preparing this statement we relied on ideas expressed in the following USC documents:
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.
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.