Friday, August 28, 2009

What can you do with a Master of Science in Information?

The Master of Science in Information (MSI) is also commonly known as the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). It is the terminal practice degree for librarians and other information professionals. The American Library Association (ALA) is the accrediting body that oversees library schools. The 21st-century librarian must have technological skills (including social media) and find/organize information in myriad ways (i.e., Google, online journals, newspapers, geographic information systems, bibliographic software, etc.). One must understand trends in media, technology, and publishing to succeed in this profession.

U.S. News highlighted several information-related jobs in its best careers 2009 list. They were librarian, usability experience specialist, and computer systems analyst/architect/designer.

Similar to my earlier post about the MSW degree, the field of librarianship is also expanding into non-traditional fields. Information professionals work in the following industries:

  • Academic Libraries
  • School Libraries and Media Centers
  • Public Libraries
  • Special Libraries and Information Centers*
  • Information Systems/Technology
  • Information Services*
  • Electronic Publishing

Denotes my industry interests.

Public and academic libraries have the most librarians. Other librarians and information professionals work in special libraries. Many non-traditional librarians are entering fields in knowledge management, information brokerage, and consulting for corporations, government, and non-profit organizations.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What can you do with a Master of Social Work?

Some people ask me often what can you do with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. It is the terminal professional degree in the field of social work. The Council on Social Work Education is the accrediting body for social work schools. Social workers are employed in for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors. They can be found in the following industries:

  • Public Welfare
  • Criminal Justice/Corrections
  • School Social Work
  • Child Welfare
  • Gerontology
  • Clinical
  • Administration*
  • Research and Education*
  • Occupational*
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Health Care
  • Community Organization

*Denotes my industry interests. I come from a non-traditional background (macro practice) which prepares social workers for positions in organizations, communities, and social policy.

For more information about social work, check out these videos below:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MSW New Student Orientation

~Reach Out, Raise Hope, Change Society~

I really enjoyed meeting other new MSW students at the U-M School of Social Work. The admissions staff said we are the most talented incoming MSW class in the school's history. A majority (~70%) of the students are concentrating in direct service with individuals and families (My declared practice method is Management of Human Services, and my practice area is Community and Social Systems.). My information packet contained a list of post-MSW career opportunities. Most MSW graduates in macro social work (my area) enter positions in Social Service Agencies, Community Service Learning Centers, Higher Education, Human Resources, Consulting Firms, Corporations, Research Organizations, and Government (all levels).

The panelists discussed student life, curriculum, career services, and field placement. They stressed assessing your skills, joining professional associations, creating a professional portfolio, establishing relationships with instructors/staff, utilizing the university's many web resources, and being proactive in student organizations. They also explained that it's important for all social work students to obtain micro and macro skills. It's important for me to understand the clients' needs and know the employees' skills if I want to evaluate problems and influence policy.

I also met with my MSW faculty adviser, and she told me that I am exempted from four foundation courses. Those 12 credits will become electives that I can pursue anywhere in the university. I will use 6 credits to complete a minor in Social Policy and Evaluation.

Here are more facts about the U-M School of Social Work:

  • Approximately 320 new students enroll each fall term.
  • Class sizes are generally capped at 25 students (strong focus on small learning communities).
  • The student of color enrollment is approximately 23% and the international enrollment is approximately 2%.
  • Nearly half of the social work students in the school come from out of state.
  • One of the few social work schools to have its own library and career services.

Social work is definitely becoming a more diverse field. I am very satisfied there is a growing interest in macro social work practice because all MSW students need management and policy skills. The Master of Social Work is a professional degree that is very flexible in for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors. People's perception of social work will gradually change as more future social workers (such as myself) enter non-traditional fields.

Friday, August 21, 2009 Social Work and Librarian Buttons

I found this site where professionals can buy very cool Social Work buttons at You can also find Librarian buttons here. Just type in your profession and the search results will list which buttons are available.

I thought the button above was so awesome!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Moving into My Own Apartment

Please excuse my long absence. I am in the process of moving my belongings and furniture into my own new apartment. I have just realized it is an exhausting process. I will update this post with my reflections later this week.

[UPDATE 08/29/09)]: I have finally settled into my own apartment. I am very proud of this accomplishment, because it means (from various theories in emerging adulthood) that I am a self-sufficient adult now. I am living off-campus because the rent is cheaper and housing stock is much nicer. I am also closer to shopping and other amenities. There is an accessible public bus route that will take me directly to campus.

I have a roommate who is also attending U-M for graduate school to help split the costs (utilities, rent, groceries) and housing responsibilities. We both do not come from wealthy backgrounds. She is an out-of-state student, therefore I have been showing her around the city, campus, and metropolitan region. We feel very fortunate that we are beginning the next stage of our lives.

It took several days for all my furniture to arrive. I have living room, bookcase, dining room, and bedroom sets. The place looks like a young professional's home. I wanted it this way because I'll be in graduate school for three years. I did not want cheap quality furniture that won't last a year. My roommate complimented how nice my furniture looks (hehehe!). We get along very well, and that's a good thing!

Orientation will begin in less than five days. I am very excited, that I can't wait!

P.S. Don't forget about purchasing renter's insurance. It's worth it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Michigan Community Colleges Lobby for 4-Year Degrees

Several weeks ago, President Obama spoke to a large crowd of residents at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan. He plans to boost and strengthen community colleges.

However, the state's public universities oppose community colleges having the right to grant bachelor's degrees. They believe community colleges serve a different mission to the community.
So far, community colleges have won the right to offer four-year degrees in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia, the Community College Baccalaureate Association says. Legislative efforts to extend the practice could come soon in Arizona and California, said Beth Hagan, executive director of the Fort Myers, Fla.-based group.

Four-year universities in Michigan claim that this will create unnecessary competition. The universities are located everywhere across the state.
Four-year campuses want the community colleges to stick to their core mission. Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, said community colleges should stick with what they do best: offering post-high school remedial education, preparing students to enter four-year colleges and granting technical certificates and two-year degrees.

"We have our distinct missions," said Boulus. "The two-year and the four-year institutions are very different."

Do you think Michigan community colleges should offer bachelor's degrees? If yes, should it only be limited to specific programs such as culinary arts and nursing?

Monday, August 3, 2009

U.S. News: 7 Reasons Why College Is So Expensive

U.S. News and World Report has posted an article on seven reasons why colleges are so expensive today. I know from my own personal research that college tuition increased dramatically in the 1980s and 1990s. Although tuition increases have slowed recently, national average incomes have become stagnant (and even decline compared to inflation) since the late 1960s, making college so expensive for lower and middle class families.

  1. State Appropriations
  2. Labor Costs and Competition
  3. Operating Costs
  4. Rapid Increases in Knowledge and Technology
  5. Government Regulation
  6. Economic Ebbs and Flows
  7. The Sticker Price Isn't Always What You Pay

Do you agree with this list? Why or why not?