Academic Regulations - Pre-Summer 2012

Academic Regulations

Required Courses - Grade Requirements - Independent Study, Practicum, Projects - Advanced Studies Program - Thesis, LIS 599

These are academic policies and regulations of the LIS Council. The Council has charged the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee with carrying out the policies of the department and applying these regulations, which have also been approved by the LIS Chair. The Admissions and Academic Standards Committee comprises three LIS faculty and one LIS Student Representative.

Students may appeal any decision related to academic regulations to the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee. If the initial decision is upheld, the student may then appeal to the LIS Chair.

Advisement

New students are assigned a faculty adviser who serves as a counselor on all academic matters. New students must communicate with their faculty advisers before classes start and have academic advisement in their first semester before registering for their second semester. Students are encouraged to seek advice from other faculty as well. See the LIS Advising Policy for more information.

Course Load

Students carrying 12 credit hours (Graduate Assistants 9 credit hours) in a semester are considered full time. No more than 15 hours a semester or 8 hours in any single 6-week summer session may be taken. In any one semester, a student may petition for an exemption by writing a formal letter to the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee. Approval will be valid for one semester only. A student may elect to take a reduced load and pursue the MLS for up to five years. This 5-year limit may be extended by the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee upon the student’s submission of a written request stating the reason for the extension, with the advisor's recommendation appended. If the extension is granted, the student will be placed on academic probation.

Credit-Hour Requirements

The minimum requirement for the MLS degree is 36 credits. Certification for School Library Media Specialist requires an additional 3 credit hours of LIS 525 School Media Center Practicum, which may not be counted as part of the 36 credit hours needed for the MLS degree. MLS students are allowed take a maximum of 42 credits toward their MLS degree.

Dual Master's Program Exchange Credits

Establishing a dual Master's program between LIS and another UB department or school should be initiated before enrollment or during a student’s first semester in LIS by sending a written request to the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee Chair specifying:

  1. goals and objectives for the desired dual Master's program
  2. course descriptions and number of credits to be exchanged from the second UB unit (LIS will accept a maximum of 6 credits toward the MLS)
  3. a Plan of Study listing the desired credits to be exchanged, with advisor’s signature

If approved, the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee forwards its recommendation to the Departmental Chair who provides the student with a letter accepting the exchange credits from the other Master's program. After the Chair receives a similar letter from the director of the corresponding master's program accepting LIS credits, the dual Master's program is established.

Leave or Withdrawal from the LIS Program

Continuous enrollment is required during the fall and spring semesters. Students unable to enroll in any fall or spring semester must submit a Graduate Student Petition Form requesting a leave of absence from UB (available from the DLIS Office), explaining reasons for the leave and expected date of return. All requests must be made in advance and be supported with adequate documentation. The phrase "personal reasons" alone is not sufficient explanation for requesting a leave. Leaves of absence do not extend the five-year time limit for completing the MLS degree.

To officially withdraw from the program a student must notify LIS in writing.

Plan of Study

Each student must keep an updated Plan of Study in the LIS office. Before being eligible for graduation, the plan must be updated.

Required Courses

Required courses must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or better for the MLS degree, and cannot be taken as directed studies (LIS 598). Waivers of required courses will not be considered after the student's first semester (fall or spring). To obtain a waiver, the student's written request must be approved by lead faculty member for the course, who initials the waiver on the student’s Plan of Study. No credit is granted for a waived course. If a student earns a grade of “D” or “F” in a required course, the class must be retaken.

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Lead faculty members for required courses are:
  • LIS 505 Introduction to Library and Information Studies – Dr. Valerie Nesset
  • LIS 506 Introduction to Information Technology – Dr. Ying Sun
  • LIS 518 Reference Sources and Services – Dr. Judith Robinson
  • LIS 571 Organization and Control of Recorded Information – Dr. Dagobert Soergel
  • LIS 581 Management of Libraries and Information Agencies – Dr. Brenda Battleson
  • SLM Courses – Dr. Anne Perrault

Special Student Status

Students not in the MLS or the Advanced Studies Certificate programs may be admitted as Special Students. This status is most often used by professional librarians holding the MLS degree. Others without the MLS, but holding at least a bachelor's degree, may also apply for Special Student status. Normally one or two courses a semester are the maximum taken under this status. A new Non-Degree Student application must be filed for each semester. Priority for class registration is given to matriculated students, followed by MLS holders who need to update their professional competencies. If a Special Student is later admitted into the MLS degree program, a maximum of 6 credits of non-matriculated courses may be applied to the MLS degree.

Grade Requirements

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Grading System

All work for the MLS degree must be completed with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. A student whose GPA falls below 3.0 may be placed on academic probation or dismissed from the program. UB calculates grades according to the following: A (4.0), A- (3.67), B+ (3.33), B (3.0), B- (2.67), C+ (2.33), C (2.0), D (1.0), and F (0.).

Incompletes

An incomplete grade (I) will be granted upon agreement between student and instructor. Incomplete (I) grades may be given only when the student is passing the class but is unable to complete assigned projects and/or examinations due to illness or other unforeseeable and compelling circumstances. Students must fill out a “Request for Grade of Incomplete” form – a contractual agreement between student and instructor outlining the conditions and deadlines for removing the incomplete grade. The request may be approved or disapproved by the instructor. An “I” is not calculated into a student's GPA. Students who accumulate 9 or more hours of outstanding Incompletes will be placed on academic probation. According to UB policy, if an instructor does not change the incomplete grade to a regular letter grade by the agreed upon deadline, the grade automatically becomes a “U” (Unsatisfactory) after one year.

Class Assignments, Exams and Papers

Prior to each course’s conclusion, ask your instructor if you may leave a stamped, self-addressed envelope to ensure that your assignments are returned to you. After your last class meeting, instructors may leave your remaining course materials in the LIS Office, 534 Baldy Hall. Assignments or exams that have not been retrieved within 4 weeks after the last day of class will be discarded.

Provisional Status

A student may be admitted to the LIS department on a provisional basis when he or she does not meet all admissions requirements but whose personal statements, transcripts, employment history, and letters of reference demonstrate potential for success. At the end of the semester in which the student has completed 12 credit hours in the program, the student’s progress will be reviewed.

To be removed from provisional status, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better . Any Incomplete grades (granted according to the Incomplete regulation) or Unsatisfactory grades will be reviewed by the Admissions and Academic Committee to determine if the situation warrants removal from provisional status or dismissal from the program.

Good Academic Standing

Good academic standing means that a student is making acceptable progress in the degree program, maintains a GPA 3.0 or above, complies with UB regulations
and is eligible to register for and pursue academic course work for the current semester. All LIS students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their study.

Academic Probation

Students will be placed on academic probation when they are no longer in Good Academic Standing for one or more of the following:

  • the student's GPA falls below 3.0. - OR -
  • the student accumulates 9 or more hours of Incomplete grades - OR -
  • the student earns a grade of "F" or “D” in a course required for the degree - OR
  • the student fails to complete coursework within five years and request for extension is granted by the Admissions and Academic Standards Committee. The Committee will look for consistent enrollment patterns while in the program.

The student's grades will be reviewed at the end of the semester in which the student has completed 12 credit hours while on academic probation. To be returned to Good Academic Standing, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better and receive grades of "C" or better. Any Incomplete grades (granted according to LIS Incomplete regulation) or Unsatisfactory grades will be reviewed by the Admissions and Academic Committee to determine if the situation warrants removal of academic probation or dismissal from the program.

Dismissal from Program

Students will be dismissed from the MLS program if they:

  1. are not able to return to a Good Academic Standing after completing 12 credits while on either provisional status or academic probation
  2. meet the criteria to be placed on academic probation for the second time
  3. don’t comply with UB regulations

Repeating Courses

Courses for which a grade of "C" or better has been earned may not be retaken for credit. Courses for which a failing grade of “D” or “F” was earned may be retaken only once. All coursework, including failing grades, is included when the grade point average is calculated.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Grades of S/U are not included in grade point average but are used to evaluate the student's academic progress, with a grade of S considered equivalent to a B (3.0) or better.

Only S/U credits, or 25% of the required credits (not including a thesis), may be applied toward the MLS degree. S/U grades from other colleges and universities will not be transferred into the MLS program.

Outside Credits

Students must complete a minimum of twenty-four (24) credit hours of courses offered by the MLS program. There are a few complementary ways in which a student may request outside credits to apply to the MLS program:

Courses taken before student’s enrollment in the MLS program

Students must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of courses offered by the MLS program. There are a few complementary ways in which a student may request outside credits to apply to the MLS program:

Courses taken before student’s enrollment in the MLS program
MLS courses

If the student has taken MLS courses as a non-degree student, a maximum of 6 credit hours can be applied to the MLS program provided that these courses are no more than three years old.

Courses taken in other universities

The Department of Library and Information Studies may accept up to six (6) credit hours of appropriate graduate courses from other accredited universities as credit toward the master's degree. These credits may not have been applied toward any other degree or certificate program.

In order to transfer credits, the student must submit a Request for Transfer of Credit form, and a Plan of Study concurrently for approval to the student faculty advisor and the LIS Chair. A description of the course and a statement of justification must be included. Transfer credit is not awarded for undergraduate courses or courses more than three years old. Transfer credit is granted only for coursework earning a grade of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.

Courses taken in other programs – at UB or other universities — while the student is enrolled in the MLS program

Currently enrolled MLS students may take graduate courses elsewhere at UB or at another university provided that the courses have been included in the Plan of Study and approved by their faculty advisor before registration. These credits may not apply toward any other degree or certificate program.

For courses taken at other universities, the student must follow the same procedure to transfer credits as outlined above: the student must submit a credit request form and a Plan of Study concurrently for approval to the student faculty advisor and the LIS Chair. A description of the course and a statement of justification must be included. Transfer credit is not awarded for undergraduate courses and is granted only for coursework earning a grade of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better.

Independent Study, Practicum, Projects

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Three special courses allow students to study library operations first hand:

  • LIS 525 (School Media Center Practicum) is available only to students working toward school library media specialist certification. Students must have completed all required courses for SLM Specialist, or be in their final semester in order to take LIS 525. They must also have a (GPA 3.0/4.0 or better).
  • LIS 526 (Practicum) is available to students desiring a supervised field experience providing opportunity to practice and observe library and information services in action. LIS 526 may not be taken in a school library media center.
  • LIS 527 (Special Projects) offers an opportunity to work on special information problems, projects, and activities in libraries and other agencies.

Entry into a 526 or 527 requires completion of at least 12 credit hours toward the degree. LIS 526 and LIS 527 are graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U). LIS 525 is graded as S/U or by a letter grade. Completion of a special form for LIS 525, LIS 526, or LIS 527 is required by the student before force registration can be completed through the LIS Office. The type of grading is indicated on this form after agreement by the student and library and faculty sponsors. The grading format cannot be changed after registration.

Credit Hour Restrictions

Students may take no more than 9 credits in combination using LIS 526, 527, 598, and 599. Combinations of 526 and 527 may not exceed 6 credit hours.

Directed Study (LIS 598)

Directed studies allow exploration of a topic for which no LIS course is available, and may be taken for 1 to 6 credit hours. LIS 598 may be substituted for school library media certification course work only when the School library media course is unavailable in a given semester or summer session, and with approval of the school library media program coordinator.

Students cannot force register for LIS 598 through the LIS Office until a faculty member has agreed to supervise the course by signing a LIS 598 form containing a description of the topics to be covered. Faculty may accept or refuse a student's request for their supervision of LIS 598.

To receive an S/U rather than a letter grade, the student must request in writing the faculty member's approval prior to LIS 598 registration. The faculty member's decision will be final and transmitted to the student in writing.

Policy on Paid Practicum or Paid Internship

A student may not earn academic credit for paid employment. However, under special circumstances, a paid practicum may be considered if it offers unique learning opportunities and:

  • The sponsor presents LIS with a formal proposal describing the practicum requirements and benefits,
  • There are no conflicts between the sponsor's requirements and LIS requirements,
  • The School is satisfied that the student will have ongoing learning experiences rather than initial or routine learning activities.

Proposals shall be submitted to the Admissions/Academic Standards Committee for review and recommendations to the LIS Chair.

Academic credit shall be awarded at the rate of 1 credit per 80 hours of work.

Academic credit may not generally be awarded for a continuing position at which the student was or is already employed.

Advanced Studies Program

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Students in the Advanced Studies Certificate Program must maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average. Advanced Studies students are subject to all regulations governing the Master's degree program except for the continuous enrollment requirement and regulations specific to advanced studies students. A leave of absence may be secured through the approval of the coordinator of the Advanced Studies Program and the LIS Chair.

Thesis, LIS 599

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The thesis is a 6 credit elective, however, the student may elect to use variable credit enrollment. Prior to registering for the thesis, the student must follow the procedure outlined below:

Committee

The student will choose a committee of three faculty members who must agree to serve before the student registers for LIS 599. The committee will be constituted as follows

  1. chairperson - any voting member of the LIS faculty. The chairperson will be the student's major advisor for the thesis and will schedule all meetings.
  2. one additional voting member of the LIS faculty
  3. one additional member drawn from any of the UB voting faculty (this could be another member of the LIS faculty).

Duties of the Committee

The committee will

  1. approve a formal prospectus
  2. guide the student through all phases of the research
  3. conduct an oral defense
  4. read the thesis and sign the cover page of the final approved copy
  5. determine all committee matters through a majority vote

Thesis Distribution

The student must submit a signed copy of the thesis to the LIS Chair and another to the University Libraries’ Library Studies Collection, plus any additional copies requested by thesis committee members.

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Academic Integrity

The following statements have been developed to define acts of academic dishonesty. It is realized that the mere definition of academic dishonesty in and of itself will not necessarily deter all individuals from committing such acts. Far more important as a deterrent is the atmosphere among the students themselves. The Department of Library and Information Studies has no formal honor system requiring third parties to report academic dishonesty. Each individual must decide with respect to such behavior by others.

Action taken on academic dishonesty is determined by the instructor.

Forms of Academic Dishonesty:

  1. Use of earlier tests when the instructor has requested students not to consult them and has exercised sufficient control to assure their security;
  2. Submission of material previously submitted in whole or substantial part, without permission of the instructor;
  3. Major assistance in preparation of coursework without identifying and acknowledging such assistance;
  4. Copying verbatim or paraphrasing the work of others without acknowledging the source;
  5. Receiving information from another student or other source or giving information to another student during an exam without prior consent of the instructor;
  6. Unauthorized alteration of examinations or other papers in an attempt to change a grade;
  7. Other: It is the instructor's responsibility to announce other forms of academic dishonesty in the course syllabus.