Improving Professional Development for SLA

By Piggott, Sylvia; Lowery, John | Information Outlook, May 2004 | Go to article overview

Improving Professional Development for SLA


Piggott, Sylvia, Lowery, John, Information Outlook


Professional development is a high priority for SLA. It is one of the key sections on the association's website. Look through the Professional Development "tab" and you will see an outline of current priorities for the department. The committee's definition was amended in June 2003 (Board Document A03-53) with the following mandate:

1. Analyze findings of staff research and feedback documents relating to the learning and development needs of the association's membership and other target audiences in partnership with the association staff in order that the offerings remain aligned with the anticipated needs;

2. Review, shape, and endorse annually the strategic directions in the association's learning and development activities;

3. Recommend policies and initiatives to the Board of Directors and to association staff to address the learning and career development needs of the association's membership;

4. Ensure updating of the professional competencies document as appropriate;

5. Provide feedback and advice to the Board of Directors and Executive Director related to library/information management curricula;

6. Function in an advisory capacity to association units as needed as relates to all of the above;

7. Make recommendations to the president-elect regarding desired characteristics of incoming Professional Development Committee members.

The committee has been working closely with the association's director of professional development to review the status of professional development and to develop solutions and offerings based upon three important documents: the committee's charge, the strategic vision document of the committee, and the revised competencies document.

We have reviewed past recommendations gleaned from surveys of the membership, and we have taken a close look at current successful professional development services and systems in order to choose appropriately for our membership. At this time, we are investigating new media in order to deliver professional development offerings to membership, both at the annual conference and on a continuous basis.

Immediate Goals

Restructuring Professional

Development at the Conference

The committee is seeking to help minimize the divisions' burden of finding speakers and funding for conference programs and to reduce the cost to those vendors that are finding it difficult to support divisions at the level to which they are accustomed. We have advised the conference program chair for Toronto of a proposed method for streamlining professional development programs at the annual conference.

1. Presentations covering specific subjects will be offered by divisions that cover those subjects.

2. Programs of general interest will be placed in a central pool from which the association office will select the best choices to offer at the conference.

3. Topics not selected from the central pool will be reviewed, and some of them will be chosen for conversion to self-paced courses to be offered via electronic medium by SLA headquarters during the year. …

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