The purpose of this paper is to discuss the impact the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s (UNCG) Library and Information Studies Academic and Cultural Enrichment (ACE) Scholars Program has had on promoting diversity and adding value to the library and information studies profession.
This paper is presented as a case study in which three iterations of the ACE Scholars Program are discussed, including program design and suggested impact the program has had on educating and engaging diverse individuals for careers in the library and information studies professions.
Nearly 50 ACE Scholars program participants, representing ethnically, racially and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds, have graduated from UNCG with their Master of Library and Information Studies degrees since 2011. In the five years since the first ACE cohort graduated, Scholar alums continue to impact the Library and Information Studies (LIS) profession through their professional roles as well as through their community engagement, professional association memberships and leadership roles, professional presentations and numerous publications.
This paper presents a model that has helped to promote diversity in the LIS field in way that can be adapted by other graduate programs that are preparing individuals for successful and engaged careers as library and information studies professionals.
The authors of this paper, co-principal investigators and staff members supporting one or more of the grants, wish to recognize others whose innovation, creativity and inspiration made this program possible: Shali Zhang, Dean of Libraries at the University of Montana Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library in Missoula, Montana, who was the inspiration of the process by being the founding author of the grants; Clara M. Chu, Director and Mortenson Distinguished Professor at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Nora J. Bird, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Library and Information Studies at the UNCG, principal investigator for the third cohort. Further, the authors wish to acknowledge the vision and funding provided through the IMLS Laura Bush twenty-first century Librarian Program, for without this support the ACE Scholars program would not have been possible.
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