Event Title

Online For-Profit Colleges and Universities and the Evolving Role of Academic Librarianship

Session Format

Paper Presentation

Conference Tracks

Research Design and Planning

Short Description

This presentation reports on a survey of academic librarians and their attitudes on several interrelated professional issues in the online FPCU environment. Librarians from this sector offer a unique perspective on librarianship best practices for online educational delivery. They also present a clear-headed understanding on the impact of profit-based decision making on academic librarian values, responsibilities, and sense of professional duty. In addition to the survey results, this presentation discusses how academic librarianship has responded to the growing prevalence of virtual education delivery, and what roles the for-profit model might proffer for academic librarians going forward.

Long Description

The growth of the online For-Profit College and University (FPCU) model in recent decades has coincided with the narrative that librarians need to run their libraries more like businesses, justifying the expense of library operations through financial metrics that enumerate the intangible outcomes of library services. In response to recent criticism, many organizations in the online FPCU sector are emphasizing quality measures to assist with student retention and persistence, particularly in the frontline services provided to students. Academic librarians are among the most prolific frontline employees in online FPCUs in terms of the volume, substance, and variety of services, interactions, and guidance they provide students and other library stakeholders. A closer look at academic librarianship in online FPCUs offers an opportunity to gain insights into how libraries align with the business needs of their sponsoring organizations and what implications this might hold for professional practice for academic librarians in all settings. This presentation reports on a survey of academic librarians and their attitudes on several interrelated professional issues in the online FPCU environment. As a more favorable outlook for FPCUs emerges under current national educational leadership, it is crucial to gain a better understanding of the professional status, needs, and viewpoints of academic librarians working in the FPCU setting. Librarians from this sector offer a unique perspective on librarianship best practices for online educational delivery. They also present a clear-headed understanding on the impact of profit-based decision making on academic librarian values, responsibilities, and sense of professional duty. In addition to the survey results, this presentation discusses how academic librarianship has responded to the growing prevalence of virtual education delivery, and what roles the for-profit model might proffer for academic librarians going forward.

Learning Objectives

After attending this presentation, participants will be able to: identify some of the main challenges, opportunities, and professional viewpoints of academic librarians working in the FPCU setting; discuss professional issues around academic librarianship in online FPCUs and their relevance to other areas of librarianship; and develop professional strategies and best practices within their own setting based on the accounts of their academic librarian colleagues.

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Online For-Profit Colleges and Universities and the Evolving Role of Academic Librarianship

This presentation reports on a survey of academic librarians and their attitudes on several interrelated professional issues in the online FPCU environment. Librarians from this sector offer a unique perspective on librarianship best practices for online educational delivery. They also present a clear-headed understanding on the impact of profit-based decision making on academic librarian values, responsibilities, and sense of professional duty. In addition to the survey results, this presentation discusses how academic librarianship has responded to the growing prevalence of virtual education delivery, and what roles the for-profit model might proffer for academic librarians going forward.