Toward a Shared Approach to Program Evaluation and Alumni Career Tracking: Results from the Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science 2 Study

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This article provides an overview of the findings of the Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science 2 (WILIS 2) study funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The study set out to develop a survey tool to gather information on both program evaluation and subsequent employment experiences and a model of delivery that could potentially be used by all library and information science (LIS) programs. The resulting model includes a shared survey, shared yet customizable methodology, a Web-based data collection tool, program-specific data products, and shared data products. The study team provided the thirty-nine participating LIS master's programs with both substantive data on their recent graduates and basic benchmarking capabilities. WILIS 2 used a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach that involved members of the LIS community in major aspects of project design and implementation. Data were gathered in three phases over a fourteen month period from May 2009 to June 2010. Phase 1 was a pilot study of graduates from eight programs. Phases 2 and 3 included an additional thirty-one programs. Programs were asked to select a random sample of 250 of their master's degree graduates from the previous five years; however, a few programs included some graduates from earlier years. The final data set includes graduates from 2000 to 2009. Fewer than 4 percent of these respondents graduated prior to 2003. The achieved response rate for all three phases of the survey was 40.5 percent. For purposes of this overview paper, we use [End Page 30] the full data set of the thirty-nine LIS programs graduating between 2000 and 2009, or 3,507 cases.