William M. Sullivan, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Keynote Address Scheduled for: Tuesday January 16, 2007, 8:30am-10:00am
The Civic Life of Information: Teaching Professionalism for the Knowledge Age
The future of library and information science as a profession may well hinge on how professionalism is understood and practiced. A civic professionalism for our time is aware of the reciprocal relationship between expanding information and the need for frameworks of meaning through which individuals and communities can interpret and use that information. Library and information specialists are members of a professional community committed to serve as mediators of public understanding and aspiration. The talk will focus on how to form in future professionals not only competence but strong identities centered on commitment to public purpose.
In addition to being a Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation, Sullivan has been Professor of Philosophy at La Salle University, where he is now Associate Faculty. He holds the Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University. Sullivan co-directs the Foundation’s project on the Preparation for the Professions. This is a multi-year study comparing professional education for the law, engineering, and the clergy, nursing, and medicine. One of the special concerns of the program is the relationship between professional education and the liberal arts. Sullivan has been an active researcher in the areas of political and social theory, the philosophy of the social sciences, ethics, the study of American society and values, the professions, and education. He is co-author of Habits of the Heart and The Good Society. He is author of Reconstructing Public Philosophy and, most recently, the second edition of Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America.
Reflecting on LIS and William Sullivan’s Three Apprenticeships in Professional Education
The ALISE Task Force on Best Practices in Teaching and the Teaching Methods SIG will sponsor a conversation on how LIS educators might apply the three apprenticeships in professional education, explored by keynote speaker William Sullivan, to the field of library and information science. Sullivan, of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is author of Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America (Jossey-Bass, 2005). Looking at various approaches to professional education, Sullivan sees three distinct but related apprenticeships. With a mission to educate for professional judgment and performance, he argues, professional programs must enable students to integrate specialized knowledge and specific skills within the profession’s commitment to clients and society. (Work and Integrity, p. 207)
According to Sullivan, the first apprenticeship is intellectual, focused on the knowledge base of the field, and characterized by reasoning, argument, and research. The second is practical, the body of skills needed to be a competent practitioner. The third is ethical, including the traits, responsibilities, and values that characterize a professional. Sullivan argues that the different kinds of learning suggested by the three apprenticeships may require quite different pedagogies.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has undertaken a study of education in the professions that is intended to demonstrate how “professionals, on whom we all depend for so much of the quality of our lives, can learn to balance those technical, intellectual, and moral equations.” (Shulman, Foreword, p. xi) Work and Integrity is the introductory volume in a series that will examine the professional education of lawyers, physicians, nurses, engineers, and clergy. Although graduate education in library and information science is not part of this comparative study, LIS educators might apply Sullivan’s model in reflecting on our own teaching practices. How do we go about equipping our graduates with the academic grounding, practical skills, and ethical compass needed for service to their publics and to society?
Like other observers, Sullivan notes the growing dissatisfaction among many professionals, including lawyers and physicians, in the changing nature of practice. Economic pressure and technological change have altered the relationship between professional and client and have diminished the civic aspect of professionalism. LIS educators might ask whether our graduates are experiencing the same disconnection from their traditional commitments to serve both the public and the public good.
A panel of three outstanding LIS educators will reflect on LIS and the three apprenticeships in professional education. Christine Pawley, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin School of Library and Information Studies, will explore the intellectual apprenticeship; Bertram Bruce, Professor, University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, will consider the practical apprenticeship; Toni Carbo, Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, will examine the ethical apprenticeship. The panel will consider the integration of the three apprenticeships in LIS programs and will welcome audience questions and comments.