As a member of the Denver Cohort of Emporia State University's School of Library Information Management (SLIM) I originally found the program to be doable and worthwhile. The only competition in the area comes from the excellent (but much more expensive) program, at Denver University or from online university programs. |
The quality of instruction at "Emporia in the Rockies" in Denver was (and remains) uneven and I expected that. Students are often guinea pigs for inexperienced instructors who may have never before taught a particular class, but that is to be expected from a mediocre state-run university program.
Since nearly all of the instructors live out of the area and most fly in to teach the weekend classes, there are fewer opportunities to network with working professionals compared to what students at DU experience, and that puts Emporia's Denver students at something of a disadvantage when it comes to finding employment in the library profession.
There have have been ongoing and inexcusable facilities problems with Emporia's Denver classes that have significantly detract from the program. Originally classes were taught at the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Lowry campus located in eastern Denver. Instructional materials mailed to the campus frequently never reached the students.
The classrooms at Lowry lacked opening windows and heat, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems did not work. Temperatures in the classrooms often exceeded 90 degrees. Most classes used a projector connected to a laptop PC to present Powerpoint programs, and inevitably the projector would overheat, causing inopportune and inconvenient "coffee breaks" and early class dismissals. No one at Lowry gave a damn about it and no one was available to address the repeated and continuous HVAC problems.
So classes were moved to the extremely inconveniently-located (and badly-run) Auraria campus located in downtown Denver. Getting to the Auraria campus is problematic. Traffic from other events, such as at the nearby Pepsi Center, makes it difficult to get to class on time. Other times, due to other events scheduled on the campus, the building will be extremely crowded. One time nearly everyone in the class was late arriving because they had to wait for more than half an hour to enter the parking lot. Some other event was going on at the campus and, of course, Auraria had neglected to hire enough people to operate the payment booth allowing entrance to the parking lot. Current plans at Auraria call for the parking lot located nearest the classrooms used by Emporia to be replaced by a new classroom building and no replacement for this parking lot is being considered.
On at least two occasions classes had to be moved at the last minute (once to the campus library, another time to a lobby in the Tivoli Student Union Building) because we were locked out of the buildings! Other times the classroom that Emporia had reserved was double-booked with students from other colleges wandering into our library classes. No one running the Auraria campus gives a damn about the ongoing facilities problems there. And apparently neither does anyone from Emporia! And no one from Emporia has the initiative to locate a suitable alternative classroom location.
There are ongoing technical problems with the campus Internet communication system. Following the botched upgrade of the system in August of 2008 (parts of which were down for 3 weeks), after receiving complaints from both students and faculty, the head of the technology department offered a belated apology (to the faculty) for not doing a better job of keeping students informed of the progress and upgrades. However (and tellingly) in classic "Kiss-Up, Kick-Down" fashion, no apology was made to the students.
Facility problems (for which no one has ever been held accountable) aside, the program took a significantly negative downturn with the hiring of a new dean in 2007. In a (unprofessional, dishonest and SLEAZY) "Bait-and-Switch" tactic, after we (as students) were committed to the program, classes that had previously been offered in a, more-or-less, sequential order now overlapped, making them more difficult. Even worse, many classes were redesigned (with no advance notice to students) so that they had a greater Internet component and actual face-to-face instruction in actual classrooms reduced. Field trips to visit actual libraries were canceled, supposedly (and unconvincingly) because of "liability" concerns.
Communication from the Emporia administration has deteriorated since the arrival of the new dean. There were once regular SLIM department meetings at which a student representative was present, but those have fallen by the wayside. Things are just "dictated" to students and there is no longer any student input taken on changes to the program. On the other hand, we receive a continuous flood of irrelevant SPAM emails from Emporia about events occuring on the campus back in Kansas, club announcements for undergraduates, specials offered at the Kansas campus cafeteria, announcements about weather conditions in Kansas.
I really don't see a strong commitment to Emporia's distance students at the Denver Cohort, or even a strong commitment by Emporia's administration to the library profession.
The program I am currently enrolled in is not the same one I originally enrolled in. Although I made a reasonable decision to attend this particular program, the many changes that have occurred since then, and the many negative problems that I have encountered, have left me feeling extremely disappointed and frustrated. For far too long, Emporia has coasted on its reputation as being one of the oldest library programs in the western U.S. Historical significance aside, the program has lost momentum.
I would like to think that the administration and instructors at Emporia learn something from their (many, many, many) mistakes, I don't see any evidence of that happening before I finally graduate from the program. Emporia's Denver students are not receiving the education they deserve and that they have paid for. The potential improvements to the program in the future do nothing to benefit the students currently in the program. And of course, there is no reason to actually believe that the administration will actually resolve any of the many problems that plague and diminish the program and improve the program in the future.
I would NOT recommend the SLIM program at the Denver Cohort of Emporia. Do research on other programs out of the state of Colorado. If you can't move, see if you can't get financial aid in the form of grants or scholarships from D.U. Or consider an Internet program (since that seems to be what Emporia is turning into). As a student interested in earning an MLS, you can do much better than Emporia in the Rockies!
| Sep 13 2008 || Unknown |