Explore our mission, vision, identity and goals and learn about our school’s milestones through time.
Vision and mission
A thriving iSchool, known for exceptional student experiences and outcomes, societally relevant faculty research, alumni and community engagement, and faculty/staff work environment; recognized within UBC as an essential hub for vibrant, multi-disciplinary, cross-campus collaboration in the areas of archives, records and information management, human-computer interaction and design, Indigenous information initiatives, cultural informatics, digital media and media studies.
An iSchool with an arts perspective: (information, technology and people) + (media, design and culture).
Through innovative research, education and design, our mission is to enhance humanity’s capacity to engage information in effective, creative and diverse ways.
The School of Information mission is grounded in a fundamental belief in the value and importance of information and records to the lives of individuals, communities and society more broadly.
Current and future access to information and records in their many manifestations is essential as a means of preserving and shaping memory and culture, enabling democracy through evidence, accountability, transparency and education, and supporting almost all forms of human activity.
To ensure that individuals and communities can engage (i.e. confront, experience, challenge and use) information, the School of Information develops and disseminates theoretical and applied knowledge concerning the production, management, storage, preservation, access and use of information and records and educates students as information professionals and researchers.
We acknowledge that no single perspective on the complex and situated concept of information is sufficient or universally valid. We respect and welcome diverse and critical perspectives that enrich our understanding and practices. In this work, the School of Information is committed to furthering the goals of the Faculty of Arts and UBC and supporting the many scholarly, academic and professional associations dedicated to the fields of library, archival and information studies.
Our membership in the iSchools Organization signifies an explicit commitment to the notion expressed in the iSchools Charter, that “expertise in all forms of information is required for progress in science, business, education, and culture. This expertise must include understanding of the uses and users of information, the nature of information itself, as well as information technologies and their applications”.
(Approved by a vote of faculty, November 25, 2015)
Goals and objectives
- Reinforce the reputation and identity of the School of Information to external partners and the broader community.
- Continue to strengthen alliances within the Faculty of Arts and the university that increase the campus-wide visibility of the School of Information.
- Develop and implement a comprehensive recruiting plan to encourage and support high-quality applicants, especially those from under-represented communities.
- Develop an equity and diversity statement and associated action plan reflecting School of Information values and goals.
- Offer complementary curricula aligned with the School of Information graduate competencies and responsive to the needs of the associated professional communities and potential employers (MLIS/MAS).
- Continue to strengthen and support pathways and concentrations that enable students to specialize in areas of interest and prepare for a broad range of careers.
- Foster an intellectual milieu that stimulates a positive commitment to professions, scholarship, and life-long learning (MLIS/MAS).
- Expand commitments to undergraduate education to increase the impact and visibility of the School of Information and support recruitment to its graduate programs.
- Sustain reliable community input processes, assessment and planning at the course, program and school-wide levels, including the implementation of a program-level capstone assessment.
- Increase the level and quality of technology-enhanced learning and strengthen student outcomes relating to technology use.
- Provide clear teaching expectations and development opportunities for adjunct faculty.
- Nurture a culture of inquiry within the school, both informally and formally, through an ongoing commitment to research-focused activities for graduate students and faculty.
- Sustain societally relevant research agendas leading to scholarly publication and knowledge exchange.
- Increase the level of support for faculty to establish research groups and partnerships and acquire external research funding.
- Increase public exposure to iSchool research through communication and social media channels.
- Establish and sustain a School of Information advisory board.
- Maintain ties with library, archival and information-based associations in British Columbia, Canada, and internationally.
- Reinforce core values of reciprocity, social responsibility, and professional ethics in teaching, research and service commitments.
- Encourage student engagement in scholarly and professional communities.
- Provide leadership in cross-campus research initiatives and collaborations.
- Initiate and develop collaborations with international academic institutions.
School of Information timeline
1961: School of Librarianship formed
In response to a growing need for professional librarians in Western Canada, a School of Librarianship was established at the University of British Columbia in 1961 as a professional school within the Faculty of Arts and Science. The school graduated its first class of Bachelor of Library Science in May 1962.
1962: American Library Association Accreditation
The one-year bachelor’s program was accredited in February 1963 by the Committee on Accreditation of the American Library Association (ALA).
1971: Development of a two-year Master of Library Science program
To incorporate new technologies into the program of studies and prepare students better for careers as information specialists, the school replaced the one-year bachelor’s degree program with a two-year Master of Library Science degree. This program was re-accredited in 1976, 1985 and 1992 under the 1972 standards of the ALA. In 1998 and again in 2007, the program was re-accredited for the full seven-year period under the 1992 standards of the ALA.
1981: Archival studies program develops
In conjunction with the Department of History, the school inaugurated a two-year program leading to a Master of Archival Studies (MAS), the first graduate program in archival studies in North America.
1984: The School of Library, Archival and Information Studies
The school’s name was changed to the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies to better recognize the programs offered by the school.
1990: ALA Accreditation
UBC’s Faculty of Graduate Studies re-named and revised the degree programs. In 1995, the school graduated the first students to receive the newly re-named Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree.
1998: Development of additional specializations and degrees
The school initiated a joint MAS/MLIS program, a First Nations concentration in the MLIS and MAS programs, and part-time studies in the MLIS program.
1999: Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program
The newly formed program enrolled its first students in 1999.
2001: 40th-anniversary book
As part of the celebrations, the school, created a special book on its history, written by Maurizio Dattilo and then faculty member Judith Saltman. Forty Years of Library Education: The School of Library, Archival & Information Studies, The University of British Columbia — 1961-2001
2013: PhD program
The school developed a PhD in library, archival and information studies. Graduates of the school’s doctoral program are now teaching and conducting research in universities and other institutions in Canada and the US, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
2014: Development of Bachelor of Media Studies program
The school became a partner in the newly developed Bachelor of Media Studies program.
2020: The School of Information
The school’s name was changed to the School of Information in response to the evolution of the information professions and changes within the disciplinary areas of library, archival and information studies.
2021: Minor in informatics
The school launched a new interdisciplinary minor in informatics to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to study the field of information and understand how data and technology are reshaping our world.
Graduates of the professional programs at UBC iSchool (Master of Archival Studies, Master of Library and Information Studies, and the Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies) find work in various locations and institutions. Our alumni hold positions with various titles, including knowledge manager, digital asset coordinator, faculty liaison librarian and senior archivist, among many more. They work at all levels of government, academic institutions, both the private and the public sector, in non-profit organizations and corporations.
To better understand the trends and challenges for our graduates in obtaining employment as professionals, UBC iSchool conducts an annual survey of graduates from its three professional programs (MAS, MLIS, and MAS/LIS). This allows us to identify trends in employment, as well as benefit from the views of our graduates a year later.
Key findings from 2021 results
of graduates are currently employed
of these graduates are employed in a position related to their iSchool degree
were employed within six months of graduation*
completed co-op work placements as part of their studies
* This number goes to 73.5% when looking at the combined data from 2016-2020.
About the report
Graduates are surveyed approximately one year after graduation, and each cohort is surveyed only once. The most recent survey was conducted in late 2019. MAS, MLIS, Dual MAS/LIS and MACL graduates whose degrees were conferred between September 2019 and May 2020 were surveyed. The survey is confidential, and some data and responses may be edited to ensure confidentiality.