Associate Fellowship Program Curriculum Recommendations
The Associate Fellowship Program fosters career development for early career health science librarians through a program of structured curriculum, networking, project work, and professional development. Recent organizational changes at NLM, as well as changes due to the pandemic, served as an impetus for a re-examination of the formal curriculum of the program. This study seeks to recommend changes to the curriculum to mirror broader shifts in the Associate Fellowship Program overall while also improving instructional quality and effectiveness, allowing Associate Fellows to apply what they learn to advance a more equitable and innovative future in biomedical libraries.
This study used qualitative methods to develop a deep picture of the experience of the curriculum from the points of view of Associate Fellows and NLM leadership as well as informed expertise from other residency educators. Unit debriefs from three years’ worth of Associate Fellow cohorts were inductively coded between the two authors and analyzed for recommendations. Relevant professional competencies were also investigated. Conversations were held between the authors and numerous stakeholders, including NLM leadership, Unit Coordinators, and the Program Coordinator, as well as with coordinators of similar multi-person professional residencies and fellowships in the library sciences.
Two comparable post-graduate library science fellowships were identified, only one of which had any form of curriculum, which was brief and focused solely on institutional activities. Conversations with Unit Coordinators and NLM leadership revealed common interests in refining the structure and individual utility of the curriculum, as well as contradictory views on the relative prominence of NLM institutional knowledge and professional skills acquisition in the curriculum. A total of 44 debriefs were coded, resulting in unique codes revealing Associate Fellows’ desire for a blend of institutional and practical training along with interactivity in education. The potential changing future of the format and purpose of the Associate Fellowship Program overall was also identified as a major factor impacting the curriculum.
Numerous recommendations were established based on these findings, aimed at both the Unit Coordinators and the Project Coordinator. These recommendations are designed to bolster and improve the curriculum’s quality by balancing greater structure with the flexibility necessary to meet changing needs and trends, both at NLM and within the profession more broadly. These growth opportunities include the need for greater clarity on the aims of the curriculum, alignment between the curriculum and professional trends, better support and guidance for Unit Coordinators, and more interactive and flexible curriculum components.
|Type of resource
|[ca. May 2022]
|May 5, 2023; May 16, 2022
|National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
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