50 Good Things About FIMS

Okay, as a counterpoint to my last post, here is another massive list to complete the “95(+5) Theses of FIMS” I started yesterday with “50 Ways To Improve FIMS.”  I think I'll have a lot less to say for these as most of them are self-evident.

Excellent Instructors
– each of the following instructors received over 6 (on a scale of 7) for their end-of-term evaluations indicating they had near unanimous support from the class listed.  [Edit: I've gone back and bolded the profs who received multiple ratings at this level to give them a bit of extra recognition.]  [Edit Two: I went back and italicized the profs I was fortunate enough to have including two of the top rated ones – E. Davies & L. McKechnie for two classes! 7/15 of my classes were with the top profs.  Almost makes up for the three that were with profs in the 3.0 range! ] Of course, this isn't the be all and end all of what makes a good instructor and many other excellent instructors hover just below my rather arbitrary 6.0 cut-off.  But you can rest assured that any of the following people (especially the ones who hit this plateau more than once) are very likely to give you an excellent classroom experience. 

Also worth mentioning, I only went back a year or so in the binder but it does have records as far back as 2000 if you're interested.  Also interesting is how some professors will get highly rated in one class but do average or even poorly when teaching another.  Yet another interesting thing is seeing how instructors can either rise or fall over the semesters, even when teaching the same course.  So again, don't judge everything on a list like this but use it as a starting point for your research…like Wikipedia!   Oh, and I whipped through the binder pretty fast so any errors and omissions are unintentional.  It may also appear to be cheating to have 3/5 of my list filled with the names of professors but I have to admit that before I began, I honestly didn't expect to find that many professors getting 6.0+ ratings and since they did, I'm happy to highlight it!)

  1. I. Ajiferuke – 601 – 6.1
  2. T. Belton – 595 – 6.4
  3. L. Busby – 742 – 6.3
  4. G. Campbell – 502 – 6.6, 545 – 6.7
  5. E. Davies – 502 – 6.6; 545 – 6.2, 502 – 6.9, 502 – 6.3, 504 – 6.3
  6. K. Fast – 741 – 6.0
  7. N. Gerolami – 501 – 6.4
  8. Y. Gopal – 747 – 6.2
  9. S. Hayter – 751 – 6.4
  10. M. Joyce – 672 – 6.6, 672 – 6.2, 675 – 6.5
  11. R. Keirstead – 615 – 6.8
  12. N. Koziol – 671 – 6.0
  13. F. Lambert – 502 – 6.4
  14. L. McKechnie – 566 – 6.8, 566 – 6.6
  15. P. McKenzie – 584 – 6.1, 504 – 6.6, 504 – 6.4
  16. M. Neill – 720 – 6.1
  17. G. Nickerson – 525 – 6.0, 520 – 6.1, 558 – 6.5, 520 – 6.0
  18. M. Nelson – 739 – 6.5, 839 – 6.5
  19. J. Noon – 503 – 6.0, 591 – 6.6, 570 – 6.9, 570 – 6.9, 591 – 6.6
  20. J. Parr – 887 – 6.6
  21. M. Rayner – 523 – 6.3, 523 – 6.3
  22. L. Rourke – 514 – 6.5
  23. L. Schneider – 646 – 6.1
  24. K. Sedig – 521 – 6.0
  25. D. Spanner – 561 – 6.6
  26. D. Spencer – 532 – 6.1
  27. J. Van Horne – 700 – 6.7
  28. L. Vaughn – 558 – 6.1

    Unique in Canada

  29. Three Intakes
    FIMS has three intakes per year in September, January and May when you can start the program.
  30. Accelerated Program
    You can complete the program in a single year. 
  31. Co-op Program
    FIMS's paid co-op program which has four and eight month positions around Ontario and across Canada (UBC is apparently the only other library school with a co-op program but theirs is very new.) 
  32. Flexibility
    Between three in-takes, co-op program, full and part-time options, distance courses, the program is extremely flexible. 
  33. Students From Across Canada
    I can't confirm this but I suspect that all of the reasons listed above lead to Western attracting the broadest range of students from across Canada of any library school – something that will only help you in your future library career since FIMS grads tend to disperse across Canada when they're done (and it's all about the networking, baby! )
  34. (Just West of) The Centre of the Universe
    Close to Toronto to take advantage of all it has to offer including field trips for classes, tours and so on…without actually being Toronto. 

    The Best Student Experience

  35. Student Organizations
    FIMS is home to numerous student organizations including Student Council, CLA – Student Chapter, Special Library Association – Student Chapter (currently inactive) and Librarians Without Borders run a variety of programs and events.
  36. Keeners
    If the student organizations aren't running a program of interest to you, some keener student will be bringing in guest speakers, organizing a Freedom to Read Week reading, selling merchandise, planning outings, etc. etc. 
  37. Collegiality
    Western Grads are apparently known in the wider library world for their collegiality. 
  38. LWB
    Librarians Without Borders
    , an extremely innovative organization within the library world, was founded by UWO students in 2005 and has made great progress in a very short time. 
  39. GRC
    The Graduate Resource Centre is a very welcoming, relaxing, well-designed special library that provides both print and electronic resources. 
  40. UGG's
    I was on a roll with the acronyms so I thought I'd stick this in.  Uhm, even though they're like rabbits around campus, there are none at FIMS? 
  41. Student Lounge
    I realised this is something I missed on my other list – I hate the new student lounge.  We used to have a little closet on the 2nd
    floor that was extremely convenient as you walked towards the main classroom area or the computer labs or GRC.  The new lounge is on the fourth floor so it's very out-of-the-way compared to the old one.  But I have to admit that the new one is a vast improvement – tons of space, lots of sitting room, a window with a view! 


  42. Here in the Real World
    Although the workload is very heavy and intense, many feel that it does an excellent job of simulating what the working world is like – constant deadlines, juggling multiple projects, a mixture of independent and group work.  Time management and prioritizing is huge at FIMS just like in the real world. 
  43. Joint Courses
    Increasingly, there are a number of joint courses offered with other library schools which allow you to experience a wider range of topics and meet fellow library students from across Canada. 
  44. Range of Courses
    I can't remember where I heard this but somewhere along the way, I was told that FIMS offers as many electives each term as any other library school in Canada.  Not sure if that's true but it sounds good!
  45. Reading/Research Weeks
    There's always been a research week in February but just this term, FIMS moved to a policy of 13-week courses (instead of 14) with one week designated as a reading week in both the summer and fall terms as well.  This week isn't an opportunity to book a ticket to Aruba but it is a chance to catch your breath as you may only have 1-2 make-up classes during the week rather than your typical 4-5. 
  46. Ample Computer Access
    There are three labs on the second floor so I don't think I've ever seen a time when you couldn't get on a computer.  Even if that was the case, there's a huge lab downstairs as well that's frequented by undergrads but often has room as well.


  47. Brown Bag Speaker Series
    Every fall, faculty and students present on their latest research on a bi-weekly basis in a series of very informative lectures. 

  48. When Schizophrenia Is A Good Thing
    One of the biggest charges against the program is also one of its greatest strengths.  It tries to be all things to all people – students who are interested in public, academic and special libraries will all find classes of interest to them; students who want very practical and very theoretical will find both; students who want to focus on technology, policy and various other areas of librarianship can create a unique program targeted to whichever area they're interested in.  Students can create whatever balance they prefer via their class selections. 
  49. Western Libraries
    The University of Western Ontario library system is one of the largest research library networks in Canada making it an excellent resource for a library student to be exposed to. 
  50. Grad Club
    The close proximity of FIMS to the Grad Club, right across the street, cannot be overlooked!
  51. [Edit: Here's a bonus point I missed in the original list.  All ALA-accredited library schools have to either have final exams or a 100% attendance policy.  FIMS has a 100% attendance policy which means no final exams (or other exams either.  The entire program is assignment-based.)
    By using up so many spaces on that list of profs, I know I'm missing things.  Anybody have some more suggestions?  Bueller?  Bueller? 

Comments 4

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    This is not an extra point, just something to add to #46: not only are there enough computers, there is access 24/7 which is incredibly useful for students who work better late at night, on weekends, etc. Even for people who have computer, printer, Internet, etc. at home – it's a great backup for when things go wrong. I was working on a paper, last minute as usual, and hadn't printed the articles I was using online, when my Internet connection went down (yeah, I use Rogers). Midnight, nobody to call at Rogers, no time to wait to see if it'll come back up, essay due in the morning – no problem. Just go over to campus, get the articles, and an hour later I'm back at home finishing the paper.
    24/7 access (with student card) is a huge plus for FIMS, even if it's true of other facilities and common to other universities.
    Also: hear, hear for the profs on your list. I think they all deserve to be their own number! (That's something for the 50 Ways to Improve list: better recognition for the excellent profs is needed. I don't know why these people are not celebrated more).

    Posted 12 Dec 2006 at 2:21 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Over in the “Bad Things” thread , Lauralee also mentioned how configurable FIMS computers are compared to some universities. You can install everything from your own desktop background to Firefox extensions and even some programs.
    As for the good profs, Linda B. spent a lot of time writing a letter nominating Elisabeth Davies (who's up there with J. Noon, P. McKenzie, G. Nickerson and M. Joyce for having more than two 6.0+ classes) for a teaching award in first term then we never heard anything more about it.
    I think I'm going to go back and highlight the profs with multiple 6.0's because they do need the recognition, dagnabit!

    Posted 12 Dec 2006 at 9:51 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Hey, Jason, great list of the top 50 things about FIMS. I would like to add something to #33 “Students from across Canada”, and that is, ” . . . and the United States”. I hope that the perspectives of your southern neigbors benefited the program, especially since some Canadian FIMS graduates will be finding employment at libraries in the States.

    Posted 14 Dec 2006 at 10:03 pm
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    That's a good point and a bit of an oversight on my part. There are indeed a few (not many but a few) American students taking the MLIS program at Western and perhaps an even larger number who at least seem to be considering the option of moving to the States at the end of their studies.

    Posted 15 Dec 2006 at 1:35 pm
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