"I highly recommend being a practicum site. The students we hosted over the years were always bright and enthusiastic. We almost always learned as much from them as they did from us." - Karen Bleakley, MLIS'89
Thank you for your interest in the Master of Information Studies Practicum program.
The fieldwork component is 100 hours, with a minimum of 50 hours (50%) spent on site. Vitual placements may be possible. Francophone and bilingual placements are welcome.
To offer a placement for the Winter 2016 Practicum (Jan. 7-Apr. 15, 2016), contact Elysia Donald, Practicum Coordinator. We ask that postings are submitted in early September 2015. Please get in touch as soon as possible to express interest.
Why become a Practicum Site Supervisor?
- Contribute to the profession by supporting the development of emerging information professionals.
- Provide valuable mentorship experiences and real-world opportunities for students to practice their skills.
- Develop and implement special projects.
- Benefit from energy, skills, knowledge, insights, and perspectives of students.
- Stay connected with the School and with McGill.
How to submit a Practicum posting
- Check the information about qualifications, requirements, roles, and responsibilities below, and contact the SIS Practicum Coordinator as soon as possible to express your interest in offering a placement.
- Review the practicum posting guidelines, and send your posting(s) by email to the SIS Practicum Coordinator. We ask that postings are submitted in early September 2015 or soon after in order that they can be offered for Winter 2016.
- Note for NEW sites or NEW supervisors at an established site: Please include a New Site Application Form. The form is to be completed once and will be kept on file for subsequent placements.
Please note that application to the program is competitive for both students and sites and involves an interview process before the placement is finalized. Placement is not guaranteed; however, the majority of students and sites are matched each year.
Site Supervisor qualifications
Practicum Site Supervisors:
- Are recognized information professionals (e.g., librarian, archivist, records manager, knowledge manager, information manager, digital strategy manager, etc.), normally with:
a) A Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) or equivalent ALA-accredited degree, OR
b) Qualifications and specialized expertise directly related to the skill area(s) of the Practicum project, approved by the School as meeting program requirements;
- Are established, normally, with 2 or more years of experience in the field;
- Have the authority to commit the organization to an agreement;
- Have an expressed interest in teaching and mentoring the student; understand that the goal of the practicum placement is to learn as well as to work.
Site Supervisor roles & responsibilities
The Practicum Site Supervisor is normally one individual who works most closely with the student and who assumes primary responsibility for the supervision of the student. The Site Supervisor:
- Develops a placement at a beginning professional level, scoped for completion within 100 hours.
- Selects a student through an interview process coordinated by the SIS Practicum Coordinator.
- Works with the student to design a learning and work plan and establish a regular work schedule; signs the Practicum Agreement to indicate consent to supervise the placement.
- Provides meaningful ways for the student to engage in and contribute to the agency or organization’s work.
- Recognizes the student’s status as a practicum student, and ensures all work required of him/her is appropriate for their level of competence.
- Provides the student with adequate workspace and a place to store personal items.
- Provides the student with an orientation– including general functions and goals of the agency, characteristics of the community and its users, and any key information for new workers, e.g., rules and guidelines, dress code, method for students to follow in asking questions, etc.
- Provides ongoing guidance and interpretation to the student, and reviews the progress of the Practicum through regular conferences.
- Offers constructive feedback on the student’s performance throughout the term and at mid-term and final evaluations.
- Schedules an exit interview with the student during the last week of work.
- Submits evaluation documents to the SIS Practicum Coordinator by the specified deadlines.
- Contacts the SIS Practicum Coordinator with any concerns regarding the Practicum.
Practicum posting guidelines
Information on what to include in your practicum posting is found here, including tips on scoping projects and samples of past postings.
1. Submit a Practicum posting, following the posting guidelines, by the submission deadline. For Winter placements, the deadline is normally late August or early September.
2. Conduct student interview(s). Potential students will be selected as suggested interviewees by the SIS Practicum Coordinator. Selection is based on student CVs and practicum site selections. Students are responsible for setting up interviews with potential site supervisors. After the interview(s), Site Supervisors will select preferred candidate(s) and inform SIS Practicum Coordinator (not students directly) of decision regarding each student. The SIS Practicum Coordinator will relay the information to the student, who will accept or decline the offer. Note: Site Supervisors are encouraged to identify preferred candidates as early as possible as students may receive more than one placement offer.
3. Develop the Learning & Work Plan with the student and sign the Practicum Agreement. Once a placement offer has been made, work with the student to prepare the Learning & Work Plan, and sign the Practicum Agreement.
4. Conduct formal mid-term & final evaluations. Conduct written evaluations of student performance using supplied evaluation forms, discuss with the student, and submit to the Practicum Coordinator by the specified deadlines. The purpose of the mid-term evaluation is to provide feedback to the student for areas of further development and to ensure placement goals are on track.
5. Arrange an exit interview with the student. Schedule an exit interview with the student in the final week of the Practicum; this may coincide with the final evaluation.
Is my site guaranteed a placement if I submit a Practicum posting?
- While the majority of students and sites are matched each year, placements are not guaranteed.
I would like to co-supervise a placement. Is that possible?
- In the case of co-supervision, we ask that one primary supervisor (the "Site Supervisor") is identified who agrees to take overall responsibility for the supervision of the Practicum and is the main contact with the School (see "Site Supervisor roles & responsibilities", above). Names and roles of additional staff who are expected to be involved in the placement, e.g., co-supervisors, are to be listed in the Learning and Work Plan.
What is the language of the Practicum program?
- Practicum forms and site-related correspondence will be made available to sites in English. However, site supervisors are welcome to submit Practicum placement descriptions and forms in English or French, as preferred.
- Sites may offer placements in English, French, or a combination. For bilingual or Francophone sites, please indicate level of speaking and writing required on your site posting.
Are placements paid or unpaid?
- Practicum placements are normally unpaid, except in rare situations, such as when an organizational mandate requires remuneration.
Are students required to have a work schedule at set days and times?
- Work hours are to be scheduled around other class times, as agreed by the student and supervisor.
What does the 100 hours of fieldwork include?
- The 100 hours are designated for all activities and deliverables, and are to be completed by the semester's end. The hours do not include the student's travel time or work on course assignments. It may be necessary to adjust or rescope the Learning and Work Plan during the placement due to unforseen circumstances or time restrictions. If so, the SIS Practicum Coordinator is to be informed and provided with a copy of the updated plan.
Is the program guided by any policies?
Yes. The Practicum is governed by a number of policies, including the the School's Practicum Intervention Policy, McGill Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, and McGill University’s General Liability Insurance Policy. Proof of insurance coverage is available on request. Please contact the SIS Practicum Supervisor for more information.
Is the Practicum graded?
- The course is evaluated (pass/fail) by the SIS Practicum Coordinator.
In addition to Practicum options, can my workplace recruit a student or graduate for work?
Yes, certainly! Please contact the SIS Practicum Coordinator for more information about posting jobs through the School.