School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 504: Leadership and Management Principles for Library and Information Services

Course Outline
Winter 2018


Instructor: Jason Openo
Office hours
: By appointment

Calendar Description:
An introduction to the principles and practices of leadership and management in the professional lives of librarians, archivists, and other information service practitioners. Required course.


You are the future of libraries.  Upon completion of the course, you should be able to undertake introductory management responsibilities and leadership roles that might occur early in a professional career. You will have an introductory understanding of the complex issues that exist in the milieu of different organizational environments, and should be able to: 

  • Identify the inter-related and interdependent core competencies of leadership 
  • Define and articulate your leadership narrative, including your personal leadership style, ethics, values, and motivation to lead
  • Critique and apply a general leadership theory
  • Outline and explore central issues in leadership in Canadian libraries, archives and other knowledge organizations
  • Apply leadership theory to social problems, particularly in relation to libraries
  • Review and consider strategic change management techniques as a leadership function
  • Reflect on, evaluate, and demonstrate personal leadership competencies
  • Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals 
  • Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems


Introduction to organizational and management theories and concepts including historical background, planning, finance, marketing, human resources, and change management.


"The best answer to the question, 'What is the most effective method of teaching?' is that it depends on the goal, the student, the content and the teacher. But the next best answer is, 'Students teaching other students.'" (McKeachie, et al., 1987, p. 63).  

This course applies a social constructivist teaching philosophy, requiring a great deal of self-expression through discussion, reflection, and peer learning.  Learners are expected to engage in knowledge-creation as a group, to bring the value of prior learning to the course, and to exert as much choice as possible.  It is largely a self-directed exploration of leadership. There are assigned readings, online discussions, and collaborative projects where students construct products as evidence of learning. 

Instructor Assumptions:

I have designed this course under the assumption that you care about libraries, archives, and other knowledge organizations, and that this matters so much to you that you will work to make the most of this opportunity.  Master-level students are adult learners, meaning that they are self-directed, motivated to learn, and will take responsibility for their own learning. I view my role of instructor as a facilitator of learning to guide students through the course material.  This course is not about memorization of facts, but requires students to relate to the material presented on a personal level in ways meaningful to themselves as information professionals.  Continuous reflection is essential to maximize learning and is encouraged throughout course discussions and assignments.  

As an adult learner who is pursuing my Doctorate of Education, I recognize that adult learners manage multiple engagements (children, spouse, work, education), and I encourage students to reach out to me for help if they are having difficulty with the course.

Course Relationships:

Pre-requisites: LIS 501

Recommended Texts / Readings:
  1. Law, M. Z. (2017). Cultivating engaged staff: Better management for better libraries. Libraries Unlimited, Inc.
  2. Lew, S. & Yousefi, B. (2017). Feminists among us: Resistance and advocacy in library leadership. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press
  3. Antonelli, M. & McCullough, M. (2012). Greening libraries. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press

The course also has weekly readings.  Please see the unit schedule or the course schedule at-a-glance for the reading list and the articles included in the reading list are available online.  In addition to the required readings it is also expected that students will conduct independent research for the completion of the course's team-based assignments.  NOTE: While no amount of reading can prove "academic rigor," I have used the guideline of 60 pages/week as a way to ensure a quality student learning experience, as well ample content for learners to complete the assignments and discuss with each other. 

Technology Requirements:

This course is an online course which will be accessible through eClass. You will need the following technology for full access to resources and to participate fully: 

  • a high-speed internet connection
  • a computer or tablet with a microphone and speakers (for synchronous group work, if you so choose, and presentations)
  • a browser (Chrome is recommended) that will allow you to read the attached documents (Google docs, pdf), watch the designated videos, create assignments, etc
  • word processing program - Google Docs Word is recommended.

Since participation in the discussion forums and the completion of assignments are important components of this course, students will serve their interests best by having a regular presence in our online learning environment.

If you need technical support, post a note in the question forum for your instructor or contact the eClass team: (780) 492-9372 or

Student Learning Assessment:

In keeping with the Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning, a diverse array of methods (team projects, reflective essays, online discussion, and peer assessment) will be used to develop the knowledge, abilities, values and habits of mind that will affect academic success and performance beyond the classroom.  

There is no definitive or final word on what successful leadership or effective management looks like, and I see the primary educational aim of this course to enable you to grasp the fundamental concepts in management and understand the importance of leadership for your future career as information professional.  When I received my Master of Library Information Science and shook the hands of my faculty advisor, he said, "Congratulations, now your learning can really begin." This was very true in my lived experience of learning how to manage employee performance, build zero-based budgets, and identify strategic directions.

The list of assignments includes:

Assessment 1: Leadership competencies, concept map and elaboration - 20% (due end of week 4, February 4)

Assessment 2: Reflective essay on leadership theory and style - 25% (due end of week 8, March 4)

Assignment 3: Expert presentation on a management conundrum- 20% (due end of week 11)

Assignment 4: Trends analysis and report - 20% (due end of week 13)

Assignment 5: Online discussion - contributions to the learning environment - 15%

See the individual units and the course schedule at-a-glance for more details on course assessments and week-by-week learning activities. 


McKeachie, W. J., Pintrich, P. R., Lin, Y., and Smith, D. A. F. National Center for Research to Improve Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, A. M., & And, O. (1987). Teaching and Learning in the College Classroom. A Review of the Research Literature (1986) and November 1987 Supplement.

Inclusive Language & Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of equality and respect for all people within the university community, and to educating faculty, staff and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students' experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Specialized Support and Disability Services.

Academic Integrity:

The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Grading Policy:

Grades reflect professional judgments of student achievement made by instructors. These judgments are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade. 

For more information about the University of Alberta's Grading System as outlined in the Graduate Program Manual, please visit FGSR's page.

Late assignments:  

Life happens. If you are going to be late, you need to (1) notify me before the due date, and (2) provide me a new due date for when the assessment task will be handed in. If you abide by the new date you set, all is well. If you miss the new date you set, there will be a 10% reduction in the final grade. 

Recording Lectures:

The instructor does not plan to lecture much (though this is not because he doesn't have a lot to say on the major course topics). In the event he should feel so inspired to lecture, it will be recorded.