Events Calendar

Higher education, "diversity," and information literacy

Wednesday, March 9, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Via Zoom
Head shot of Karen Nicholson

Presented by Karen Nicholson as part of the FIMS Seminar Series 2021/2022.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Contact Karen Kueneman at to receive the Zoom link.

Abstract: In the global knowledge economy, universities function as privileged sites for the reproduction of human capital—the knowledge, skills, competences, and other attributes embodied in individuals that are relevant to economic activity. Developing students’ skills, such as teamwork and information literacy, is an important focus of higher education, and discourses of excellence, diversity, leadership, and skills are now core to universities’ recruitment and marketing efforts.

It is in this context of this neoliberal “skills agenda” for higher education that information literacy emerged in the 1980s as a mission critical activity for the academic library. It is also in this context that we witness the emergence of corporate diversity models in higher education, which rationalize racial inclusion on the grounds that it brings instrumental pay-offs such as better learning and marketable skills, and an accompanying shift away from the affirmative action and equal employment opportunity movements of the 1970s and 1980s. While both information literacy and diversity, equity, and inclusion have been well studied in the LIS literature, and information literacy has been examined in the context of the neoliberal turn in higher education, the same cannot be said for diversity. In this conceptual talk then, I will provide a brief overview of diversity paradigms in higher education, primarily with a focus on the American context, with the intent of drawing parallels with approaches to information literacy.

Faculty of Information & Media Studies
Karen Kuneman

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