#ABetterU: Meet Drexel University Online Graduate Jan Tillotson
Three years ago, Jan Tillotson ’14 made a bold move. She quit her job as a supervisor at an academic library and enrolled in Drexel University’s online Master’s in Library and Information Science program. Tillotson, a married mother of six children said the decision to pursue her MSLIS degree was difficult, but necessary to reach her career goals.
“It was a hard decision to make but I knew I didn’t want to just go to school to get a piece of paper. I wanted to learn, and in order to do that I had to concentrate and that’s hard to do when you have a full-time job and a family,” said Tillotson.
“In all honesty, going to Drexel was not the easy way, it was not the cheap way, but to me it was definitely worth it to get the education.”
Tillotson said her decision was driven by a desire to advance in her career. She had already gained experience working her way up through the ranks in her field, beginning nearly 10 years earlier as a public library circulation clerk, and gaining various promotions along the way to her most recent role as a circulation supervisor. But in her field, having an MSLIS degree was still a critical component to getting certain salary increases and promotions.
In Drexel’s MSLIS program, Tillotson said she gained in-depth knowledge about library technologies and other topics related to the business side of operating a library, such as grant writing, web design, and the differences between managing an academic library versus a public library.
The combination of her work experience and her newly obtained MSLIS degree from Drexel helped Tillotson attain her dream job when she was appointed director of Towanda Public Library in Towanda, Pa. earlier this year. Tillotson said she applies the skills she learned in Drexel’s MSLIS program daily in her new role as the library’s director.
“I’ve had to draw from the web design because I maintain our websites here and I’ve definitely drawn from the budgeting skills taught in the course about managing information services. I’m getting ready to start with some grants so that grant writing assignment and class was hugely important,” said Tillotson.
“I feel as if I can breathe for a minute and relish in the attention and the accolades that I am getting from my community, friends and colleagues. It is refreshing to know that I have done what I set out to do nearly 15 years ago.”