A Pilot Collaboration
During spring semester 2013, Dr. Mark Eddy (Research Services Librarian, Kelvin Smith Library) partnered with Dr. Susan Dominguez (Lecturer in English) to explore methods of information literacy (IL) instruction and assessment in her University Seminar course, Native American Environmentalism: Sustainability and Contemporary Energy Technologies.
“Our goal was to enhance student learning and performance outcomes in the course,” said Eddy. “We defined the resources and services necessary to implement library support, assess student IL competencies and modify our instruction to meet specific student needs.”
Although RSL involvement in SAGES courses is not unusual, KSL’s Research Services team is continually looking for ways to better assess IL and improve as instructors. For this pilot collaboration, Eddy’s efforts included multiple planning meetings and regular class visits to enable customized research consultation and instruction beyond typical RSL participation.
"I believe the frequent presence of Dr. Eddy in the classroom contributed to better, balanced research papers by the students,” said Dominguez. “They were less stressed about the research process and had more time to concentrate on smoothing out their writing.”
An end-of-course survey demonstrated significant improvement in core IL and research skills. Feedback also reflected that the library research services and RSL support were appreciated by students and enhanced their educational experience and academic performance.
“I learned a lot about using the library's collection more effectively than just inputting terms into the search bar,” stated one student involved in the course. “I feel I will now be better prepared for future research-oriented classes.”
Eddy also found the opportunity rewarding, and expressed that it was a true collaborative experience: “This wouldn't have been possible without the willingness of Dr. Dominguez to collaborate, plan, explore techniques, take the time to meet with me and embed me in the class,” said Eddy. “We combined our professional experience to help students discover many resources available at KSL and to cultivate research skills that can be applied in future courses and post-college life.”
In fall of 2012, Kelvin Smith Library introduced a new program to provide all incoming first-year CWRU students with their own Personal Librarian (PL) to serve as an informed point of contact. The PLs help students navigate the academic library environment, assist with research, answer library-related questions and more. This year, PLs also sponsored events such as “KSL Lunch & Learn” sessions and a tour of Dittrick Medical History Center. PLs are dedicated to helping all students become successful researchers by serving as their library advisors during the first year at CWRU. For example, PLs can help students to identify the best resources, formulate search strategies and connect with library experts in different subject areas. PLs are available any time of the year, even when students are on break.