ACRL has selected 55 institutional teams to participate in the third year of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). The program is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and carried out in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The teams, representing all types of institutions, come from 24 states, the District of Columbia and Australia. For a list of currently confirmed institutions, see the AiA program webpage.
In their applications each institution identified a team, consisting of a librarian and at least two additional team members as determined by the campus (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researchers or academic administrator). They also identified goals for their action learning projects.
“The top applications were distinguished by a clear connection between the team’s project goals and institutional priorities as well as strong institutional commitment to support the team’s project during the course of the AiA program,” said Lynn Silipigni Connaway, vice chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and senior research scientist at OCLC.
The proposed topics for selected institutions include:
- Does the point-of-need integration of library instructional materials and services into the blended learning environment improve the quality of nontraditional student papers in undergraduate courses with a research component?
- What is the contribution of the library internship program on student learning and career development?
- What impact can an enhanced library program based on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy have in curricular experiments designed to develop knowledge, skills, and habits of mind?
- How do students’ co-curricular interests (leadership, entrepreneurship, service, etc.) impact the perceived importance or satisfaction with the library’s services, collections, and facility?
- What is the impact of an information literacy instructional program for students preparing for an experiential learning experience, co-op? What is the perceived application of information literacy skills by both employers and students on co-op, and what is the relationship to student retention?
- Can we find a correlation with students’ library usage and student success (grades, retention, and completion rates)? What relationships will we find by incorporating library data points (reference interactions, physical space usage, instruction sessions, library research consultations, and collection usage) into the customer relationship management tool currently used by key departments on campus such as advising, financial aid, and student communication?
- Do students who attend research data services workshops and/or data management classes demonstrate improved knowledge of and practice of effective data management practices following training/instruction? How does students’ work with data, data sets, and/or databases in analog and/or digital form affect their ability to think administratively, critically, pragmatically, and technically about how they use, manage, and store data? How does access and use of collaborative research data infrastructure impact student’s capacity for and effectiveness in working within research teams?
To ensure project results are disseminated to the broader community, each institutional team will submit a final report and each librarian team leader will prepare and deliver a poster at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. The AiA program, part of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, employs a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer network over the course of the 14-month long program, which runs from April 2015-June 2016. The librarians will participate as cohort members in a one-year professional development program that includes team-based activities carried out on their campuses. An important component of the AiA program is establishing a learning community where librarian team leaders have the freedom to connect, risk, and learn together.
“The variety of projects and diversity of institutions is inspiring,” said Lisa Hinchliffe, co-lead facilitator in the AiA program and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It is an honor to be working with such dedicated librarian team leaders, and the facilitators are pleased to see the AiA community of practice continue to develop and grow with this third year of participants.”
Strong results from AiA teams are already evident in the January report synthesizing more than 70 projects from the first year with an accompanying executive summary to share broadly with campus stakeholders and a searchable online collection of individual team project descriptions. A second year of AiA is well underway with an additional 70 institutional teams who will be submitting their final reports in June and presenting posters at the ALA Annual Conference in 2015.
AiA is a three-year program, and ACRL will use this third year of the AiA grant to inform how it can best support the community in developing and carrying out assessment projects going forward. The IMLS grant funded the majority of the costs for developing the AiA program and for delivering it the first two years. The third year of the grant marks a transition year to determine if this program is sustainable or if other models better address the needs of the community.