Jess Burkhardt, Public Services Librarian at DeSales University

Jess Burkhardt, Public Services Librarian at DeSales University

The ACRL Value in Academic Libraries team asked recent participants in the Assessment in Action program to reflect on their work and we and we continue to be thankful for the generous responses of AiA participants.

Following is a reflection by Jess Burkhardt, Public Services Librarian at DeSales University Trexler Library on her project: Is video instruction or traditional, face-to-face instruction more effective for teaching Searching as Strategic Exploration to DeSales ACCESS students?

  1. What was your greatest challenge during the course of your Assessment in Action project?

Since DeSales University is small, our greatest challenge was designing a research project that established enough controls to generate data that revealed true correlation. Our post-traditional undergraduate classes are taught in the evenings and the class sizes are very small. We still broke each class into two groups so that there was a control group (one-shot instruction taught in-person), but unfortunately there was still a bit of variety in the classes to which we gained access and our sample size was too small to determine statistical significance. After a pilot iteration we revised and repeated our project.

  1. What is your #1 recommendation for other librarians who want to conduct an assessment project on student learning and success?

I recommend that everyone who wants to conduct an assessment project displays the same level of perseverance we encourage our students to display in their research endeavors. Break your project into steps, repeat as necessary, and follow through to the end (sharing with stakeholders/your campus).

  1. What is the #1 thing you gained through your participation in Assessment in Action?

My participation in Assessment in Action provided me with the confidence to pursue assessment projects in the future and the joy of sharing the results with my campus. Faculty and administration provided a great deal of positive feedback and encouraged me to do more assessment in the future. We are continuing our study. It’s nice to be able to know that our services are meeting student needs!

 

 

 

The ACRL Value in Academic Libraries team asked recent participants in the Assessment in Action program to reflect on their work and we were simply floored by the generous responses.

Following is a reflection by Elise Ferer from Drexel University Libraries on her project: Putting the Library to Work: Information Literacy Skills in Co-op Job Search 

  1. What was your greatest challenge during the course of your Assessment in Action project?

My greatest challenge in my Assessment in Action project was trying to bring together people across campus who all had very busy schedules and different motivations along with carving out time for all of us to work on the project. I had to focus on what was the takeaways from the project for my campus team – why should they be interested in helping me with this project. 

  1. What is your #1 recommendation for other librarians who want to conduct an assessment project on student learning and success?

I would recommend that librarians who want to do this kind of work find campus partners who have some of the same goals, it makes the project mean more and creates or strengthens relationships for further outreach and assessment. 

  1. What is the #1 thing you gained through your participation in Assessment in Action?

The most important thing I gained from this project is a collaborative relationship with my campus partners, this project has led to increased involvement in what happens outside the four walls of the library and a better understanding of how we can support career services at Drexel.

 
Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC; Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research; and Mary Ellen K. Davis, ACRL executive director

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC; Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research; and Mary Ellen K. Davis, ACRL executive director; celebrating the ACRL/ OCLC collaboration.

ACRL has selected a team from OCLC Research to design, develop, and deliver a new ACRL “Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success.”

The team was selected after an open and competitive request for proposals to investigate and write a research agenda that provides an update on progress since the publication of ACRL’s 2010 Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report and examines important questions where more research is needed in areas critical to the higher education sector. The focus of the research agenda will be on institutional priorities for improved student learning and success (e.g., retention, persistence, degree completion).

“We are excited to be working with OCLC Research, a renowned independent research unit, to create this new agenda as a way to both guide academic librarians on actions they can take now to communicate their contributions to higher education and to identify essential areas that merit further investigation,” remarked ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis.

The agenda clearly will identify actions academic libraries can take now based on both existing scholarship and practice-based reports, and it will include 10-15 future-focused key inquiry questions that the literature and interview data suggest are essential for academic librarians to explore. In addition, the project will include an interactive visualization dashboard to help librarians understand and make use of existing literature for studies most relevant to their research interests. It will also contain a visualization component that highlights the major themes in the report, enables data entry based on local projects, and produces a graphic that can be shared with campus stakeholders.

Project director Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC, is joined by team members William Harvey, consulting software engineer at OCLC, and Vanessa Kitzie and Stephanie Mikitish, both doctoral candidates in the Library and Information Science program at Rutgers University. The team will seek regular feedback from both ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and an advisory group consisting of academic librarians at 12 institutions that include community colleges, 4-year colleges, and research universities from secular, non-secular, public, and private institutions representing the 4 geographical regions of the United States.

“We were impressed with OCLC’s in-kind contributions to the project as well as the composition of the advisory board and the active role they will take in connecting the team with vice presidents and provosts for interviews,” continued Davis. “Likewise, the robust data visualization component will prove a powerful tool in helping academic librarians navigate the rich body of scholarly research and practice-based literature that already exists. We are particularly fortunate to benefit from the unique perspective that Lynn brings through her work at OCLC and her deep engagement with ACRL as a former chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee.”

Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research, commented, “This project fits perfectly with our commitment to act as a community resource for shared research and development. Like ACRL, we are committed to scaling learning and innovation across the communities we serve. We are really pleased to be collaborating with ACRL on a project to advance thinking on a central library question.”

The team’s work began in early August 2016 and includes a presentation at the upcoming Library Assessment Conference as well as an online open forum in mid November to share progress with the broader community and solicit feedback. A final document of publishable quality, 60-100 pages in length, is due in May 2017 for public release in June. Read more about project deliverables and timeline in an excerpt of the successful proposal.

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About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at acrl.org, Facebook at facebook.com/ala.acrl and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC’s WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

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