Following is a reflection by Christina E. Dent, Instruction Librarian at Iwasaki Library, Emerson College. Christina’s primary research question was: Does librarian involvement in first-year writing classes impact student achievement and research skills?
1. What was your greatest challenge during the course of your Assessment in Action project?
My greatest challenge was probably just getting started and having confidence in myself to leave the team. I’m not a statistics person, so I never saw myself as someone who could run a project like this. But I had great statistics people on my team who helped me achieve the project vision.
2. What is your #1 recommendation for other librarians who want to conduct an assessment project on student learning and success?
Don’t reinvent the wheel. You’d be surprised how much information and data you already have that you can build upon for a larger scale project. Also, we had a lot of success with our project because we decided to work with a program–first-year writing–with whom we already had a great working relationship. Start with partners you already have and see if you can expand the scope of your assessment with them.
3. What is the #1 thing you gained through your participation in Assessment in Action?
My main insight may seem anticlimactic, but I was/am surprised that my team was able to do such a large scale project at all. I found the very idea daunting at first and wasn’t sure how I would pull it off. But large projects are just like small projects with more steps. They come together is the same way as any project–with planning and working with a strong, passionate team.