The United States Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education recently announced a new Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) competition First in the World (FITW). The program will provide multi-year grants to institutions of higher education to spur the development of innovations that improve educational outcomes, make college more affordable for students and families, and develop an evidence base of effective practices. The grant announcement explains that innovations can take many forms, such as those that improve teaching and learning by redesigning courses and student supports or by leveraging technological developments.

The FITW competition aims to increase postsecondary access, affordability and completion for underrepresented, underprepared or low-income students at institutions across the country. Applications are due June 30, and FIPSE is holding pre-application webinars May 28 and June 4 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. EDT. See the First in the World website and the official Federal Register Notice for more details.

While ACRL is not eligible to apply, academic librarians could work with their own institutions and consortia to seek FITW funding. With $75 million dollars available, this could be a powerful mechanism for you to implement innovative strategies and effective practices which improve student outcomes. Use FITW as a catalyst to transform student learning, pedagogy, and instructional practices through creative and innovative collaborations on your campus. Leverage this as an opportunity to demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.

Think of ACRL when you develop your proposal. We can serve as a contractor to support your project in the following ways:

You may think of other ways ACRL could support you through our existing programs and services. Or perhaps you would benefit from having ACRL involved in a new way, as a full partner to offer more substantial support. To pursue any of these options as you develop your FITW proposals, be in touch with Kara Malenfant, ACRL’s senior strategist for special initiatives at kmalenfant@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext 2510.

 

Leveraging Emerging Learning Technologies to Promote Library Instruction”
By Beth Strickland, Laurie Alexander, Amanda Peters, and Catherine Morse
June 3, 2013, Educause Review: http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/leveraging-emerging-learning-technologies-promote-library-instruction

As we think about the value added by library services and instruction, the article “Leveraging Emerging Learning Technologies to Promote Library Instruction” highlights key elements of a successful library program — collaboration, assessment, revision, and repeat. Two of the Value Reports’ essential questions resounded as I read the work of these University of Michigan librarians:

1. How does the library contribute to the student experience?
2. How does the library contribute to student learning?

Determined to move beyond the traditional one-shot workshop and supported by the assistant dean of undergraduate education, these librarians collaborated with faculty to develop a for-credit research course. As they assessed their work, they realized there were key components they could enhance using learning technologies. Again, they collaborated with an instructional technologist and created a blended learning approach to the material. This work demonstrates their extension beyond the traditional role of library information literacy instruction and work in curriculum development:

In the area of student learning, academic libraries are in the middle of a paradigm shift. In the past, academic libraries functioned primarily as information repositories; now they are becoming learning enterprises (Bennett 2009, 194). This shift requires academic librarians to embed library services and resources in the teaching and learning activities of their institutions (Lewis 2007). In the new paradigm, librarians focus on information skills, not information access (Bundy 2004, 3); they think like educators, not service providers (Bennett 2009, 194). VAL Report p.37

The online component allowed them to monitor progress immediately instead of waiting for a bibliography or final project to review. This generated discussion among the course librarian faculty member and students in a way that was not as evident in the face-to face version of the class. While we think about how to develop similar classes in our own institutions, these University of Michigan librarians have given us a great model to help others conceive and convince constituents of the benefits inherent in assessing and reviewing workshop and curriculum design.

 

Facilitators of this blog have requested comments and updates from readers regarding projects that have been undertaken at their institutions.  The following is a guest report submitted by Cheryl Middleton, Associate University Librarian for Learning and Engagement, Oregon State University, Chair of Greater Western Library Association.

 

Exploring the Libraries Impact on Student Learning Outcomes in Greater Western Library Association Membership

October 10, 2012

Higher education and academic libraries are engaged in transformative conversations that focus on demonstrating the value and relevance the academic library brings the student learning experience.  In Spring 2011 the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), a consortium of 32 academic libraries, became part of that conversation through the adoption a strategic direction to evaluate GWLA libraries’ impact on student learning   The GWLA Board of directors formed a student learning taskforce (GWLA-SLO) and charged them to investigate local practices at GWLA Libraries, share the data collected and develop a research project that will gather and communicate evidence of the impact that academic libraries have on student learning at the institutions.

An electronic survey was distributed to 32 GWLA members during the Spring 2012 semester. Twenty-three GWLA libraries 72% of the membership) responded to a series of questions about the presence and assessment of student learning outcomes (SLOs) on their campuses. Three main questions were asked:

(1) Does your institution have SLOs that address information literacy (i.e., critical thinking, evaluation, and synthesis of information) at any of the following levels – campus, college/department, and/or library?

(2) Does the library assess information literacy SLOs at any of the following levels — campus-wide, college/department, and/or library level? and

(3) Does the library measure the impact of its collaborations with classroom faculty and other academic partners?

As part of the GWLA survey, respondents were asked to identify contacts on their campuses who are involved in student learning assessment activities for an additional follow up interview. Representatives from 19 Libraries were identified for interviewing.  Throughout the spring and summer of 2012 interviews of the follow-up contacts were conducted by telephone by teams of two taskforce members.  The findings from both the assessment data and the grounded theory analysis, a process that looks for emerging themes, will be used to inform the development of a research question for future GWLA project on measuring the impact of the academic library on student learning outcomes.  Our qualitative analysis is in the final stages of the process and the GWLA-SLO taskforce is currently planning a professional development event for its members in November 2013. This event will focus on sharing assessment practices and data and discussing the implications of the qualitative analysis of individual campus practices and their libraries’ role in those practices.

 

If you have a information on a project that you would like to share, please use the  survey form on the sidebar to the right.

© 2014 ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha