ALA Annual: ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group

 Library Impact on Students, Student Retention  Comments Off on ALA Annual: ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group
Jul 072015
 

One way that libraries can demonstrate value is through impact on student retention. This blog post from Jaime Hammond has examples of three libraries pursuing correlation studies of library impact on student retention.


The ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group, formed in 2012 to “discuss methods, best practices, and assessment for developing case-by-case and programmatic efforts related to student retention,” met at ALA Annual in San Francisco. This year’s program featured panelists who had successfully demonstrated a relationship between their library and student retention at their institution.

The first panelist was Patricia Banach, Director of Library Services at Eastern Connecticut State University. Banach described a college-wide retention study that identified non-attendance in a mandatory library orientation program as being an early indicator of dropping out. Attendance at the orientation was one of the most significant variables relating to student retention and correlated with the admissions variable that indicated at-risk students. Anyone not already flagged as at-risk who missed the library orientation was placed in a proactive advising group early in the first semester. However, retention remained difficult to correlate to information literacy skills, despite efforts to collect baseline skills in the orientation.

Diane Bever, Reference and Information Services Librarian, and Yan He, Information Literacy Librarian, both from Kokomo Library, Indiana University were next to speak. Indiana chose to replicate the University of Minnesota study (http://librarydatastudentsuccess.blogspot.com). Publicizing widely across campus, they collected multiple types of data, including:

  • reference questions,
  • circulation statistics,
  • library instruction attendance,
  • material delivery and InterLibrary Loan requests, and
  • EZproxy log ins

Librarians then requested data from IR for those students, all of whom had used a special username to log in and had also signed an opt-in consent form. While only 75 students signed the consent form, the findings were representative of the campus as a whole. Students who used the library had a significantly higher GPA and 92% were retained from fall to spring of that year, compared to 47% of non-library users.

While pleased with the results, Bever and He stressed partnering with institutional research staff and early publicity as keys to success. They also felt that an opt-out consent would have yielded greater usable data, and swipe cards would make the process easier for students and prevent illegible handwriting from impeding data collection. Finally, they plan to collaborate with IT and the student writing center to collect more data and will share their findings with the library community as well as their own college.

The next panelist, Rachel Cannady worked with new students as the Scholarly Resources Librarian for Education at the University of Texas, San Antonio (and until recently, at Mississippi State).. Because these were new online students, they never set foot on campus, and so Cannady created a module in the college’s online orientation series on the library for both undergraduate and graduate students. The online module was very highly rated by participants. The goal of the program was to ease students into distance education- particularly because distance students thought they wouldn’t have access to the library. Cannady also shared research regarding the correlation between orientations and retention, and that students leave college because they feel as if they don’t fit in, especially during the first semester. She stressed the importance of sharing library data relating to retention and maintaining parity between on ground and online services.

Kathleen Pickens, the Coordinator of Information Services at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, stressed qualitative assessment. Pickens noted that funding in Ohio is directly tied to retention and completion, rather than enrollment. However, it is difficult to pinpoint impact on students because there are so many factors involved. Students coming to the library are asked, ““how did the library help you be successful this year?” Pickens also recommended demonstrating value by supporting services and providing resources to at-risk students, and then sharing that information in newsletters and other publications.

The session concluded with questions and answers on dealing with Institutional Review Boards, what data librarians can or cannot have access to, barriers to student success, and supporting student connectedness as a form of retention support. The ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group can be found in ALA Connect at http://connect.ala.org/node/173037, which includes a retention and libraries bibliography and updates on meetings and other activities.

 

Online discussion: Assessing how libraries contribute to student success

 Events, Library Impact on Students  Comments Off on Online discussion: Assessing how libraries contribute to student success
Nov 132014
 

Readers of this blog may be interested in an online discussion hosted next week by the ACRL-ULS Committee on the Future of University Libraries. The discussion is free and will be held on Thursday, November 20 from 3-4 pm EST. To register, go to: https://acrl.webex.com/acrl/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=295479088

Some of the speakers and their projects have been featured here in the past.

  • Just last month we highlighted Eric Ackermann‘s Assessment in Action project regarding the impact of library games on information confidence.
  • We’ve been talking about the big library data project at University of Minnesota since 2012, and we have followed the publications resulting from that work.

Details about the online discussion follow.

Feeling pressed to prove that your library contributes to student success?  Are administrators demanding evidence that funding the library helps retain and graduate students?  While it may seem obvious  to librarians that students would not succeed without the library, demonstrating that can be a challenge.

Read short descriptions of ways three libraries have effectively assessed their contributions to student success, and then join this online discussion, where assessment librarians will encourage discussion of various ways to measure and demonstrate how your library helps students succeed.

Speakers:

Eric Ackermann (Head of Reference Services and Library Assessment, Radford University) will speak on how his library has tracked how the library’s participation in freshman orientation and core courses has affected retention.

Jennifer L. Jones (Assessment & User Experience Librarian, Georgia State University) will explain how her library followed three cohorts of undergraduates to assess the effect of using library workstations, study rooms, and research clinics.

Shane Nackerud (Technology Lead for Libraries Initiatives, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) and Janet Fransen (Engineering Librarian, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) will discuss the big data model the library used in partnership with the university’s Office of Institutional Research to assess the library’s contribution to student outcomes.

The speakers have prepared background stories to help you prepare for this discussion.  Find the descriptions of their successful projects at http://bit.ly/1utyvuS.

Show Your Users the Value of Academic Libraries!

 Communicating Value, Library Impact on Students  Comments Off on Show Your Users the Value of Academic Libraries!
Nov 102014
 

The ACRL Value of Academic Libraries committee is pleased to make available customizable posters that cite research on the value of using academic libraries:

VAL poster template (Customizable PPT template)

The PowerPoint file above can be downloaded and modified to include your library’s name and logo. The slides are set at 24″ x 36″ for large-format printing, but can be modified.

The posters cite studies from Portal: Libraries and the Academy and Evidence Based Library and Information Practice that indicate students who make use of library resources have higher retention rates and GPA.

If you would like to use the posters without customization, we also have a PDF version available:

VAL poster (Downloadable PDF)

If you use the posters in your library or on your campus, please share pictures! You can find ACRL on Twitter @ALA_ACRL.

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