Kim Pittman, Info. Lit. & Assessment Librarian, U Minnesota Duluth

Kim Pittman,
U Minn. Duluth

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

Following is a reflection by Kim Pittman, Information Literacy & Assessment Librarian University of Minnesota Duluth | Kathryn A. Martin Library. Kim’s primary research question was: Will expanded library involvement in a required first-year writing course help students develop increased persistence and problem-solving skills when conducting research?

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

Time was definitely my greatest challenge. It helped enormously to have team members who were willing to share the workload and make significant contributions to the project. It was also important that our team legitimately enjoyed working together. This enabled us to communicate more effectively and accomplish a great deal on a challenging timeline.

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

Assess something you actually value and find compelling, even if means you will need to use unfamiliar or challenging assessment methods. My team completed a content analysis of reflective essays, a method most of us were not previously familiar with. At times, we felt overwhelmed by the amount of data we collected and unsure about how to proceed, but our genuine interest in our research question helped keep us motivated and moving forward.

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

More than anything else, AiA expanded my sense of what’s possible in student learning assessment. My campus team’s enthusiasm for our project and for working together demonstrated to me that members of the campus community are willing (and in many cases, eager) to partner on assessment projects like this. Through AiA, I was also able to learn about and apply new assessment skills. As a result, I now feel much more capable of tackling large and small-scale assessment projects in my everyday work.

Sep 062016
 
Hope J. Houston, Associate Director & Manager of Reference Services, Bentley University Library

Hope J. Houston, Assoc. Director , Bentley University Library

The ACRL Value in Academic Libraries team asked recent participants in the Assessment in Action (AiA) 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 Hope J. Houston, Associate Director & Manager of Reference Services, Bentley University Library. Hope’s primary research question was: Do business students, in the integrated business project course, have more confidence in using library resources as a result of their research consultation with a reference librarian?

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

What happens when key players bow out of your project and a new plan has to be hatched at the 11th hour? And what happens when the creation, planning and implementation of the project then fall entirely on one person’s shoulders? You drop back and punt. Bentley’s original project had to be scrapped when team members went on sabbatical or left the university, taking with them their support and ideas.

Any successful library program relies on the relationship, built over time, between the librarian and faculty. Knowing when and how to capitalize on this partnership is key in being able to turn around a project destined for the dustbin. Remember, it only takes one faculty member to say, “Yes, I will work with you.”

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

Cast your net wide for people who will work with you – faculty, staff, technicians, other campus units. Be willing to switch gears and find others if the original team does not pan out. And don’t forget the people nearest you. To be totally successful you need willing librarians who bring knowledge, balance, expertise, and a sense of humor.

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

I learned how to triage. Choosing the right people, determining what is most important, letting go of things that overtaxed me, others, or that simply could not get done in time were essential for the successful completion of the project.

Aug 312016
 
kYmberly Keeton Lincoln University (Missouri)

kYmberly Keeton Lincoln University (Missouri)

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

Following is a reflection by kYmberly Keeton, Academic Librarian/Assistant Professor of Library Science at the Inman E. Page Library, Lincoln University (Missouri). kYmberly’s primary research question was: How in the world did one faculty library group come together to explore assessing students’ writing intensive projects in three academic semesters within a scholarly learning space at a Historically Black College University? The project website at Lincoln University is available here. 

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

The greatest challenge that I had during the AiA project was making sure that what was found in our assessment with regard to quantitative and qualitative information was conveyed and shaped in a way where an individual reading the assessment on their own would grasp the entire concept without direction from me as the designer, i.e. librarian team leader.

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

It is imperative that you take the time to sit down with faculty members that will be a part of your project as team members. Establishing a relationship with them and setting up expectations for communication during your project is important. Meeting with them will provide you with a good narrative to go by as it pertains to the needs of their students and what they would like to see happen in a collaborative setting; they are your network that you can go to for support.

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

I gained a level of trust with all of the faculty team members that participated in this project with me as a librarian.

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