Council of Independent Colleges + ACRL Value Committee

 Communicating Value, General  Comments Off on Council of Independent Colleges + ACRL Value Committee
Aug 272015

This blog post is one in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. The following post from Lis Cabot who writes about her liaison work with the Council of Independent Colleges.

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities that works to advance institutional quality and increase awareness of the contributions of small and mid-size private institutions to society.  ACRL has co-sponsored many initiatives with the CIC. The Council was a co-sponsor of ACRL’s IMLS grant in support of the Value of Academic Libraries initiative. CIC also offers scholarships for college library directors to attend the ALA Annual Conference.    As the ACRL Liaison to CIC, I attend an annual Chief Academic Officers Institute where I offer programming that highlights the contributions of academic libraries to institutional effectiveness. Recent institutes have included Chief Student Affairs Officers and Chief Financial Affairs Officers. I shared examples of CIC member libraries collaborative campus projects with the Chief Student Affairs Officers. As a major employer of student workers, academic libraries contribute to student retention and recruitment. Several libraries develop residence hall programming and cultural activities. I find these administrators to be very interested in evolving library services, resources, and physical spaces.

Academic officers tend to be natural supporters of libraries and look to librarians for evidence of our contributions to teaching and learning success, as well as to institutional mission.   They are keenly interested in collaborative initiatives whereby academic libraries partner with other campus units.   Deans and provosts frequently cite budget challenges and applaud our efforts in the areas of resource sharing and consortia initiatives.   CIC goals align nicely with ACRL’s Strategic Goals in the Plan for Excellence. CIC is interested in making the case for independent higher education and fostering institutional effectiveness. Academic libraries work to demonstrate alignment with institutional outcomes.   CIC also focuses on forming collaborations to create and strengthen institutional programs. ACRL and academic libraries seek to leverage partnerships in support of mutual goals. CIC assists institutions in improving their educational offerings, administrative and financial performance, and visibility. This focus aligns nicely with ACRL’s goal of accelerating the transition to a more open system of scholarship and promotion of new structures that reward and value open scholarship.

CIC has also offered an annual workshop on Information Fluency in the Disciplines. Teams of faculty, librarians, and academic administrators from CIC schools are selected to participate in the workshops. During the workshop, the institutional teams focus on the development of local initiatives that introduce and reinforce information fluency skills in academic programs and/or academic disciplines. I facilitate some of the working sessions at the workshop and work with individual teams. I enjoy working with the teams and field inquiries post-workshop from several participants. I highlighted ACRL’s work on revisions to the Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education at the workshops. I also co-presented on institutional approaches to “Developing Information Fluency Across the Four Years”. I highlight the collaborative approach we use at Ithaca College, engaging disciplinary faculty in the identification of core student learning outcomes linked to specific library resources and services. As a result of my participation the workshop, I have been invited to a CIC member campus to present on our approach and to work with a group of faculty and librarians.

I report on my CIC activities to the College Library Section’s Executive Committee at Midwinter and Annual Conferences.   I have also forwarded relevant information to ACRL’s Strategic Goal Committees.

The ACRL-CIC relationship continues to be an opportunity for collaboration and engagement.   Given that CIC member institutions are small to medium-sized colleges and universities, they naturally focus on creating a compelling undergraduate experience. CIC academic officers and faculty continue to welcome and support the contributions of their libraries.



Libraries and High Impact Educational Practices

 Events, General, Library Impact on Students  Comments Off on Libraries and High Impact Educational Practices
Aug 172015

There is an ACRL eLearning webcast titled “Collaborating for Student Success: Libraries and High Impact Educational Practices” on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.

The description of the webcast:

In 2008 the Association of American Colleges and Universities published High-Impact Educational Practices by George D. Kuh.  These high-impact practices (HIPs) have been well-researched and proven to contribute to student success and retention.  Because of their success, HIPs have been implemented at many colleges and universities across the U.S.  At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), high Impact practices were extensively used in developing the most recent strategic plan. Librarians at UNCG were quite involved in the strategic planning process and collaborated closely with Academic and Student Affairs to implement the plan. To provide solid evidence of how the Libraries support high impact practices, we prepared an extensive report with very specific examples of our Libraries’ involvement with each practice.  Data for an academic year were also included to illustrate the extent of the Library’s contributions to student success.  The report was distributed widely on campus so that the Chancellor, Provost, academic Deans and other campus leaders would be well-informed of the Libraries’ significant value and impact on student success.

This interactive webcast will provide a review of research on how high impact practices foster student success nationally. Then, using learning communities (LCs) as a case study, it will provide information on how LCs contribute to student retention and success.  It will also recommend strategies for partnering with other campus units to promote high impact practices and then use the results to demonstrate the value and impact of the library on its campus.

Learn more and register at

Working with Campus Planners Opens New Venue for Assessing Library Spaces

 Communicating Value, General  Comments Off on Working with Campus Planners Opens New Venue for Assessing Library Spaces
Apr 172015

We welcome a guest post from Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries and Professor, College of Computing & Informatics at  Drexel University Libraries

As ACRL liaison to SCUP [Society for College and University Planners] I have become increasingly aware of how institutional planners and architects are addressing key issues in higher education.  I also try to impress such campus colleagues with contributions librarians make to the same set of topics.  In this blog post I share an example of an initiative, funded by a SCUP managed prize.  Through it, a collaboration of expertise from the practice of architecture, faculty research, and librarianship is focusing on creating a tool to assess learning within library space.  The broad research interest is to understand how factors in an environment relate to learning.

I am honored to have received the 2014-15 Perry Chapman prize with my two colleagues:   W. Michael Johnson is a practicing architect specializing in educational programming and academic facility design, and  is also an Adjunct Professor at The Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY/CUNY, teaching how to use big data and empirical modeling in building design. Michael Khoo, Ph.D., is assistant teaching faculty at Drexel’s College of Computing and Informatics, with degrees in anthropology and communication, and fifteen years of ethnographic and qualitative research experience in field sites including libraries, archives, and digital libraries.   I am the practicing librarian on the research team, with over forty years of library administrative leadership experience, focusing on services, applications of technologies, and space design, as well as research, teaching and publications especially on topics of evaluation and assessment.

Since summer 2014 we have been studying how physical conditions influence learning outside of classrooms.  With assistance of students hired through the project, we are taking low-resolution time-lapse images with ceiling mounted cell phone cameras and recording these in a database.  These images allow us to study student engagement behaviors while they protect personal privacy.  The research records patterns of peer engagement among students, mapping the proximity between people as a proxy for the direct exchange of information.  Our IRB review determined that our work does not constitute human–subjects research.

Our goal is to provide evidence of physical conditions that foster a broad sharing of ideas across a campus. The outcome of the year-long project will be creation and testing of a tool to measure the density and frequency of peer interaction. This proximity mapping tool is intended to allow any campus planners, including librarians, to easily and confidentially gather empirical evidence for improving designs of learning environments.

For more information, including some sample images and updates, please visit our blog at:

The Perry Chapman prize of $10,000 has been awarded annually since 2012. As described on the SCUP website, “This prize funds research in the planning and design of institutions of higher education. The prize is intended to further the research, development, and dissemination of emerging knowledge to improve campus environments in support of their institution’s mission.”   Applications are now sought for the 2015-16 year which is the last scheduled for this prize; for details see   SCUP administers the prize in honor of Perry Chapman and The Hideo Sasaki Foundation supports it.  Deadline for submission of proposals for 2015-16 is May 31, 2015.

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