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.

 

The team from OCLC Research – which ACRL selected to design, develop, and deliver a new ACRL “Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success” – has recently submitted a progress report to the ACRL Board of Directors. The report details how the project team conducted a literature search in academic library journals and conference proceedings for scholarly and practice-based literature that addresses library contributions to student learning and success. It explains the ways the team analyzed the studies (using content analysis to portray the current state of library value studies in an institutional context) and identified themes for the research agenda.

In November, a first draft of the action-oriented research agenda will be sent to the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries (VAL) committee and released publicly for feedback. In mid November, you can hear more in a free “ACRL Presents” online open forum with VAL committee chair Jaime Hammond, project director Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC, and project team members Vanessa Kitzie and Stephanie Mikitish, doctoral candidates at Rutgers University. This will forum will allow for community members to ask questions and give reactions to the draft.

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.

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