Assessment in Action LogoACRL is seeking applications for a new designer/facilitator of the program the “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA). Applicants wishing to join the design/facilitation team will have engaged with the AiA program during the first or second year in some capacity (e.g. team leader, team member, library dean/director, researcher, etc.). Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Central on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

In September 2012, ACRL was awarded a National Leadership Demonstration Grant of $249,330 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for this three- year project, undertaken in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The grant supports the design, implementation and evaluation of a program to strengthen the competencies of librarians in campus leadership and data-informed advocacy. Year 1 of the grant included 75 institutions, in Year 2 there were 73 institutions selected, and Year 3 – which begins in April 2015 – will serve up to 125 institutions.

The current five member design/facilitation team (see biographies) seeks to add one additional member to participate in Year 3 of the AiA program as well as assist in planning future programs. The design/facilitation team works virtually and in person in designing and facilitating the 14-month long experience for each of the cohorts.

Scope of work
Serving as a member of the curriculum design/facilitation team is a continuous year-round commitment of approximately 2-5 hours/week with more concentrated time before webinars and in-person sessions. The work involves regular planning calls and in person design meetings, developing materials (i.e., exercises, handouts, and presentations), being active in the online community, aiding in the development of regular webcasts, and participating during the in person events for the AiA librarian team leaders.

Under the terms of the grant, ACRL reimburses curriculum designer/facilitators for a portion of their travel costs to extend the time we anticipate they would already be spending at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, ALA Annual Conference, and ACRL 2015 Conference. Additional travel funding may be available for non-librarian designer/facilitators. ACRL will provide an honorarium that takes into account the full range of duties: curriculum design, virtual participation, and year-long facilitation responsibilities. The specific terms and responsibilities of both parties will be articulated in an annually renewable contract with ACRL.

While Year 3 of AiA is built on the first two years and the foundation is in place, we are looking to adjust the curriculum based on the new facilitator’s experience as a participant and to plan future programs.

Most of the work involved in facilitating the efforts of participants in the AiA learning community will take place virtually (online asynchronous classroom, webcasts). However, members of the curriculum design/facilitation team must be available to attend in person events for librarian team leaders, which are held in conjunction with the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conferences. A full-day meeting will be scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday June 25, 2015, 1-5 p.m. and Friday, June 26, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: San Francisco, CA. Cohort 3, first meeting.
  • Thursday January 7, 2016, 1-5 p.m. and Friday, January 8, 2016, 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Boston, MA. Cohort 3, second meeting.
  • June 23-28, 2016: Orlando, FL. Cohort 3, poster sessions.

In addition to the above meetings for selected AiA librarian team leaders, the full design/facilitation team meets separately as follows:

  • A full-day planning retreat March 25, 2015, in conjunction with the ACRL National Conference in Portland, Oregon.
  • Preparation/debrief meetings are scheduled at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference before and after the events for AiA librarian team leaders. Additional planning meetings may also be scheduled.
  • Final program/wrap-up in conjunction with ALA 2016 Annual Conference.

The successful curriculum designer/facilitator must be conversant with issues and challenges of libraries in higher education. They must possess:

  • Willingness to participate throughout the length of the AiA program (in addition to assisting in rollout of follow up programs), virtually and in person, in designing and facilitating the 14-month long experience for each librarian cohort and institutional team members.
  • Experience serving as a convener and facilitator of educational activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and deliver events, activities, and modules that are experiential, support action learning, and foster reflection among learners.
  • An ability to foster connections and create learning environments where teams can exchange ideas and share experiences and information.
  • Rich knowledge of the dynamic nature of higher education assessment, including a keen awareness of the forces outside the sector driving for greater accountability.
  • A nuanced understanding of how individual units on campus can collaborate to best demonstrate and communicate their contributions to the overall goals and missions of their institutions.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to work with diverse group members, and commitment to developing strong, collegial relationships with curriculum design team members and the participants in the AiA learning community.
  • Working knowledge of the issues and challenges of libraries in higher education.

Candidates should highlight additional qualifications in areas such as:

  • Experience designing and delivering curriculum for an audience that includes librarians as well as other campus stakeholders.
  • Experience facilitating learning over time and in multiple formats (i.e., beyond the one-off workshop).
  • Demonstrated knowledge of multiple assessment methods, both quantitative and qualitative, data collection strategies, and analytical techniques. A deep appreciation of the integral relationship between assessment questions, data acquisition, and analytical methodologies.
  • Experience analyzing existing administrative data which emanates from different campus units (i.e., libraries and office of institutional research).
  • Experience designing protocols and gathering new data through questionnaires, semi structured interviews, and focus groups.
  • Adept at communicating and presenting assessment project results.

The success of the applicant’s own AiA project is not a determining factor in the selection. Many projects did not fully reach their goals. The team seeks a new designer/facilitator who learned from their project, analyzed results for cultural, strategic, and assessment challenges, and is helping their library move forward with assessment.

To apply, please prepare the following materials. Applications must be submitted electronically as a single PDF document that includes:

  1. A letter addressing the following questions (two pages maximum).
    1. Why you want to become a member of the team for ACRL’s Assessment in Action program?
    2. What was the role you played in the AiA project on your campus?
    3. What contributions could you make to this program that align with the qualifications?
    4. Are there relevant experiences of which you would like us to be aware?
  2. Your resume.
  3. The names and contact information for two references who have direct knowledge of your qualifications for this role, including one with direct knowledge of your skills as a facilitator/teacher.

The single PDF application must submitted via email by 5 p.m. Central on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, to ACRL Program Coordinator Chase Ollis at

ACRL has formed a small review team, which includes member leaders and staff, to consider applications. The process includes checking references and a telephone interview. The group will make selections and notify all applicants of their status by Friday, February 20, 2015.

If you have questions about this position, the Assessment in Action program, or ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, please contact Kara Malenfant, ACRL Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives, at or (312) 280-2510.


The first participants in ACRL’s Assessment in Action program presented results from their projects at poster sessions at ALA Annual in Las Vegas, and their results are also being disseminated in library publications and conference presentations. We’ re thrilled to see more value-related research making its way into the world, and will be featuring synopses of projects and a brief Q&A with team leaders here at the Value blog over the next year. Soon you’ll also be able to read a full descriptive report for this and other AiA projects, along with a synthesis of all the first year AiA projects. Stay tuned for an announcement on the VAL blog.

Small Steps: Alternative Teaching Models & Student Information Literacy Development

To address the concerns of faculty regarding the type and quality of sources students cite in research projects, the Pacific Lutheran study examines the impact of different models of information literacy instruction (one shot vs. multi session) on first-year students’ development of research skills. Results indicate that students receiving shorter, more frequent instruction sessions made greater use of library resources and employed a greater number of search strategies.

Library Staff at PLU on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. (Photo/John Froschauer)

Amy Stewart-Mailhiot, Instruction Coordinator & Reference Librarian at Mortvedt Library, Pacific Lutheran University

Q&A with Amy Stewart-Mailhiot, Instruction Coordinator and Reference Librarian

Q: What was your greatest challenge during the course of your Assessment in Action project?

A: My greatest challenge was finding balance – balance between the AiA project and my other responsibilities and balance in the distribution of project tasks.  In a small library it can be easier just do things yourself, rather than put the effort into navigating shared responsibilities.  This doesn’t really work in the community of practice model.

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

A: The one piece of advice would be to build on established relationships.  There may be more glamorous projects out there, but when you (and your campus) are new to assessment, it is wise to work with individuals you know well and who already support the work that you do.  This allows you to build your skills in a supportive environment. As an added bonus, they are more likely to go out and ‘testify’ about your findings – you can’t buy that kind of PR.

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

A: My primary take away is a combination of increased confidence in my abilities and an assessment worldview.  There are a number of smaller skills that I developed over the course of the 18 months, but this shift in the way I look at the work I do and the knowledge that I can do it will stay with me into future projects.


Submitted by Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member: 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. We welcome Sarah Wenzel, University of Chicago, who is our liaison to the Modern Language Association (MLA).

The Modern Language Association is best known among librarians for its eponymous index; however, the MLA itself as an organization is active in areas ranging from pedagogy to pay-equity to open-access scholarship. The scholarly work being done by its members is novel, interdisciplinary and increasingly reliant on technology either as a tool or as the medium of the object studied.

As liaison to the MLA I have been observing and reporting back to ACRL, particularly the Literatures in English and Western European Studies Sections, changes in topics of interest, types of scholarship, attitudes towards libraries and librarians, and most importantly areas in which I think we librarians can participate (or intervene) on our own campuses or with our own faculty. Some of these are, broadly speaking, discussions that are relevant to the Humanities in general and not unique to literary studies.

One aspect that librarians may need to pay attention to was brought out in a session held at the 2014 Convention : “What Is Data in Literary Studies?” The debate was not as interesting as the discussion afterward, which led to points being made that I have not heard literary scholars previously make, such as : “The Archive” must be defined; scholars need to state their methodologies; results must be reproducible. This acceptance of the data-set in lieu of “the archive” (scholar-speak for the collection of texts or other materials upon which they work), has implications for libraries. First is that as scholars need to define their data set, they will need to know what is in (or not in) the full-text databases to which we subscribe, or the HathiTrust, or Project Gutenberg. Will they begin to care about what is or isn’t in a digital collection? (Associate costs vs. content?)

Second is a need to store data sets formed from different sources, which will have an effect on institutional repositories. In addition, while faculty already are insisting on licenses that permit data-mining, what sort of permissions will be required for storage of the data set created?  A third will be that librarians responsible for teaching students literary research will need to learn the skills required to evaluate these projects. And a fourth implicates collection development: while looking through a bibliography is one way to judge the strength of a library’s collection in a given area, a data-set or corpus of digital works is an entirely different animal. Concepts such as these were brought home to me even further when I sat in on a digital humanities course at my university, both observing and contributing to the search for raw data, creation and eventual loss of the data sets gathered for the final projects. And yet this aspect of the digital humanities, in what was meant to be a sort of introduction to the field, went unmentioned by the teaching faculty.

Also of great interest at this past year’s Convention is how many sessions took the digital humanities in stride and presented research done using those techniques without the angst prevalent in previous years, although there was angst to be had if it were wanted. The use of these techniques and methods of study is not received uncritically and issues surrounding tenure and promotion are real. Librarians find themselves drawn into these questions when asked about the thorny topic of alternative metrics, a topic I find even more difficult to take on than copyright : I cannot simply say “I am not a lawyer.”

The novelty this year was the proliferation of papers on electronic literature, whether it was the “Liminal Textuality of Comments in Code,” literature through social media, the changes wrought by platform migration, or games, or “_ebooks, Typography, and Twitter Art.”  I continue to be concerned that libraries are not preserving literature (or non-fiction, for that matter) created in or drawing from these media.  And there is still the unanswered question of cataloging and access.

Other sessions dealt with topics that you might associate more readily with the MLA : literatures from around the world, comparative literature, language studies, theory, performance studies, comics, bibliography and our very own Libraries and Research in Languages and Literatures forum. All are inflected by changes in modes of study, research tools and techniques, and new discoveries. Even as the Humanities and perhaps none more so than literature are under stress, even within academia, the MLA continues to promote the values of its members and advocate on their behalf. The 2015 Convention theme, Negotiating Sites of Memory, offers scholars and librarians rich possibilities for interaction.

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