ACRL has selected 75 institutional teams from a pool of 98 applicants to participate in the first year of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). The program is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and carried out in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The teams, representing all types of institutions, come from 29 states and 3 Canadian provinces. For a list of currently confirmed institutions, see the AiA program webpage.
In their applications each institution identified a team, consisting of a librarian and at least two additional team members as determined by the campus (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researchers or academic administrator). They also identified goals for their action learning projects.
“The top applications were distinguished by the team composition, their readiness and the quality of their project goals. We also looked for strong institutional support to help the teams see their projects through to completion.” said Terri Fishel, vice chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and library director at Macalester College. “The application reviewers sought action learning projects with the greatest potential to contribute to the greater library and higher education community.”
The proposed topics of selected institutions include:
- Do students who attend information or media literacy sessions attain higher grades than students who did not?
- How does students’ work with special collections materials affect their ability to think critically and develop intellectual curiosity?
- Do re-admitted students (who have appealed dismissal) improve their academic performance and persist at a higher rate due to mandatory meetings with a librarian for research assistance?
- Does our new library/learning resource center facility have an impact on the student community, contributing to student enrollment and excitement about completing skills sessions and library orientations?
- Do library contributions to a program for at-risk students (empowering them by connecting more deeply to local community issues through faculty partnerships and learning projects) enhance research, critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills? Are library efforts to support this program helping to increase student success and retention?
- Are library interventions to increase students’ media fluency skills effective at improving their digital storytelling abilities?
- In what ways does library participation in a targeted sophomore year program lead to higher graduation and retention rates, improved student engagement and satisfaction, as well as post-graduation success?
- What is the impact of embedding librarians in our student scholar program?
To ensure project results are disseminated to the broader community, each institutional team will submit a final report and each librarian team leader will prepare and deliver a poster at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference. The AiA program, part of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, employs a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer network over the course of the 14-month long program, which runs from April 2013-June 2014. The librarians will participate as cohort members in a one-year professional development program that includes team-based activities carried out on their campuses. An important component of the AiA program is establishing a learning community where librarian team leaders have the freedom to connect, risk and learn together.
“I am thrilled to be working with such a diverse group of institutions pursuing these very interesting project ideas,” said Lisa Hinchliffe, co-chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee, a lead facilitator in the AiA program and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “The program facilitators are strongly committed to establishing an environment which supports collaborative learning and shared competence. We can’t wait to get started!”
Learn more about the AiA program at the ACRL 2013 conference during the session Update on Value of Academic Libraries Initiative from 1:30 — 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12.
AiA is a three year program. ACRL will be selecting 100 additional institutions to participate in the 2014-2015 class. Stay tuned for an announcement in January 2014 with more details on how to apply for the next round.