Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC; Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research; and Mary Ellen K. Davis, ACRL executive director

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC; Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research; and Mary Ellen K. Davis, ACRL executive director; celebrating the ACRL/ OCLC collaboration.

ACRL has selected a team from OCLC Research to design, develop, and deliver a new ACRL “Action-Oriented Research Agenda on Library Contributions to Student Learning and Success.”

The team was selected after an open and competitive request for proposals to investigate and write a research agenda that provides an update on progress since the publication of ACRL’s 2010 Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report and examines important questions where more research is needed in areas critical to the higher education sector. The focus of the research agenda will be on institutional priorities for improved student learning and success (e.g., retention, persistence, degree completion).

“We are excited to be working with OCLC Research, a renowned independent research unit, to create this new agenda as a way to both guide academic librarians on actions they can take now to communicate their contributions to higher education and to identify essential areas that merit further investigation,” remarked ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis.

The agenda clearly will identify actions academic libraries can take now based on both existing scholarship and practice-based reports, and it will include 10-15 future-focused key inquiry questions that the literature and interview data suggest are essential for academic librarians to explore. In addition, the project will include an interactive visualization dashboard to help librarians understand and make use of existing literature for studies most relevant to their research interests. It will also contain a visualization component that highlights the major themes in the report, enables data entry based on local projects, and produces a graphic that can be shared with campus stakeholders.

Project director Lynn Silipigni Connaway, senior research scientist at OCLC, is joined by team members William Harvey, consulting software engineer at OCLC, and Vanessa Kitzie and Stephanie Mikitish, both doctoral candidates in the Library and Information Science program at Rutgers University. The team will seek regular feedback from both ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and an advisory group consisting of academic librarians at 12 institutions that include community colleges, 4-year colleges, and research universities from secular, non-secular, public, and private institutions representing the 4 geographical regions of the United States.

“We were impressed with OCLC’s in-kind contributions to the project as well as the composition of the advisory board and the active role they will take in connecting the team with vice presidents and provosts for interviews,” continued Davis. “Likewise, the robust data visualization component will prove a powerful tool in helping academic librarians navigate the rich body of scholarly research and practice-based literature that already exists. We are particularly fortunate to benefit from the unique perspective that Lynn brings through her work at OCLC and her deep engagement with ACRL as a former chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee.”

Lorcan Dempsey, vice president and chief strategist at OCLC Research, commented, “This project fits perfectly with our commitment to act as a community resource for shared research and development. Like ACRL, we are committed to scaling learning and innovation across the communities we serve. We are really pleased to be collaborating with ACRL on a project to advance thinking on a central library question.”

The team’s work began in early August 2016 and includes a presentation at the upcoming Library Assessment Conference as well as an online open forum in mid November to share progress with the broader community and solicit feedback. A final document of publishable quality, 60-100 pages in length, is due in May 2017 for public release in June. Read more about project deliverables and timeline in an excerpt of the successful proposal.

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About ACRL

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) is the higher education association for librarians. Representing more than 11,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals, ACRL (a division of the American Library Association) develops programs, products and services to help academic and research librarians learn, innovate and lead within the academic community. Founded in 1940, ACRL is committed to advancing learning and transforming scholarship. ACRL is on the Web at acrl.org, Facebook at facebook.com/ala.acrl and Twitter at @ala_acrl.

About OCLC

OCLC is a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, original research and community programs so that libraries can better fuel learning, research and innovation. Through OCLC, member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the most comprehensive global network of data about library collections and services. Libraries gain efficiencies through OCLC’s WorldShare, a complete set of library management applications and services built on an open, cloud-based platform. It is through collaboration and sharing of the world’s collected knowledge that libraries can help people find answers they need to solve problems. Together as OCLC, member libraries, staff and partners make breakthroughs possible.

Aug 122016
 

Talia R. NadirThe ACRL Value in Academic Libraries team asked recent participants in the Assessment in Action program to reflect on their work and we were simply floored by the generous responses.

Following is a reflection by Talia R. Nadir from the University of St. Thomas O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library on her project: Bringing the RAC to WAC: Librarians and Faculty Collaboration in Writing in the Discipline (WID) Courses

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

My greatest challenge was convincing enough faculty in my institution to participate in my project by means of collaborating with subject liaison librarians in their Writing in the Discipline courses. Other challenges include balancing the time devoted to the project while at the same time, maintaining all other tasks and routine workload. Analyzing the data and creating the final poster were also challenging, both because I worked against tough deadlines and also because I had no familiarity with, and for that matter, many resources to support, putting together a poster that reflects on findings from a year-long project.

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

Come up with a topic that is of interest to you but that is “realistically doable.” While I think it is often challenging to assess student learning and success, some projects lend themselves better than others. And make sure you have the support of your institution, colleagues, and any stakeholders. You will need it. Don’t go it alone.

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

I gained both knowledge and confidence from my participation in AiA. Working on my project helped me think outside my “normal” box and consider other aspects of library instruction, student engagement, and ultimately success. I’m able to approach my work with a new set of skills and I feel more comfortable applying an assessment lens more critically, and practically, to my work. I was very fortunate to have a very supportive smaller cohort that I found collegial and supportive throughout the process. It reminded me of the value and power we could gain from working together, without having to compete, in order to best serve our constituents.

Assessment in Action Project Reflections – Clinton Baugess

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Aug 102016
 

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

Following is a reflection by Clinton Baugess and his team from Gettysburg College Musselman Library on his project: Undergraduate Library Internships and Professional Success.

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

Now that we have finished a year-long project, I feel comfortable saying that time and time management were the greatest challenges for my AiA Team. It was important for the team to come together early in the planning process and be honest about when and how we could each contribute to the project. It allowed us to move forward, even if we needed to put things on pause for a few week or two.

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

Build a strong team and meet regularly. While it’s not possible for all projects (especially those involving faculty), it was helpful for my team to meet in person regularly—or at least communicate our progress through email and vote if it was necessary to meet. My team included another librarian and two colleagues from Career Development and Institutional Analysis. By being in frequent contact, we got to learn about each other as people and the work we each do on campus. That sort of relationship building with partners is as important as the outcome of the project—if not more so.

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

Confidence. AiA provided an assessment model to follow, as well as the experience to work with new methods and approaches. I’m already applying what I learned in AiA to my regular work as an instruction coordinator. I know how to plan a project, what pitfalls to avoid, and how to communicate with campus partners and upper administrators. Being in the program enabled me to focus on a single project to completion and take risks with new methods, which has gone a long way to develop my own confidence and skills.

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