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Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success

by Heather Jagman 5/9/2013 2:47:00 PM
DePaul University Library has been selected as one of 75 institutions to participate in the first year of the “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” (AiA).  As the project leader for DePaul University, Heather Jagman, Coordinator of Library Instruction, will lead DePaul’s team in the development and implementation of an action learning project examining the impact of the library on first year student success.

Connect, Collaborate & Communicate: A Report from the Value of Academic Libraries SummitsIncorporating input from key University departments that provide First Year Program support services, Jagman, in partnership with Lauri Dietz (Center for Writing-Based Learning), Lisa Davidson (Office for Academic Support),  and Jodi Falk (Center for Students With Disabilities) collaboratively developed an “Academic Success Skills” Common Hour lesson plan for delivery by the student mentors to Chicago Quarter students. This lesson plan, in keeping with the group’s instructional goal of exploration and self-advocacy, includes an assignment designed to help students consider what they are interested in studying, utilize our library discovery tool, and explore our physical spaces. Students then compose a reflective essay on their process.

The team proposes to develop and apply a rubric to examine the reflection essays for indications of discovery or behavior change, and also hopes to learn more about how the academic units represented can work together to further our understanding of the impact that our support services have on student success.  Caryn Chaden, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and associate professor of English, notes that, “With the rise of the internet, many entering freshmen have little experience actually working in a university library and may not be aware of the many services provided there. And since a third of our students are first-generation college, the need to be explicit about available resources and present them in an engaging way is especially important. The project proposed here, introducing students to library resources in a manner designed to tap into their own interests and asking them to reflect on that experience, will contribute to their transition from high school to college and help present the library as a supportive environment for learning. In so doing, this approach promises to contribute to students’ success in subsequent class, whether they explicitly or tacitly require library resources.”  

In addition to furthering the DePaul’s understanding to of the Library’s impact on first year student success, the AiA program has three broad goals:

•     Develop the professional competencies of librarians to document and communicate the value of their academic libraries primarily in relation to their institution’s goals for student learning and success.

•     Build and strengthen collaborative relationships with higher education stakeholders around the issue of library value.

•     Contribute to higher education assessment work by creating approaches, strategies, and practices that document the contribution of academic libraries to the overall goals and missions of their institutions.

For more information on the Assessment in Action Program, please visit http://www.ala.org/acrl/AiA .

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