Assessment in Action

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment

(No) Retention

(No) Completion

(No) Graduation

(No) Articulation

(No) Graduates' Career Success

(No) Testing (e.g., GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CAAP, CLA, MAPP)

(No) Other (please describe)

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)

(No) Instruction

(No) Instruction: Games

(No) Instruction: One Shot

Instruction: Course Embedded

(No) Instruction: Self-Paced Tutorials

(No) Reference

(No) Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

(No) Space, Physical

(No) Discovery (library resources integrated in institutional web and other information portals)

(No) Discovery (library resource guides)

(No) Discovery (from preferred user starting points)

(No) Collections (quality, depth, diversity, format or currency)

(No) Personnel (number and quality)

(No) Other (please describe)

Student Population (select one or more)


(No) Graduate

(No) Incoming

(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)

(No) Arts

(No) Humanities

Social Sciences

(No) Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

(No) Formal Sciences (i.e., computer science, logic, mathematics, statistics or systems science)

(No) Professions/Applied Sciences

(No) English Composition

(No) General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

Research Paper/Project

(No) Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

(No) Other (please describe)

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores


(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

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Executive Summary (150 words open)

  • How does the project align with your institution’s priorities and needs?
  • Why did you choose the outcome and library factor as areas to examine?
  • Why was the team composition appropriate?

  1. The project supports the college in strengthening our information literacy offerings and ensuring they are woven into our majors and general education curriculum. By embedding a librarian in a sophomore class, our project enabled us to work on assessment in context. By focusing on students at a crucial time in their academic career, we created mentoring relationships that strengthened the bonds between learning, success, and persistence. Our outcomes gave us important information about the merit of this approach and are helping us to plan next steps in our information literacy efforts.
    Team members from the Center for Student Success and Outreach and the Office of Institutional Research and Planning lend expertise and amplified our outreach and assessment efforts. All four team members are invested in student success and played essential and complementary roles. The engagement of a team of faculty and staff not only strengthened the library’s commitment to assessment and collaboration, it provided a platform for disseminating the work done within this program to major constituent groups throughout the college

  • What are the significant contributions of your project?
  • What was learned about assessing the library’s impact on student learning and success?
  • What was learned about creating or contributing to a culture of assessment on campus?
  • What, if any, are the significant findings of your project?

  1. I think our project contributed to adding to the dialogue about information literacy and assessment on campus. I believe information literacy and library instruction in general was being viewed in a narrow frame and our project gave faculty and administration a new way to look at it. The project emphasized that there is not a one size fits all way of doing information literacy but that a true collaboration between faculty and librarians could achieve great results. Our campus has a strong culture of assessment so doing an assessment project for the library was a natural fit and contributed to our place among the academic departments.

  • What will you change as a result of what you learned (– e.g., institutional activities, library functions or practices, personal/professional practice, other)?
  • How does this project contribute to current, past, or future assessment activities on your campus?

  1. We are continuing this project in a new form in the fall and plan to make it a regular part of the political science curriculum. We have plans to present on this topic to other faculty in the fall and expand the library's outreach in this area. As our institution is currently looking at expanding and articulating our information literacy program, this is a good first step in demonstrating not only alternative means of information literacy but also the importance of assessing the outcome of our information literacy programs. On a more personal level, I find myself thinking about assessment much more often. I am about to embark on an open educational resource project with our academic technology office and my first thought was how we would assess the impact of the project.

Please list any articles published, presentations given, URL of project website, and team leader contact details.

  1. URL of project website:

    Team leader contact details:

    Pamela Contakos
    Digital Services Librarian
    Freel Library
    Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA)
    375 Church Street, North Adams, MA 01247
    phone: 413.662.5542
    twitter: @elalibrarian

The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts library project featured integrated instruction and targeted outreach to students majoring in political science. By tying instruction to a class within their major, we introduced students to key research approaches and sources that they would use throughout their college career. As a result of this project, we have revamped how we provide library instruction to political science majors and have moved to a comprehensive scaffolded approach.
Poster2.jpg The “Ayes” Have It: An Embedded Librarian in an Undergraduate Political Science Class