Assessment in Action

Wake Forest University: Project Description

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Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

Student Engagement

Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment




(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

(No) Instruction: Course Embedded

(No) Instruction: Self-Paced Tutorials

(No) Reference

Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

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

(No) 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

General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

(No) Other (please describe)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

Other Librarian

Other (please describe)

Professional Development Center

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Data gathered by Office of Institutional Research.

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

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

Other (please describe)

None. All of the data gathered was anonymous.

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores


(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

Other (please describe)

Self reported but anonymous data.

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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 mission of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library is to help students, faculty and staff succeed, but the library has no measures that identify if in fact, we are successful, or how successful we are in attaining this mission. We chose to focus on the outcome of student success because it directly aligns with our mission. Our inquiry question helped identify what students recognize as success factors and, knowing those, what the library does, might do, or should do to create new programming and services to assist students to succeed. The team composition included representation from the most utilized student services located in the library, including the Writing Center and the Information Systems desk, known as “The Bridge.” As we are about to embark on a renovation, we will also use information gained from this investigation to inform future library program development and facility needs.

  • 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. Our assessment provided us the ability to learn what students find valuable about the library. The library satisfies their information needs, but is not a motivating factor towards their overall engagement with academia or their internal measures of success.
    We did not anticipate the level of difficulty in collecting more in-depth feedback that we’d need to determine significant change. We did gel as a team and appreciated the contributions from all of the participants, including the supplementary support offered by the Office of Institutional Research.
    We found that students are not good predictors of the motivating factors that contribute to their overall success. They anticipated success would be realized through a high level of academic performance; but in fact, a strong social network was the highest motivating factor when reflecting on past collegiate experience in senior exit surveys.

  • 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. Our goal is to find ways to engage students socially in ways that will fulfill them academically. We recognize that there is this disconnect between their own identified desire to be academically engaged, but found that they don’t prioritize it. We have begun conversations with our THRIVE initiative on campus to expand offerings in the library and opportunities on campus to connect with, reflect upon, engage with education beyond their narrowly focused programs. The Office of Institutional Research reported a noticeable decline in the number of students who study abroad. This is seen as another missed opportunity for students who are hyper-focused on completing an academic course trajectory within a predetermined time frame. This questions the very benefit of a liberal arts education to our students. As we craft new programs to expand opportunity for academic engagement we will assess to ensure they are making the desired impact.

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

  1. The Assessment in Action team will be presenting our findings to the library and the campus community. Our poster will be presented in various places, and will be on display in the library. The project website, including graphic depictions of data, the team’s evaluation and conclusions, is available at .

    The AiA team leader is Mary Beth Lock, Director of Access Services, Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

WakeForestUnivAiAPosterRev8.pdf What's in it for Me? Success, Motivation, and Gaps