Assessment in Action

University of St Thomas: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

Student Learning: Course

(No) 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: 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


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

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

Other (please describe)

Open-ended reflections by participating faculty and librarians

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)

This is somewhat INDIRECT

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

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Inquiry Question (150 words open)

What was the project's primary inquiry question?

  1. Does faculty-librarian collaboration benefit student disciplinary research and writing practices?

    Subject librarians collaborated with Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), and more specifically, Writing in the Discipline (WID) faculty, teaching upper-level classes to students in their majors. In these courses, where research is required, I sought to examine whether such collaboration benefits students' disciplinary research and writing practices. Students were surveyed at the beginning of the term (pre-library meetings) and at the end of the term (post library instruction). Participating faculty and librarians were also surveyed at the end of each term. My main objective was to encourage more collaboration between faculty and librarians where disciplinary research could impact disciplinary writing skills in an academic major.

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. This project sought to involve more subject librarians in instruction while making further inroads for collaboration between librarians and teaching faculty across the board. As Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) gains momentum here, a partnership between librarians and WAC faculty made sense, especially in courses where research informs writing. Working with Writing in the Discipline (WID) courses presented a good opportunity. As the University moves forward with its Educating for the Future initiatives, such an approach complements institutional priorities that call for “engaging students’ intellectual curiosity, developing critical thinking skills, and encouraging multidisciplinary teaching, curriculum and research.” As there is no formal IL program at the University, librarians rely on developing relationships with individual faculty members in the departments with which they liaise and therefore, depend on that to reach students. Partnering with the WAC program enabled us to explore other opportunities while striving to strengthen our position on campus.

  • 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. It might be early to account for all contributions at this stage as we could learn more later. However, the focus on formal assessment and therefore, a level of accountability that comes with it is considerable. Both librarians and faculty commented on the importance of early planning and ongoing communication. In essence, this validates the need for collaboration and supports the notion that research is a process – not a one-time, detached activity. Instead, a good collaboration results in benefits for everyone involved. Students, too, benefited from the collaboration and learned about the role librarians play in their education. Librarians involvement in the courses showed that it positively impacted the quality of work they produced. Our data supports the development of future collaboration models and further assessment. It also reflects on our efforts to be included in campus discussions concerning student learning and success and how we could contribute to them.

  • 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. Assessment demands action. We need to incorporate assessment more methodically into our (library) instruction in order to obtain the recognition we seek. As we work to formalize library instruction, assessment should become an integral part of it if we want to be involved in curriculum planning. We all stand to learn and gain from it. Our assessment practices and findings would contribute to an assessment culture that already exists on an institutional level. I believe that any library assessment could better position us on campus and help substantiate the work we do. It should enable us to actively participate in campus discussions on student learning and success while arming us with important data to share. I am hoping that incorporating assessment would help us gain validation and much needed recognition of our professional role as well as better demonstrate the contributions we make in support of the University mission.

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

  1. N/A

Subject librarians collaborated with Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), and more specifically, Writing in the Discipline (WID) faculty, teaching upper-level classes. Research is required in these courses. Students were surveyed at the beginning of the term (pre-library meetings) and at the end (post library instruction). Participating faculty and librarians were also surveyed. My intent was to examine whether such collaboration benefits students disciplinary research and writing skills in their academic majors.
PPTPosterREVISEDFINAL.pdf Bringing the RAC to WAC: Librarians & Faculty Collaboration in Writing in the Discipline (WID) Courses