Assessment in Action

St. Mary's College of Maryland: 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

(No) 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)

Other (please describe)

Students' information literacy skill development.

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

(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)

Other (please describe)

Faculty-Librarian Collaboration

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

(No) General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

Other (please describe)

First Year Seminar (all first year students, multi-disciplinary)

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)



(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test


(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) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

Page 3

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. In 2008 St. Mary’s College of Maryland adopted a core curriculum emphasizing the four liberal arts skills of critical thinking, written and oral expression, and information literacy. As a part of this curriculum, all first year students are required to take a First Year Seminar (FYS), an introduction to academic discourse and the four skills. No student learning assessments within the FYS had taken place before this project began.

    Every FYS section has a designated liaison librarian, however the level of instructional collaboration between FYS faculty and liaison librarians varies greatly. With this assessment project, we wanted to investigate: Does collaboration between FYS faculty and librarians impact first year students’ information literacy skill development?

    To answer this question, we put together a team of faculty, administrators and librarians who work closely with FYS students and instructors and are aware of the unique instructional challenges presented by the FYS.

  • 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. This project was our institution’s first attempt at student learning assessment within the First Year Seminar (FYS). It’s placed the library at the forefront of our college’s recent push for assessment .

    The most significant findings from our project are as follows:

    The relationships between FYS faculty and liaison librarians reflect more consultation than collaboration. Librarians are teaching fewer classes for the FYS than we feel are necessary to effectively integrate IL.

    Students enrolled in FYS sections with greater faculty-librarian collaboration were more likely to use library information resources such as the library catalog, databases, website, discovery tool, and interlibrary loan.

    There was no correlation between faculty-librarian collaboration and students’ ability to effectively use information in writing assignments. Students’ skills in the following areas were below target levels: developing a clear research question or thesis, selecting appropriate and relevant information sources, and integrating and citing them in their writing assignments.

  • 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. As a result of this project, the librarians completed a much-needed revision to the IL learning outcomes for the FYS. Portions of our assessment results were shared at the FYS faculty workshop in April 2014 and complete results will be shared with all faculty in fall 2014.

    Librarians should place greater emphasis on the FYS IL learning outcomes when discussing the course with faculty. Often we were not teaching the very skills we should be covering. We also need to remind ourselves that consultation is not collaboration. Becoming active partners with FYS faculty will ensure that IL concepts are taught effectively and reinforced.

    It’s clear from FYS students’ written research assignments that a one-semester course is not sufficient for students to master IL skills. Greater partnerships with the Writing Center are needed to investigate methods of integrating IL and writing instruction throughout the college curriculum.

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

  1. Project Website

    Team Leader
    Veronica Arellano Douglas
    St. Mary's College of Maryland
    Reference and Instruction Librarian or

Why Collaborate? Examining the impact of faculty-librarian collaboration on students' information literacy skill development in the First Year Seminar (FYS)

This project examined the relationship between librarian-faculty collaboration and students’ information literacy skill development in the FYS through student and librarian surveys, faculty interviews, and rubric-based assessment of student work. Students in FYS sections with greater librarian-faculty collaboration were more likely to use library resources and contact librarians, but were no better at information evaluation, integration or citation.