Assessment in Action

DePaul University: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

Student Learning: Assignment

(No) 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)

(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

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

Other (please describe)

First year students

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)

First Year Experience

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

(No) Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

(No) Teaching Faculty

Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

(No) Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

Other (please describe)

Advising Center for Students with Disabilities

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)

(No) Survey

(No) Interviews

(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test


(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

Other (please describe)

Reflection essay

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. DePaul’s latest strategic plan priorities information literacy, and DePaul’s mission articulates a commitment to educating first-generation college students. The literature indicates that first-generation students can feel like outsiders, and that a lack of “belonging” can contribute to disengagement.

    As co-curricular units charged with supporting student academic success, we had an opportunity to design an assignment and lesson plan for peer student leaders to deliver and grade as part of the DePaul’s First Year Experience program. After participating in a self-guided library activity and reflecting on the process, would the students who complete the assignment be able to articulate how the library contributes to their success as learners? We wanted to design a unit that would increase students’ confidence and sense of belonging. We hoped to create “insiders”, and cultivate certain habits of mind, such as curiosity, engagement, and a willingness to seek expertise when needed.

  • 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. After examining 97 reflective essays with a rubric, we noted that independent learning activities, when coupled with reflection, are an effective intervention in providing an orientation to the library in particular and “academic life” in general. Many students entered DePaul not knowing how to find material in an academic library, and after this activity, most students have a better understanding of how to get started. Students reported an affective change towards library use, e.g. from anxiety to pride. Students are able to articulate multiple ways that the library contributes to their academic success.

    This experience also helped develop deeper connections between the participating partners, and has resulted in the library being able to assist with other units on campus who are interested in developing similar research using student artifacts produced by students enrolled in our first year experience curriculum.

  • 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. Requiring a simple, self-directed library activity in the First Year Experience curriculum can help increase students sense of belonging by situating students, particularly first-generation students, in the academic community.

    Reflection papers can be an effective way to invite students to connect their personal experiences to new academic experiences, and reinforce their identity as successful members of the academic community. Reflection papers may help librarians gain insight into how students navigate discovery systems and physical spaces, and students’ affective relationship with libraries and research.

    This will be the first library assessment project reported to our institution’s Assessment Advisory Board. This project has contributed to our understanding of how to develop and carry out a collaborative assessment project, and will help us with the development of future assessment projects.

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


    Heather Jagman, Coordinator of Reference, Instruction & Academic Engagement

“I felt like such a Freshman!”: Creating Library Insiders

Independent learning activities, when coupled with reflection, are effective in providing an orientation to the library in particular and “academic life” in general. After participating in a self-guided library activity and reflecting on the process, students in DePaul’s First Year Experience program are able to articulate how the library can contribute to their success as academic learners.