Assessment in Action

George Mason University: Project Description

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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

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)



Social Sciences

Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

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)

Assessment Office

Institutional Research

(No) Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

(No) Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

(No) Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)


(No) Interviews

Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

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)

Research presentations also used

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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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. George Mason University is very aware of the need to demonstrate its impact on all aspects of learning as reflected in the most recent strategic plan. To that end, the creation of a "Students as Scholars" initiative in 2010 provided the University with the opportunity to connect students with faculty and to the research and creative mission of the institution. This program provided a natural opportunity for partnership with the Libraries.

    The outcomes we choose to focus on were as follows:
    Undergraduate students will be more fully supported to engage in scholarly inquiry, creative activities, and research

    The composition of the team was not only appropriate but fabulous! The Libraries teamed with the undergraduate research office on campus and the office of assessment. Both are led by great partners who are enthusiastic about libraries and assessment and were enthusiastic contributors to the project.

  • 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. The primary contributions of our AiA project are three fold. The first has to do with the teaching faculty who were involved in this process. They had increased contact and communication with liaison librarians at Mason and an opportunity for improved collaboration with University Libraries to enhance the capacity to teach research skills to undergraduates.

    In regards to the contributions to the librarians involved we saw an improved understanding of course assignments and faculty and student needs; and lastly, an improved ability to assess the success of collaborative efforts.

    In terms of student learning and success, 75% or more of the students thought that the course contributed to their learning on five items measuring information literacy.

    The project was valuable in terms of creating a culture of assessment . The structure including the formal partnerships and tools developed for this project will go a long way toward allowing for more assessment on campus. Additionally, Mason Libraries will be hiring a new assessment librarian after this project to help us continue on this path.

  • 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 learned a great deal during this process, both the strengths and the weaknesses of our current assessment practices in the Libraries. The positives we learned was that the partnerships formed for this AiA project were valuable and will be long lasting and far reaching.

    We also realized that the visibility of the Librarians and the librarians across campus needs to be increased. This project helped us some toward this goal but we continue to try to get the librarians out of the library and more actively engaged across campus--this AiA grant provided an important step in that regard. The project also indicated to me that we are doing not enough to promote our value across campus and how we can help contribute to academic success.

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

  1. Lockaby, D. C., Hazel, S. L., Usher, B. M., & West, P. (2014). Embedded library instruction in undergraduate research classes: Assessing the impact. Session presented at the CUR Conference 2014: “Creating the Citizens of Tomorrow: Undergraduate Research for All”, Washington, DC. |

    West, P. J., Lockaby, D. C., Hazel, S. L., & Usher, B. M. (2014). Embedded library instruction in undergraduate research classes: Facilitating scholarly conversation between librarians, faculty and students. Poster presented at American Library Association Annual Conference and Exhibition: “Transforming our Libraries, Ourselves”, Las Vegas, NV. | download poster

Embedded Librarian Instruction in Undergraduate Research Classes: Facilitating the Scholarly Conversation between Faculty, Students and Librarians

In partnership with the Students as Scholars program at George Mason University, the Library developed a program to embed subject librarians into 19 research intensive and/or inquiry based courses for the 2013/ 2014 academic year. The project reached 299 students who were exposed to the resources of their discipline and resulted in the increased collaboration of faculty and librarians, as well as increased visibility of this work across campus.