At the Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy I had an opportunity to talk with several faculty members in writing and composition. Not surprisingly, many of these professionals have interests that align with those of librarians, not least in the area of information literacy. In fact, the Georgia conference regularly brings together educators from across the disciplinary spectrum who use this opportunity to develop shared understandings, to solidify common goals, and to listen and learn from each other.
I decided to explore the work going on at the intersection of writing studies and information literacy and I was not disappointed. So much impressive work is happening! Below are some key resources in this area.
Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing
Developed by the Council of Writing Program Administrators, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project
Published in 2011 this Framework document caught my attention in part because of my familiarity with the ACRL Framework. Once I read the executive summary and full document, though, I got really excited. The focus on how teachers can foster certain habits of mind that the authors deem “essential for success in college writing” is an approach that resonates with librarians working to foster information literacy dispositions through training transfer.
Dr. Jane Liu is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. She is a faculty member in the Chemistry Department at Pomona College and she incorporates elements of information literacy in her teaching.
Jane, we are so pleased to have you on the Advisory Board for the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. You bring a valuable perspective to our work, particularly as a faculty member in the sciences. Please tell us about your position as Associate Professor of Chemistry at Pomona College.
Jane: I have a fantastic job! I was hired to primarily teach biochemistry, which I describe as understanding how cells and organisms work, at a molecular level. I teach this subject in the classroom, mostly to third- and fourth-year undergraduates, but I’m a firm believer that some of the best ways to learn science is to actually do science. So I also engage students in my research lab where I investigate how genes are turned on and off in bacteria. My students and I work side by side, wearing lab coats and gloves, growing bacteria, isolating DNA, RNA and proteins, and doing experiments on these materials to answer questions that we do not know the answer to. There is a great deal of learning that can occur when tackling the unknown – and there are always a few unexpected surprises that are uncovered.
Liz Kavanaugh is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. A long-time user of the Project SAILS information literacy assessment tool and an advocate for effective assessment, Liz was the perfect match for the fledgling project to create a new tool based on the ACRL Framework.
In this interview, you will see how Liz's commitment to assessment and to information literacy are woven throughout her professional life.
Question: What do you like about your job?
Liz: I am very fortunate to be in the position of Information Literacy and Assessment Librarian at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania. When I took the position about five years ago, we were just heading into an accreditation year with Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). It was an exciting time that launched me right into the thick of gathering data, writing reports, and meeting with stakeholders across campus. I really loved the active sense of how important assessment was at that time and I love how it has grown into a more full-fledged body of data today for the library. Much of it is based on the information brought forward through our long-term use of SAILS at this time and now we’re on the route to our 2024 review, which brings the excitement full circle.
Wingate University recently had its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accreditation review. During the review they suggested we strengthen our assessments. With that, WU moved Mitch Cottenoir to the position of Institutional Effectiveness and SACSCOC Liaison. Mitch approached the library and asked how we would like to improve assessment. As a library we decided most of our direct interactions with students came from classes taught by the reference and instruction librarians, Isaac Meadows and myself, Kory Paulus. So began our adventure into updating our assessment for instruction and information literacy.
Sophie Bury joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2015. In this interview she reveals her passion for teaching and her commitment to assessment. Read about Sophie's projects on faculty IL and media literacy and learn why she joined the TATIL Advisory Board.
Question: Please tell us about your job. What are the highlights of your position?
The Learning Commons unites learning services at York University to better support students’ success and is a partnership of the Libraries, Learning Skills Services, the Writing Department, the ESL Open Learning Centre, the Career Centre, the Teaching Commons (supports teaching development at York) and the YUExperience Hub (supports experiential education at York).
My previously held roles include that of Business Librarian at York University and Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as leadership roles in the area of information literacy at both these universities in committee chair or other leadership positions.