My work in library assessment has often included projects and conversations with campus assessment officers and personnel in institutional research/institutional effectiveness. We’ve talked about the library demonstrating its value for accreditation purposes and worked on engaging faculty in information literacy assessment. In my work with Project SAILS and the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy, I have seen a growing number of campus assessment professionals utilizing these tools to meet their campus assessment needs.
A few years ago I decided to learn more about the world of higher ed assessment and institutional research that exists outside the library. What are the priorities and perspectives of these professionals? Here are five of the most interesting and valuable sources that I have encountered.
All descriptions below come from the organizations’ web sites.
The AALHE is an organization of practitioners interested in using effective assessment practice to document and improve student learning. As such, it serves the needs of those in higher education for whom assessment is a tool to help them understand learning and develop processes for improving it.
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.
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.
At Carrick Enterprises, we talk with librarians about their information literacy goals and their need for assessments that provide specific, immediate, and actionable results. Our customers have questions like these:
What information literacy data can we contribute to our institution's accreditation self study?
How can we demonstrate the value of the library to our campus administrators?
What role do dispositions have in information literacy? How can I understand my students' information literacy dispositions and encourage them?
At what point are students capable of critically assessing the information they encounter?
How does student information literacy differ at lower and upper division levels?
I want a tool that helps us know are we meeting our institutional learning outcome goals for information literacy.
I would like to guide my students in gaining a deeper understanding of their IL strengths and weaknesses. At the beginning of our IL course, I want them to explore what information literacy is and why they need it, as well as get feedback about where they can improve.
What can I tell my faculty colleagues about information literacy outcomes on our campus? I want to have focused conversations with them that lead to common priorities and collaborations.
Cynthia Mari Orozco joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. She is Librarian for Equitable Services, East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park and South Gate, California, USA. Cynthia talked with us about promoting information literacy through faculty collaboration and about the importance of recognizing the efforts of our colleagues.
Question: Please tell us what you are working on these days.
Cynthia: We have a small instruction team that oversees a lot of information literacy instruction (ILI) at a relatively large campus, so we're actively seeking strategies to institutionalize information literacy across the campus but also to provide more targeted, intentional ILI. One project we are working on is creating embeddable information literacy content for classroom faculty in Canvas, our campus LMS, to provide faculty with easy-to-adopt resources. We also want to build professional development for classroom faculty in teaching information literacy in a Train the Trainer model, in which faculty learn about information literacy and work with a librarian to embed information literacy in their courses, ideally scaffolded throughout the semester.