Showing posts with label collaboration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collaboration. Show all posts

September 14, 2014

Instruction bootcamp training: Faculty collaboration!

The last few months have been a whirlwind! We officially started our reorganization at the UA Libraries over the summer and have been getting situated in our new roles since. Before, our teams were functional, so we had an instruction team, a collections and research services team, etc. Now our departments are based on cross-functional areas that require more collaboration. My department is a combining of what was previously the instruction team and the collections + research team since we are following a subject liaison model for campus. With this merging, those in our department with expertise are training others. I helped organize an instruction bootcamp training for back in August where I covered the new ACRL Information Literacy Framework, some basic instruction concepts, and the process of curriculum mapping since we will be working toward mapping all programs (or as many as we are able to).

I was so happy that @susanarcham was willing to let me take a look at her curriculum mapping training materials that they used at Loyola Marymount in LA, and I found a lot of great stuff that I was able to adapt for my colleagues. One of the most useful activities that I wanted to share my adaptation of was helping librarians think about faculty collaboration from our new roles as liaisons. I added in some fun characters and scenarios and thought this activity might be useful for others doing instruction and heavy campus outreach. This is following the theme of "Mission Impossible" that Susan created. My department really liked this one.

Here is a snippet of one of the faculty profiles below. I divided everyone into subject-based groups to brainstorm and role play (sciences, business, social sciences, arts and architecture, humanities), and then we all discussed as a full group.

Find the full activity with all characters and discussion questions here.

I hope to share the rest of our training materials from the bootcamp if I have more time to blog about this. Otherwise, the next month is going to be focused on the Connected Courses class I'm taking, as well as the ALA Instructional Design Essentials ecourse that I'm teaching with Erica DeFrain.

April 3, 2014

Introducing #critlib chats!

Tuesday night marked the first #critlib chat we had on Twitter to talk about critical pedagogy in libraries. Myself and the awesome @barnlib, @catladylib, @edrabinski, and @kellymce  organized the chat, and I served as moderator for this week. I'm really excited that these are happening, because not only is it important to talk about this stuff, but selfishly, I've been really wanting there to be something like this for awhile.

We created a cheat sheet for the chats to provide information about upcoming topics, how the chats work, and then to post the questions in real time as a reference point beyond the constantly updating Twitter hashtag feed. It's pretty fast paced to do these Twitter chats, and can make having in-depth conversations difficult, but it is a good entry point, is fairly accessible, and open to all. We had a good amount of people participating and some excellent conversations going. It's helpful to have 3 tabs open for this: the cheat sheet, the hashtag feed on Twitter, and then your own notifications feed to make it easy to reply to people without losing #critlib. Thanks to @aszingarelli, we also now have a Storify you can check out to see how the conversation went.

For this first meeting, we mostly talked about definitions. What is critical pedagogy, and what is critical library pedagogy? How do you incorporate critical pedagogy in your library instruction and in other aspects of library work? It was a good first meeting to establish a somewhat common understanding, and provide more context for those who are interested but don't feel comfortable participating yet. Some people mentioned they were just going to lurk, and I think that's great there is so much interest. I hope the chat will make everyone more comfortable sharing their thoughts, it's not meant to be a judgmental place or where anyone assumes they're an expert.

We posted Gregory & Higgins' intro to Information Literacy and Social Justice as supplemental reading since they introduce the concept very well. I was reading Toni Samek's foreword to the book as well, and thought what she said about risk was important:
We should not underestimate the collective will of projects like this one. Each contributor should be thanked for the risk they take on the page. I have, on a number of occasions, said publicly that information literacy is far too often realized in service of the state. This is rarely a popular observation. (And so I have been told.) But for almost twenty full years I have worked under the protection of my right and responsibility of academic freedom. The same cannot be said for all of the seventeen chapter contributors to this work. I admire them for their conviction (2013, vii).
This is important to think about, as these might not be popular opinions. It is somewhat of a risk to discuss these things, particularly for those who are not in tenured positions. So it's great to have a place to chat to support others with these similar convictions. We hope more will join us next time. Tuesday, April 7th will be the second #critlib, and then we will be moving to every other week after that.

Also see our Zotero group with further resources and readings (some of these might wind up being readings for future chats).

April 28, 2011

Let's talk about SACS, baby

Recently, I’ve been appointed to the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Research during part of my time to assist with accreditation for the college. Texas is in SACS territory (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), so we are following their guidelines for reaffirmation. I am assisting in collecting, organizing, and creating both a paper and digital library of all accreditation documents. This is something entirely new to me, so it’s really helpful to learn more about the college and I’m getting to interact with more faculty and administrators than I would have been able to otherwise.

Although learning in library school that comprehension of the parent institution’s mission and goals is essential in understanding the library’s connection to the college, that understanding didn’t go too much more in depth on the institution side.

How accreditation works is that there are various compliance numbers to consider, such as -- 

Core Requirement 2.9: The institution, through ownership or formal arrangements or agreements, provides and supports student and faculty access and user privileges to adequate library collections and services and to other learning/information resources consistent with the degrees offered. Collections, resources, and services are sufficient to support all its educational, research, and public service programs. (Learning Resources and Services)

-- for example. This one in particular is geared toward the library, of course, but there are others like...

Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas...

So for each, the college needs to gather evidence and also write a narrative reflecting how the standard has been met and incorporate how the evidence proves this to be true. So as for the library and many other areas of the college, instruction, physical space, staff, and more don’t just have their own assessment to consider, but also assessing an area or a program for accreditation purposes.

The tricky part for what I’m working on is that there are hundreds of pieces of evidence, with more being added as time goes on. On top of that, certain pieces can be used for multiple compliance numbers. Although much of our evidence is housed online, I have learned that SACS prefers to view the materials in an offline format (read: PDF), so simply providing URLs is not an option. It’s also preferable to SACS to be able to easily find cited portions of documents in the evidence (save the time of the user). To improve this capability, I am creating one master copy in a master evidence file, and then in each compliance number file, a document with extracted pages (if necessary) and/or highlighting is saved for easy access. This comes in handy when there is a 100+ page piece of evidence! Likewise, in a born-print format, documents must be digitized. As this is the first year a digital and official paper library is being created, there is a lot of organizing and archiving at the outset.

This is certainly a project I will be reporting on as time goes on!

January 13, 2011

Takeaways from ALA MW 11 Emerging Leaders Session

ALA Midwinter 2011... wow. This was my second ALA conference, the first being an Annual while I was still a student. What a huge difference. My main impetus for going was that I was accepted to the 2011 Emerging Leaders class this year; I  feel like it's a great experience so far.

Before starting the program, I read some of the criticism out there to get an idea of what I'd be in for and what to be cautious of. Kim Leeder wrote a great article at In the Library with the Lead Pipe: All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go: A Survey of ALA Emerging Leaders , where much of the problem sounded like unmet expectations of the day-long program itself, as well as the reach and scope of the projects. I have to say those involved in the program really listened to former EL class concerns, because some of these issues were addressed, and some changes were clearly made. And I am very excited about the project I am working on, which is creating a collection development policy for videogames in libraries. I think this project will not only be interesting and even fun, but have a lot of reach, too.

We got some fantastic information on leadership from Maureen Sullivan, Peter Bromberg, Leslie Burger, and Keith Fiels. Andromeda Yelton, another Emerging Leader, has a great write up of what we learned on her blog:

The main takeaways, as Andromeda notes, are:
  1. Be scared everyday (and have a drink in your hand)
  2. Be generous
  3. There is no spoon
  4. Relationships
This all really relates back to all the brainstorming we did on good leadership qualities. What works well for us, and what positive attributes we find in those at the top. A big theme that stood out for me is creating buy in. You have to foster relationships with those around you to get anything done; we were told at the session that the reason we were all meeting face-to-face early on was so we could be friends first to be better able to work together in our groups. On creating buy-in, you must also trust in others, which includes being generous enough to offer others opportunities and not micromanage. Working to make ALA yours (or any situation yours) takes effort, and it's true: there is no spoon. As my EL groupmate, Abby Johnson, says in her blog, "ALA is not your mom." If you're not scared everyday (or even almost everyday), what's the point? Trusting in others is a leap, as is trusting in yourself in new, uncomfortable situations. As I commented in Andromeda's blog, I'll often say yes to things before I even have a chance to be nervous. You can always be nervous, but you won't always have a chance to say yes to some of these amazing opportunities.

A couple people were asking me at the conference what I think of the program so far since they were considering applying next year -- at this point in time, I say two thumbs up.

July 1, 2010

Early career credibility

I've been thinking about credibility a lot lately -- credibility with students and in collaborative relationships with faculty. Being a new librarian, it can be difficult to gain trust when not only are you new to the organization, but also new to the profession. Some students are set in their ways with asking for help from a particular librarian, and some faculty do not seem as open to working with a new person they don't really know very well. Not always having the answers and having to ask another librarian for input doesn't always help the case.

When I asked my very excellent ACRL Instruction Section mentor what to do if someone asks a question in a session I am teaching and I do not know the answer, she told me it's okay to say that it is a good question and I'm not sure of the answer but will find out. This also applies to the reference desk; my supervisor has encouraged me to come to her with questions because since I am new, I am not expected to know everything. I have only had one teaching experience at this point, but when I'm on the desk and a student asks me something I don't know, I will first try to find the information together. On one hand, this can really work to my advantage by turning it into a teachable moment because once we do arrive at the information being sought, I can say "hey you did great it's really just trial and error," and it makes the student feel more comfortable with the library as well as asking me for help. That really has been one of my favorite scenarios.

However, and this has happened a bit too, when a student asks me a question and I really am baffled, I will have to say I'm not as familiar with that subject as my supervisor but I will go find out or go ask her to assist them. I've had a few individuals approach me at the desk and ask for my supervisor specifically, when I say she is not available, I really have been asked if I "know what she knows." I will tell them I might not know everything she knows but I know a good amount and would they like me to help them. Usually, the student will say yes and I am able to answer their question (or figure out where to find the answer). I feel like with the students, this will just take time for them to get used to seeing a new face and that I am able to be helpful.

When I see students again that I have helped, I make sure to follow up with them and ask how their paper or presentation went, and that usually seems to help form more of a relationship. Now I do have students come back to me for help without hesitation, albeit there still are a few that only want help from a specific librarian. Building relationships first with faculty, outside of anything having to do with the library, is another great piece of advice my mentor gave me.

I have not yet met most of who I will be working with from the faculty since it is summer, but I have been trying to provide good service regardless of whether it was asked for or not. For example, I am now sending out emails about new books to instructors in certain subject areas, and I plan to ask for input on collection development once I have more interaction with them; if I don't know an answer to a question, I follow up as soon as possible. One instructor came in looking for an online version of the Oxford English Dictionary, and I wasn't sure offhand if we subscribed electronically; my database and then catalog search took a little longer than I had hoped, so I made sure to later email him to follow up and point out the other online dictionaries we have instead of the OED and let him know where the print version was located for future reference.

I think I will need to explore faculty collaborations a bit more because I know some instructors in my subject areas do not bring their classes to the library (never have and don't necessarily plan to), and I hope to find a way to work with that -- or at least come to a compromise of sorts. Again, a lot of this will just take time, but I'm trying to get on the right track from the start. Hopefully, once I'm introduced to more instructors in my area I will have more opportunities.