Bolstering the Bridge to Instructional Improvement The Sherman Minton Bridge, New Albany, IN Librarian Self-Assessment and Strategic Planning for Information Literacy Program Development Maria T. Accardi Assistant Librarian, Coordinator of Instruction Indiana University Southeast firstname.lastname@example.org Critical Library Instruction: Theories and Methods Learning Outcomes: Attendees will… •Learn about the ACRL Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators in order to understand how they can be used for program assessment. Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville Kentucky. By merfam at http://flickr.com/photos/merfam/140812567/ •Learn a method of developing a librarian self-assessment instrument in order to identify areas for program development and improvement in their own libraries. •Understand SWOT analysis in order to plan concrete steps for instructional improvement. •Learn how smaller libraries with limited resources can creatively leverage those resources in order to assess information literacy initiatives. Envisioning the Bridge What inspired my thoughts about instructional improvement and program assessment? ◦ Courtney Mack’s presentation at LOEX 2009, “Training the Conductor” ◦ ACRL Instruction Section Discussion Forum on the ACRL Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators ◦ ALA Emerging Leaders Program, Class of 2009 Indiana University Southeast IUS is a regional campus in Indiana University system, located in New Albany, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky Fall 2009 enrollment: Undergraduate: 5,943; Graduate: 897 65% of students are full-time 65% are between the ages of 18-24 IUS Library •New building opened in 2005 •Librarians have faculty status and are tenure track •Staffed by 8 librarians and 10 staff members IUS Library Instruction Program We provide instruction in our own dedicated library classroom. Of our 8 librarians, 6 of them teach. Number of instruction sessions taught: 127 in Fall 2009; 71 in Spring 2010 IUS Library Instruction Program Most of the instruction we provide is for the First Year Seminar (FYS) program. ◦ 60 FYS sessions in Fall 2009 (47.24 % of all classes taught) ◦ 21 FYS sessions in Spring 2010 (29.57 % of all classes taught) How to Build the Bridge? Question: How can we build a culture of assessment? How can we develop an improvement program appropriate for our particular circumstances? How can we align ourselves with the best practices of the profession? John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, Louisville, KY Answer: A bridge to instructional improvement anchored at each end with SWOT analysis and a librarian selfassessment tool. Structural Support, Part 1: What is a SWOT Analysis? Strengths ◦ What do we do well? What advantages do we have? Weaknesses ◦ What could we improve? What are our shortcomings? Opportunities ◦ What possibilities and trends are we aware of? Threats ◦ What obstacles do we face? What is our competition doing? SWOT or SOAR? Appreciative Inquiry ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Strengths Opportunities Aspirations Resources SWOT Analysis of the IUS Library Instruction Program Strengths include: ◦ Dedicated instructional space. ◦ Formalized instruction agreement with the IU Southeast First Year Seminar (FYS) program SWOT Analysis of the IUS Library Instruction Program Weaknesses include: ◦ Low staffing ◦ Tendency to rely upon only one model of instructional delivery SWOT Analysis of the IUS Library Instruction Program Opportunities include: ◦ Using technologies in innovative ways ◦ Developing collaborative relationships with teaching faculty SWOT Analysis of the IUS Library Instruction Program Threats include: ◦ Impending retirement of one of our veteran librarians ◦ Faculty mindsets about the presence and role of technology in the research process Structural Support, Part 2: ACRL Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators “This document is intended to help instruction librarians define and gain the skills needed to be excellent teachers in library instruction programs and to foster collaborations necessary to create and improve information literacy programs.” (Website) ACRL Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators “The Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians Task Force identified broad categories and then specific proficiencies that comprise an instruction librarian’s areas of responsibility. While some institutions have designated instruction librarians, the task force defined the proficiencies to be appropriate for any librarian with instruction responsibilities. Since the size of institution may affect the scope of librarians’ instruction responsibilities, proficiencies are included that are applicable to librarians in all types of academic environments.” (Website) Developing a self-assessment questionnaire Alter the verb tense of each Proficiency into a first person statement. ◦ Proficiency 1.2. “Works well in a team environment and provides team with knowledge, skill, and time to improve instructional services.” ◦ “I work well in a team environment and provide team with knowledge, skill, and time to improve instructional services.” For each statement, librarians responded with “never,” “seldom,” “about half the time,” “usually,” and “frequently.” Developing a self-assessment questionnaire Survey question format based on leadership inventory at ALA Emerging Leaders workshop in 2009. Developing a self-assessment questionnaire See the whole survey online at: http://bit.ly/librarianassessmentsurvey Self-assessment results I selected the statements that scored “never,” “seldom,” or “about half of the time,” as in “I never/seldom/about half the time do X,Y, or Z.” Of those, I chose the ones that seemed the most relevant to our particular program. Self-assessment results Selected for further examination: Administrative skills: 1.1., 1.3. Communication: 3.4. Assessment and evaluation: 2.1. Instructional design: 6.1., 6.2., 6.3., 6.6., 6.7. Planning skills: 8.1. Presentation skills: 9.1., 9.2., 9.3, 9.5. Teaching skills: 12.1., 12.2., 12.3., 12.6., 12.7. Self-assessment results I shared this information with the librarians and asked them to choose Proficiency categories that they personally would like to strengthen in their own practice, and, as a result, help strengthen the program as a whole. Self-assessment results We ultimately selected two broad areas, communication and presentation skills, from this list as starting points for developing professional development goals. Sherman Minton Bridge, New Albany, IN These areas corresponded with the weaknesses identified in the SWOT analysis. Building Goals The goal-building worksheet was also based on a tool from Emerging Leaders. The worksheet can be found online at http://bit.ly/librariangoals. Communication Goal Beginning this semester, we’ll have monthly brown bag lunches where we’ll talk about teaching. ◦ Relates to Proficiency 3.4: “Requests feedback from peers on instruction-related communication skills and uses it for self improvement.” Presentation Skills Goal Explore diverse instruction delivery methods. ◦ Relates to Proficiency 9.2: “Presents instructional content in diverse ways (written, oral, visual, online, or using presentation software) and selects appropriate delivery methods according to class needs.” Testing the Bridge: Will it take us there? Our bridge-building efforts are showing promise: ◦ Brown-bag lunches have proven to be a safe forum for candid discussion about teaching. Downside: It’s hard to accomplish a lot in an hourlong period. As a result, we may have longer, retreat-style meetings less frequently than monthly, shorter meetings. Testing the Bridge: Will it take us there? Our bridge-building efforts are showing promise: ◦ Exploration of diverse instruction methods reveal exciting possibilities. Downside: It takes time to develop new delivery methods. Testing the Bridge: Will it take us there? Who has time these days? Administrative and librarian buy-in Footbridge or Suspension Bridge? Engineering for specific needs, no matter what size library ◦ SWOT analysis can help identify areas for growth and development ◦ Librarian self-assessment via the ACRL Proficiencies can provide a snapshot of what your program is doing well, and what your program can do better Acknowledgments I owe a debt of gratitude to: ◦ My partner Constance Merritt for listening to me talk about this stuff for months on end. ◦ The IUS Library faculty for participating in this bridge-building adventure. ◦ The Indiana University Southeast Research and Grants Committee for financial support to attend this conference. ◦ LOEX for putting on such a great conference. Questions?