Presentation - LOEX Conference

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
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
•Learn a method of developing a
librarian self-assessment instrument
in order to identify areas for
improvement in their own libraries.
•Understand SWOT analysis in order to plan concrete steps for instructional
•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
◦ ALA Emerging Leaders Program, Class of 2009
IUS is a regional campus in Indiana University system, located in
New Albany, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville,
 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
John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge,
Louisville, KY
Answer: A bridge to
anchored at each end
with SWOT analysis
and a librarian selfassessment tool.
Structural Support, Part 1:
What is a SWOT Analysis?
◦ What do we do well?
What advantages do we
◦ What could we improve?
What are our
◦ What possibilities and
trends are we aware of?
◦ What obstacles do we
face? What is our
competition doing?
Appreciative Inquiry
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
◦ 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.”
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
Alter the verb tense of each
Proficiency into a first person
◦ 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
Developing a self-assessment
Survey question
format based on
leadership inventory
at ALA Emerging
Leaders workshop in
Developing a self-assessment
See the whole survey online at:
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
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
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
◦ 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
Our bridge-building efforts are showing
◦ 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
Our bridge-building efforts are showing
◦ Exploration of diverse instruction methods
reveal exciting possibilities.
 Downside: It takes time to develop new delivery
Testing the Bridge: Will it take us
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
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.