ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group Community
ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group Meeting (add to your ALA schedule)
Saturday, June 29th
Hyatt Regency Chicago, Columbus EF
Please join us as we discuss the following topic:
How do we measure causation versus correlation in the library’s role in student success and retention? The ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group will be discussing the impact of a “culture of assessment” on libraries and demonstrating value on campus in regards to retention. We will discuss how effective demonstration of value in campus retention is through traditional methods and hope to explore ideas participants have for new initiatives.
Not going to Annual? Join us in ALA Connect: http://connect.ala.org/node/173037
Thanks to everyone who attended the ACRL Student Retention Discussion Group meeting at Midwinter. We had great discussions about environmental scanning, needs assessment, and implementing new services and technology speaking to retention. We hope to continue the conversation here, and if you're interested in being a facilitator for a monthly article discussion, just fill out our form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNJT2U1NFpPeFprQzhPSXgtVnhuUHc6MQ#gid=0
Minutes will be posted in the near future, and we hope to see you all at Annual in Chicago (turns out we won't have a meeting at ACRL, DG meetings are just for ALA MW and Annual conferences).
My name is Laura Dowler and I'm the librarian at ITT Technical Institute-Strongsville Campus. The article I will be facilitating is "The Role of the Academic Library in Promoting Student Engagement in Learning by George D. Kuh and Robert M. Gonea. The article can be found at: http://crl.acrl.org/content/64/4/256.abstract
Here are some items to think about as you read the article:
1. On page 257 the authors state: "In addition to information literacy, are there other outcomes that library experiences could and should foster? The limited evidence on this point is mixed." What do you think? Are there other outcomes we should be fostering? What are they?
2. Table 1 on page 260 illustrates the variables in the study. In looking at the questions asked of students, Is there anything you would add or amend?
3.The study showed a trend of decline in the proportion of students who use the library as a place to read or study(p.264). What does this mean for keeping the library relevant and keeping students engaged?
4.The study found that "library experiences do not seem to directly contribute to gains in information literacy, to what students gain overall from college, or to student satisfaction." (p.267) The authors suggest that one reason for this is that "Other measures may more accurately estimate information literacy as defined by the ACRL."(267) What measures might more accurately estimate Information Literacy? What other ways could the study be changed to gain a better understanding of how library experiences contribute directly to student gains?
5.The article highlights the need to collaborate with other departments. What are some of your best practices for interdepartmental collaboration? What roadblocks have you run into and how have you solved them?
- According to Blackburn, library instruction "can go a long way towards student retention through information literacy proficiencies. By giving students the skills to cope with the research demands of higher education, they are more likely to succeed" (p. 24-25). In the age of assessment, accountability, and evidence-based practice, how can libraries prove to administration that we are critical to student retention and persistence?
- Blackburn urges librarians to build relationships with students, but also recognizes the challenges we face in doing so. What are the implications of the "one-shot" library session for campus retention efforts? Is it possible to build relationships with students in this kind of setting?
- Do you agree with Blackburn's suggestions to "[step] out from behind the desk and into the light" (p. 27)? What are your thoughts on the return on investment of having a library presence at campus events related to recruitment and orientation? Should we be out there at every possible opportunity, or pick and choose with more intentionality?
- Blackburn states that "In these days of belt-tightening and budget scrutinizing, not every campus can order new couches or put in an espresso machine but it is the attitude that is crucial, not necessarily the architecture" (p. 28). How can we as librarians project an attitude that keeps students coming back to the library specifically and to our institutions generally?
- How is your library involved in campus retention efforts? Did this article give you any ideas for new ways to be involved?
I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say on these topics. Please don't feel that you have to respond to all of these questions, I just wanted to put them out there as food for thought.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your thoughts, questions and great insights into our first article discussion! If I had to sum up the responses, I'd say that those who responded felt that while measuring student retention against student use of the library seemed daunting, it was clear that any data relating the two would be infititely helpful.
As we leave August and get prepared for the September article discussion (details here), I hope we can continue the conversation about how to measure our impact and work together to make it happen in our libraries.