June 14, 2007
Supporting Students from the Start
In this week's Chronicle of Higher Education, George Kuh (Indiana University) provides some guidelines on how to help students achieve academic success based on the data collected through the National Survey of Student Engagement. His first suggestion: "teach first-year students as early as possible how to use college resources effectively." Kuh does not highlight the role that libraries have in meeting this mandate, but, at Illinois (as elsewhere), we are definitely contributing to this critical learning goal.
At UIUC, librarians housed both in departmental libraries and the Undergraduate Library provide direct instruction both to first-year students and to graduate assistants who are active as instructors of first-year courses. Faculty aligned with the Office of Information Literacy and Instruction collaborate with colleagues in Academic Advising, and there are plans to enhance the instructional collaboration between the Undergraduate Library and the Residence Hall Libraries. Finally (because I could go on at length about the ways the Library contributes to the goal of first-year student education and support), we should note the enhanced commitment that the Library has made to helping its diverse student body succeed through the work of our Outreach Librarian for Multicultural Services. Also housed in Undergrad, Emily Love has built relationships with key student support programs across campus, including the Office of Minority Student Affairs.
The University Library has a long tradition of "teaching first-year students as early as possible" about one of the most critical campus resources designed to support their academic success, and a strong commitment to teaching students throughout their time here the information skills they will need for the rest of their lives. As we prepare in the coming year to build on that tradition through collaboration with New Student Orientation and the Division of General Studies, we can look at the results of Kuh's research as one sign that we are dedicating our resources to a critical campus goal.
Posted by swalter at June 14, 2007 10:48 AM
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