December 12, 2014 Meeting of Graduate Student Survey 2015 Working Group

Time and Location of Meeting

December 12, 20149:00 am - 10:00 am Library 230b

Agenda Details


Agenda not yet available.

Minutes Details


Esra Coskun, Sarah Crissinger, Merinda Hensley, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Susan Schnuer, Kelli Trei, Jen-chien Yu


1.     Welcome and Introductions

Lisa reviewed the agenda and asked committee members to introduce themselves, including what library unit they are from as well as why they are interested in this project.

Committee members commented that they believe graduate students are a major user group for research universities, they have not seen a survey on this population in almost ten years, and that they find graduate students in their departments or specialization areas are often underrepresented in responses to the general surveys.


2.     Purpose/ Role of the Group 

Lisa will be drafting a change but wanted to draw on an initial discussion with the group. Lisa noted that the working group was formed by recommendations and outreach done within the User Education Committee, the Library Assessment Committee, and the three Associate University Librarians, along with their respective advisory committees.

Membership of the working group is from four committees:

  • User Education – Lisa, Merinda, Sarah
  • Library Assessment – Lisa, Jen
  • Collection Development – Kelli, Esra
  • User Services – Susan, Lynne

Lisa identified two main roles she envisioned the working group having:

1)    Advisory – Group members will inform and advise Lisa on decisions about survey design, marketing, etc.

2)    Ambassador/Advocacy – Group members will keep library units and colleagues informed about what the group is doing and the survey. They will also play an integral role in getting buy-in from campus units, e.g., the Graduate College, International Programs, etc.

Committee members added that they see the committee performing a “stay the course” role – ensuring that the survey project stays in alignment with the intended purpose and goals.


3.     Survey Review

Ithaka S+R Graduate Student Survey will be implemented using a full-population approach so that we can use a variety of marketing methods to encourage a high response rate. Some marketing approaches might include subject librarian communication, GradLinks announcements, and a “take our survey” table in libraries or other campus spaces. The group should be creative in identifying more ideas on how to market the survey.

The survey instrument itself is a standard one and so we will not be editing the questions. There is not a national sample of responses to compare Illinois results to; however, other research libraries have implemented the graduate student survey and there is interest in sharing results across institutions.

Module Selection

The greatest interest among the available modules is in Research Practices and not Teaching or Space Planning. This is consistent with our institution’s profile as a research university and educating graduate students as researchers.

Custom Modules

In addition to the base survey, Ithaka has approached us about developing additional custom modules of mutual interest. This comes at no extra cost to UIUC. If implemented, the custom modules would also ask participants to answer further questions after they complete the core survey. Group members were especially interested in asking extra questions of international students and science students. One concern is that many students would be in both groups; however, it may be possible to mitigate concerns about non-completion by alternating which custom module is presented to a participant first.

4.     Timeline

Lisa will draft a timeline based on when the survey will go out to participants. Committee members discussed the pros and cons of implementing the survey at different times of the year. The final decision was that the last two full weeks of April were most workable.

5.     Graduate College Engagement

Merinda has contacts in the Graduate College and made recommendations for who we might approach to secure their support. Lisa will also ask John Wilkin to make contact with the Dean of the Graduate College.

6.     Marketing and Liaison Librarian Engagement

Merinda suggested that Lisa schedule a space on the faculty agenda in February to promote the survey and Lisa will do so. Jen suggested coming up with a canned message to distribute after virtual reference chats with graduate students in order to encourage them to take the survey. Another idea included making “toolkits” or resources for subject librarians, which might include a draft message to their students, directors of graduate study, and other stakeholders.

Additional networks could include the GEO, Title VI centers, and IPS. Susan mentioned that she and Lynne would be able to draft a message for organizations working with international students. Sarah will compile a list of smaller Registered Student Organizations that might also be useful for promotions, with a focus on graduate student organizations with large international student or STEM student populations.