Beth Black

Recent Posts

Partnering with Undergraduate Research Professionals, Part I

Posted by Beth Black on 5/30/19 12:55 PM

By Beth Black and Tim O'Neil

Student engagement librarian Beth Black recently interviewed Tim O’Neil, assistant director of Special Undergraduate Enrichment Programs at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Their conversation centers around the process of helping undergraduates see themselves as scholars, and how libraries can work with undergraduate research offices as partners and collaborators. The first installment of this two-part blog series looks at one of the questions at the heart of so many discussions about the nature of research in higher education.

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

Calendar of Second-year Student Needs

Posted by Beth Black on 5/20/19 1:28 PM

Beginning of Fall Semester

  • Establishing healthy routines. Remind second-year students of library locations and supports for undergrads. I attend a Welcome Week fair for second-year honors students, and ask them where they studied last year and what libraries they know about. I then point out the other library locations on our campus and challenge them to find libraries closest to their breaks between classes to support good use of “down” time.

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

“Spark”-ing new collaborations with the University Fellowships Office

Posted by Beth Black on 5/6/19 11:36 AM

By Beth Black and Hailley Fargo

Recognizing that underclassmen students at Penn State were often overwhelmed by the process of identifying and applying for fellowships, student engagement librarian Hailley Fargo teamed up with Caitlin Ting, director of the University Fellowships Office, to create the Spark Program. In this interview she shares how they launched their collaboration, what inspired them, and how the program has evolved.

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

Challenging Assumptions and Initiating Conversations: My Takeaways from ACRL 2019

Posted by Beth Black on 4/22/19 12:55 PM

I looked forward to ACRL 2019 in my home state of Ohio for weeks, and the conference in Cleveland did not disappoint. As I reflect on the conference, a key theme of challenging assumptions and taking the time to talk with others began with Michele Norris’ opening keynote about The Race Card Project.

Conferences, First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

The 6 Pathways That Indicate Whether Second-year Students Will Thrive

Posted by Beth Black on 4/9/19 9:39 AM

Supporting second-year students in the midst of the multifaceted transitions they face is more than a matter of getting them to persist into their third year. Instead, we want our students to thrive. Thriving is an expanded picture of student success defined by Laurie A. Schreiner as optimal functioning in the three key areas of academic engagement and persistence, interpersonal relationships, and psychological well-being (Schreiner, 2010). “Sophomores who are thriving are investing effort in their academic work and in the process of selecting a major that interests them and brings out their best. They experience a sense of meaning and purpose to their lives that provides direction as they engage in their classes, become involved in campus and community life, form healthy relationships, and make a difference in the world around them” (Schreiner, 2018).

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

The Library’s Unique Role in an Engaged Campus

Posted by Beth Black on 4/1/19 10:54 AM

In Student Success in College, George Kuh, the student affairs expert on student engagement, and colleagues note that educators are in many places on an effective college campus, and each has a part in making an engaging college experience for undergraduate students (Kuh, et. al., 2005). Of course, librarians and libraries have much to offer toward these efforts.

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

The Power of Positive Everyday Interactions When Working with Second-year Students

Posted by Beth Black on 3/14/19 12:49 PM

When talking about second-year transition initiatives, it’s easy to focus on instructional strategies, faculty collaborations, or splashy events—but don’t lose sight of the small, everyday interactions your staff have with students. Surveys show that second-year students feel less supported than their fellow undergrads, a perception that could manifest itself as a barrier between them and your library’s outreach efforts.

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

How To Find Second-year Students On Your Campus

Posted by Beth Black on 3/7/19 10:42 AM

One of the challenges of working with second-year students is finding them: unlike first-year students, who can often be located thanks to FYE programs, second-years aren’t as easy to connect with. While more campuses are building second-year programs (46% of institutions that responded to the 2014 National Survey of Sophomore-Year Initiatives reported offering such programs), they take a variety of forms. In fact, most of the initiatives have only been in existence 2-5 years and are likely not as comprehensive as their first-year counterparts.

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

Tips For Supporting Second-year Students

Posted by Beth Black on 2/26/19 12:58 PM

Last week I talked about the unique needs of second-year students, a group all too often overlooked in higher education. The “sophomore slump” is a phenomenon we take for granted, but there are strategies we can use to support students who, after making it through their first year, still face challenging transitions. Here are a few things I’ve learned about working with second-year students as a faculty mentor for Ohio State’s Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) and as the coordinator of library workshops for the STEP Professional Development Co-Curricular series:

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

The Second Year Transition: Looking Into Higher Ed’s Most Overlooked Year

Posted by Beth Black on 2/21/19 10:05 AM

What is special about the second year of college? Following the excitement and the external transition forced in the first year of college, the second year seems quieter at first glance. These students have figured out how to navigate campus, made the transition to the more rigorous expectations of college courses, and made friends with peers. However, the idea of a sophomore slump is not new: I recently found an article dating back to 1956 on the subject. The author claimed that, at his institution, the “sophomore slump” was not as widespread as expected (Freeman, 1956). Yet even in this article skeptical of the concept, he notes challenges common to second-year students.

First Year Experience, Second Year Transition

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