I’ve written often in this series about collaborating with various departments around campus (see recent posts on teaming up with undergraduate research professionals or the university fellowship office). No library is an island, and building a strong network of support helps ensure more uptake and better results for your programming, whether you’re focused on the FYE, second-year transitions, or information literacy instruction. But these productive, mutually beneficial relationships don’t just fall out of the ether. Here are a couple of pointers to get you in the best position to attract meaningful partnerships.
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. In Part I, they explored how different groups in academia conceptualize research. This week they discuss how Tim has worked to engage students in their academic and creative life, and how libraries can partner with undergraduate research offices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.