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.
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:
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.
by Danielle Rapue and Duncan Whitmire
Danielle Rapue of Pasadena City College is the winner of our FYE Guide Activity Contest! The judges loved her Finals Survival Kit, and were impressed by how she was able to address prevalent student needs while also bringing new users into the library. In this interview she shares how she made it happen, and how students responded. Thank you to everyone who downloaded The Credo FYE Guide and let us know what you’ve incorporated in the past semester!
by Beth Black and Raymond Pun
Last week Beth and Ray offered activities and suggestions for teaching students about research questions criteria and the role of background information when starting their research projects. This week the two take a look at writing and revising research questions using Credo Online Reference Service.
By Stacy R. Williams and Raymond Pun
Visual literacy is an important skill to make sense of images and multimedia content. In this post we’ll build off our previous discussion of teaching visual literacy to delve deeper into how we can engage students to think critically in this area. From social media to digital collections in museums, librarian Stacy R. Williams shares her favorite tools when teaching critical visual literacy concepts in research workshops at the University of Southern California (USC).
By Beth Black and Raymond Pun
Research question formation and background research are important parts of the process that set students up for success in seeing their assignments to completion. Credo Online Reference Service is a good tool for giving students practice with these fundamental steps during library instruction sessions. This 2-part series will describe an FYE workshop Beth designed and offered at Ohio State University for honors students. It can be easily adapted to class visits to courses in which students will have a research assignment. The workshop is part of the common read program, and is titled “What’s in a Question? Research Questions and [common read title]”. Make sure students have access to computers or tablets so they can use Credo during the session.
By John Jackson and Raymond Pun
In this FYE Spotlight Series, we’ve spoken to many academic librarians from community colleges to major universities to hear more about their work in supporting the FYE community. In this interview, librarian John Jackson from Loyola Marymount University Library shares his experiences in collaborating and designing outreach programs for first year students. John also discusses the importance of libraries in connecting with first year students as soon as they start.
By Heather F. Ball, Beth Black, and Raymond Pun
2018 was an interesting year that saw big shifts in librarians’ responsibilities with interesting developments in open access, makerspaces, and virtual and augmented reality services. The rise of blockchain and artificial intelligence are also being heavily discussed across the field now—but what will 2019 bring? Three academic librarians offered up the following conversation to explore potential FYE and academic librarianship trends for 2019 and beyond.