Time to read: 4 minutes

The Library conducted two campus-wide Ithaka surveys to better understand the changing research and teaching needs of faculty and graduate students. The full reports are available here. In that process, we learned a bit about how UD faculty perceive and use the library’s teaching services from our 355 respondents.


1. Undergraduate information skill sets remain a concern for faculty


UD faculty expressed concern over undergraduates’ information literacy skills, with a majority of respondents indicating that they perceive undergraduates’ ability to locate and evaluate scholarly information as poor, and consider improving these skills to be an important course goal.


2. Librarians are partners in helping students develop information literacy skills.


On a campus with a long-standing library instruction program and many regular, fruitful collaborations between librarians, curators, and those who teach, it was perhaps unsurprising that a majority of faculty (96%) reported that they perceive librarians as playing a significant role in helping students develop these information retrieval and evaluation skills. However, only 4% of respondents indicated that they felt their undergraduate and graduate students interact frequently with librarians. If you’re looking for extra support in helping students meet your information literacy course goals, there are three things you can do right away:

  • Know your subject specialist and chat about how they can help!
  • Know what options the library and museums offer for course support.
  • Put a shout out to the library’s virtual or in-person reference services in your syllabus or Canvas course shell to direct students to folks who can help.


3. Faculty focus on integrating opportunities for students to practice information skills in upper-level courses, but librarians at UD tend to work more closely with lower-division courses.


Our faculty respondents reported that they typically integrate opportunities for students to learn skills related to finding, evaluating, and using information in upper division classes more frequently than lower division courses. This brought up an interesting question for the librarians, as the majority of our teaching support is currently devoted to lower-division courses. So far this spring, the library has worked with a total of 122 undergraduate courses and following a typical pattern, 78 of these were for the 100-200 level, while 44 were at the 300-400 level, indicating a potential for increased collaboration in upper-division courses.


4. UD faculty are psyched to learn more about digital technologies and innovative pedagogies.


The majority of survey respondents showed interest in adopting new pedagogies that take advantage of emerging digital technologies, but also expressed a desire for more teaching support for these activities. We’re happy to report that more support in this area is coming soon! The library has just hired a Digital Scholarship and Research Services team, which will hit the ground running in May 2019! The unit will work to provide UD faculty, researchers, and students with services for digital scholarship by supporting the creation, publication, and preservation of digital research in multiple forms. Look for an interview with our new colleagues in the next issue!

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