Friday, March 4, 2011

Meeting with departments

Okay, so here I stand, trying to schedule meetings with 7 different departments. Partly based on contacts I've made with each department and their historic involvement with the library, I've developed strategies for most of them:

Biology: I had actually talked to the library liaison (each department has a faculty member who serves as the library liaison for the department) about information literacy in the fall, in anticipation of this meeting with the associate dean (before I knew that she wanted me to meet with the departments separately), because I figured it would be helpful to report on any advances I'd made with them (or, what I thought would be the case, my lack of success in being able to get anyone's ear).
Anyway, he agreed to start implementing some information literacy modules in two of his classes - one, a general biology intro class (for which there are several sections - he teaches one) and one a graduate-level seminar. I taught both classes two weeks ago .. I'll post more specifically about the undergraduate module a bit later, because it was fun and interesting for me, but I'm waiting for a bit more follow-up before I summarize the results. In April, I'm going to try and schedule a meeting with him, the head of the department, and the UG studies committee chair to talk about possible next steps. Encouraging!

Chemistry: One of the new professors (note to people doing this - NEW PROFESSORS ROCK .. they are often grateful for any assistance you can provide, and are generally more receptive and adaptive to changes within their syllabi) approached me in January and said that they're redoing their lab structure, and would like me to be involved. This was likely brought about because I was able to teach the chemistry lab I mentioned in my last post (which was taught by the other new professor in the department .. again, new professors rock). I'm guessing she liked it and told the other lab professors that I should be a part of the conversation. So, I figure it's best to let that play out on their timeframe.

Computer Science: Totally stumped on this. I have literally never heard from a faculty member in this department (library liaison included .. even when I purchased Safari, which I was sure I would get some feedback on!). Since computer science used to be merged with physics, my plan right now is to ask physics for advice. Lame, I know!!

Environmental Science: I am lucky in that the head of the department is also the library liaison. Additionally, I did a weeding project last summer/fall, and asked for his assistance, so we have a decent relationship. I've also taught more library sessions in environmental science than any other program, though requests have not been consistent every semester. Anyway, we sat down and talked earlier this week! HOORAY!!
Summary of the meeting: he agrees that the environmental science majors are not as adept at finding and evaluating sources as they should be. Next fall, he will be teaching a year-long first-year seminar, and we're going to collaborate on ways to integrate information literacy into the seminar. We're also going to explore involvement with the senior capstone, a final project all ENVS majors go through. This is far less than the dream in my head of "okay, Rachel will visit every ENVS250 class and discuss subject-specific databases and scientific article evaluation, while in these others classes she will cover these other aspects, and maybe also cover EndNote for the seniors" .. but it's definitely a start.

Math/Stats: This is my other ???? department. No history of instruction, some requests from books, historical resistance to some proposed weeding in the past (gulp!). I don't hear much from them. Like computer science and physics, I really question how much information literacy they really NEED. I'm going to wait on this one for now.

Physics: I've scheduled a meeting with the head of the department and former library liaison and general friend to the library (and a faculty member that I personally know to be refreshingly blunt on topics - no need to dance around issues with him) .. that meeting is happening in 2 weeks. I've gotten permission from my boss to provide lunch, trying to arrange that without having to pay for it or pick it up myself. Hoping for sandwiches .. I figure this will help with the "hey, we're really grateful for your willingness to listen" (and by we I mean just me, really) message. I've already told them that I don't really have a good understanding as to how I can best support them, but would like to hear their ideas. I'm guessing my involvement will center around their senior capstone, which sounds great to me.

Psychology: Oh, psychology. This is my only Ph.D. program. I've been consistently surprised at how little I hear from these faculty, considering how many of them there are. They are undergoing a number of changes, which has made thing a bit harder - for example, the professor for the undergraduate research methods changed this fall, which I didn't realize until spring. We've now been in contact and have mapped out a plan for my involvement (and I got to come in to the graduate-level research methods class too, which was great) with that class, but I haven't heard from him as to when this will happen.
Psychology was the other department I'd targeted to meet with prior to the associate dean meeting. I contacted the head of the department and asked if I could come to a faculty meeting to show them several new resources we've acquired recently (that I'm pretty sure they aren't aware of, despite my e-mails) and also to discuss how I can "better support them and their students". I really don't know how much information literacy will be covered, but a girl can dream. I'm hoping questions like "how well do you feel your students are doing research for their assignments and papers?" might spur some discussion .. because faculty are NEVER satisfied with the level of student papers. :)

So, slowly, slowly. My dearest hope is to be teaching in new classes (i.e., classes that have not had information literacy) in at least 3/7 departments next fall.

No comments:

Post a Comment