Libraries Learning Outcomes Assessment Survey
Middle States Reaccreditation, October 2006
Final Report

Library faculty of the Rutgers University Libraries were requested to respond to a survey modeled after a universitywide survey of departments and programs developed for the Middle States Reaccreditation Self-Study by Working Group IV - Assessment of Undergraduate Student Learning. The survey was launched November 29, 2006 and closed December 8, 2006.

The total number of library faculty as of June 30, 2006 was 86.6. The likely number of survey respondents, i.e., those librarians whose responsibilities explicitly include teaching, was approximately 50. Twenty-six (26) responses were received, for an approximate response rate of 52%. Twenty-two (22) responses were received from librarians located on the New Brunswick campus, 3 from Newark, and 1 from Camden. The breakdown by library unit was: Library of Science and Medicine - 7, Alexander Library - 6, Dana Library - 3, Kilmer Library - 3, Special Collections and University Archives - 2, Art Library - 1, Chang Science Library - 1, Douglass Library - 1, Mathematical Sciences Library - 1, Robeson Library - 1, Technical and Automated Services - 1. One librarian reported being located at both LSM and Math.

Librarians were asked to list three top learning outcomes for successful students in classes that they have taught. The learning outcomes they reported represent a mix of skills for completing a particular assignment and fundamental understanding of how to find, use, and evaluae scholarly resources. Further analysis of responses is needed to determine how well the learning outcomes reported align with the well-articulated information literacy competency standards developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and endorsed by Middle States. Preliminary impressions, however, indicate that more work is needed before the ACRL standards are integrated into librarian teaching and the curriculum.

Librarians were asked how they develop class content and learning goals, and they reported using a variety of methods to plan their teaching. Most work collaboratively with the teaching faculty members whose classes they teach to develop class content (57.7%) and learning goals (53.8%). Many also work on their own to develop class content (46.2%) and learning goals (34.6%). Anecdotally, librarians commented during survey pretesting that they often teach repeat classes for the same faculty member, which could mean that those who work on their own may be using content and goals developed collaboratively at an earlier time. Few librarians use materials developed by others or rely on external learning goals. The external learning goals used most often (19%) are those from ACRL.

Librarians were asked if they contributed toward development or grading/review of measures for courses for which they teach. They report contributing toward student papers more frequently (63.0%) than any other measure. The next most frequent measures are capstone experiences (33.3%), evaluations of internship performance (33.3%), oral presentations (29.6%), program review by an outside group (22.2%), public demonstrations of student research (22.2%), tests (22.2%), and oral defense of projects (11.1%). All other measures on the survey received two or fewer responses.

Librarians were asked indicate the importance of various factors in making changes in class content. The most important factor is recommendation of a teaching faculty member (85.2%). The next most important factors are student interests (81.5%), changes in the discipline (51.9%), student complaints (51.9%), and analysis of the quality of students' work (48.1%). Other important factors are course evaluations (37.0%), curricular changes at the college level (40.7%), recommendations from national organizations in the disciplines (40.7%), and accreditation standards (30.8%). Recommendations of a curricular committee (18.5%) and periodic curricular reviews at department meetings (11.1%) were not as important. All other factors on the survey received two or fewer responses.

Librarians were asked about their participation in research opportunities for undergraduates. They have participated most frequently in the following research opportunities: independent research studies (66.7%), college honors thesis (48.1%), departmental honors thesis (40.7%), research assistantships (29.6%), paid/unpaid work on grant related activities (25.9%), participation in collaborative research program (18.5%), and research experiences supervised by graduate students or postdoctoral students (18.5%). All other opportunities on the survey received two or fewer responses.

Jeanne Boyle
Associate University Librarian for Planning and Organizational Research
December 8, 2006

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