Since 2015, University Libraries has offered stipends to faculty and instructors to redevelop their courses to incorporate more information literacy skills and increase librarian involvement. In 2019, the awards increased from $1,000 to $1,250. These revamped and newly designed courses teach students to locate, evaluate, synthesize and cite sources properly in the manner most appropriate for the subject area.
Highlighting three of the award recipients, University Libraries reached out to Dr. Jill Bender, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of History; Meg Horton, senior lecturer in the Department of Biology; and Dr. Jonathan Zarecki, associate professor in the Department of Classical Studies to discover the impact of these stipends on overall student learning, as well as the benefits associated with collaboratively working together.
In 2018, Bender received the award for her War, Gender, and Crime in Victorian News (HSS 222) course, in which she had her students focus on “fake news” and developed the course around five events in British history. Throughout the course, students were able to refine their research and analytical skills while preparing for their final project — a proposal with five to six primary sources and a research poster. “I am amazed by the information they were able to collect in the Martha Blakeney Special Collections & University Archives‘ databases,” said Bender.
Horton also received the award in 2018 for her Introductory Concepts of Biology (RCO 252) course. She utilized the stipend to create a student portfolio project and requested that all faculty teaching in Grogan Residential College create prompts where students could analyze the process of researching, evaluating and citing sources. Using the research gathered, students created and supported an argument for their portfolios. “The award tremendously benefited these students, and the library was transformative in their learning,” said Horton.
In 2016, Zarecki received the award for his The Classical Art of Persuasion (CCI 102) course. He utilized the stipend to focus on modern skills of evidence and was able to purchase books for student use. Throughout the course, students worked closely with Jenny Dale, associate professor and information literacy coordinator for University Libraries, to ensure information literacy components were present in the students’ argumentative research papers. Each student chose their own topic to argue and their writing, research and persuasion skills were expanded. “This award infinitely increased the value of the course and students now reap the benefits,” said Zarecki.