Building an Assessment-Focused Information Literacy Program for Agriculture and Related Disciplines: A Collaborative Approach

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Students pursuing degrees in STEM fields, including agriculture and related sciences, need to develop discipline-specific information skills in order to be successful in their educational pursuits and to meet tomorrow’s challenges in their future work as agriculture professionals. Oftentimes, information literacy programs are situated in general education or liberal arts courses, leaving the discipline-specific courses to incorporate information literacy only when and where possible. As STEM librarians, we know this is not sufficient, but the challenge of building a STEM-specific information literacy program can be overwhelming, especially when instructors have little time to incorporate any additional content into their already-packed courses. This session will describe how the College Librarian for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at California Polytechnic State University is collaborating with faculty and administrators to build an information literacy program that prepares graduates to become effective researchers, consumers, and producers of information in their chosen professional disciplines. This developing information literacy program focuses on the discipline-specific needs of undergraduate students in agriculturally-focused degree programs. Information literacy outcomes are scaffolded across the curriculum to introduce the concepts early and then allow students to practice and apply what they have learned in order to develop mastery. The program also incorporates direct and indirect assessment measures, which will allow the college to demonstrate student learning to accreditors and reviewers. This session will share how the librarian is working across all degree programs and at all levels to establish an information literacy program that is strategic, scalable, and sustainable. It will also introduce the planning tools that have been developed to facilitate communication with both faculty and students about the purpose and structure of the program. Lastly, it will offer practical suggestions for others who are working to achieve the same goals at their institutions.
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USAIN 2016 Conference Session: Monday (April 25) – 10:30-11:30am, Contributed Papers Session 1: Teaching & Learning – Moderator: Amy Shannon
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STEM, Information Literacy, Agriculture, Library, USAIN, Conference
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