Information resources and services are sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, and currency to support the institution’s curricular offerings.
All library and information services are informed by strong connections to the curriculum. An entirely distinctive library rotation systems links the library and the teaching faculty. Teaching alliances between media service professionals and media faculty determine the character of media services. A strong liaison system connects academic computing instructional staff with teaching faculty.
- 1 Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program
- 2 Teaching and Instruction
- 3 Availability of Policies
- 4 Participatory Planning
- 5 Networks Extend Information Resources
Equipment and Materials to Support the Educational Program
5.B.1 Equipment and materials are selected, acquired, organized, and maintained to support the educational program.
Collection Development Procedures & Methods
The library faculty develops collections to support Evergreen's changeable interdisciplinary curriculum without the usual benefit departmental allocation or structures. The librarians build collections and vendor profiles on the basis of their work as both library and teaching faculty (See 5.B.2), work which involves full-time teaching, faculty governance, extensive colleagial engagement with the teaching faculty, and affiliation with planning units. The curriculum committee is the faculty as a whole, who develop the curriculum in curricular planning units, curriculum retreats, and governance groups. The library faculty's overall knowledge of the curriculum is strengthened by teaching faculty who rotate into the library and lavish their attention on areas of the collection related to their disciplinary expertise. Finally, librarians honor most requests from individuals for additions to the collection, working from the fact that free inquiry and individual research are central to the library’s mission.
In the past, the Library has struggled to satisfy incidental research demands outside the boundaries defined by the core, repeating curriculum. The substantial part of the curriculum which varies from year to year, the significant amount of work by independent contract students (almost 1300 independent study contracts in 2006/7), and the opportunity for intensive individual projects within full-time, multi-quarter programs have all driven demand for specialized materials outside the core collection. Resource sharing and large, shared purchases, all made efficient because of networking technology, have eradicated this problem. See 5.B5 below.
Close work with the curriculum and faculty also informs the development of media facilities and services. Media staff attend the Expressive Arts Planning Unit meetings, in particular the Moving Image subgroup. Budgetary processes for equipment purchase and operating costs include multiple avenues for consideration of the educational program's demands on Media facilities, equipment and support staff. Through the Planning Units needs are communicated to the Academic budget planners. Through the Library, cross-curricular media demands are communicated to the Academic budget planners. Through the (Information Technology Collaborative Hive (ITCH), cross-unit needs are coordinated and passed up to the campus-wide budget process. These three avenues help assure that Media's broad and specific curricular demands are considered.
Some stresses develop. Like the Library, Media Services serves the entire academic community, from programs to individuals. And, like the library, Media Services strains under the pressure of answering the needs of freely chosen independent study as well as a fluid curriculum. Students working on independent media productions compete with Expressive Arts programs over scarce resources, from equipment to laboratories to teaching staff. In order to balance these competing demands, Media Services requires students and faculty to submit Media Request Forms, which are reviewed by the Media Services Manager and the Head of Instruction Media, who allocate resources, both human and technological. Individual Contract forms include a question about the need for special equipment or facilities, and this serves as a safety net for screening intensive media use. In these ways Media Services assures that students who embark on media studies do so with the appropriate support. The Expressive Arts planning unit also instituted a Student Originated Studies (SOS) group contract in media in order to assure that students have more consistent access to facilities and instructional support as they pursue their independent projects.
Information Technology Equipment
The Edutech Information Environment Review describes technical support services at Evergreen in the section entitled Area 3: Support Services. Following are some of their comments:
"Technology support is provided by a combination of centralized services (Computing and Communications), service points within the Library, Scientific Computing’s CAL, and dedicated support staff within functional areas. The main sponsors are C&C, the Library, and the Provost’s Office, and where they have the budget, individual areas like Housing and Advancement.
The drawbacks of this decentralization are confusion among users about where to go for help, uneven service, conflicts in priorities, over-reliance on individuals, needed projects that are discussed but not launched, ineffective hand-offs between units, a reactive rather than proactive stance, and policies that are set from too narrow a viewpoint.
In spite of this structural hurdle, many individuals and units are providing high-quality service. Faculty and staff often made a point of praising the excellent support that they receive. But this praise was often for an individual with whom they had developed a close relationship, or for a smaller unit, like Scientific Computing, that is narrowly focused in its support mission. At the same time, these users expressed concern about a lack of clarity in the overall support structure, a general sense that there were not enough staff to provide needed services, and a sense that problems were being solved one at a time, rather than with a structural solution."
The report recommends setting more formal structures for assuring service consistency across units, implementing project planning and management methods across units, assigning staff more specifically, and regular analysis of support services.
Teaching and Instruction
5.B.2 Library and information resources and services contribute to developing the ability of students, faculty, and staff to use the resources independently and effectively.
Library and information resources faculty and staff instruct and teach in multiple modes, from basic skills instruction to more complex, content-driven teaching by faculty and professionals in the curriculum. In addition, the teaching faculty contribute substantively and collaboratively to planning and implementing information services, collections and policies. This dynamic collaboration between the teaching faculty and the library and information resources has shaped our primary mission to support inquiry-based education. Utilization, satisfaction, and curricular surveys demonstrate the effectiveness of this work (See 5.E). Each area within library and information resources has developed structures to connect teaching and instruction closely to the faculty, the curriculum and the academic mission of the college.
Faculty Librarians and Library Teaching
In the case of the Library, Evergreen requires rotation between the librarians and the teaching faculty. Briefly stated, faculty librarians rotate out of the library to teach full-time on a regular basis and, in exchange, teaching faculty rotate into the library to serve as librarians providing reference, instruction and collection development. (See Pedersen pp. 41-44 for more discussion of this system). Faculty who rotate into the library leave with updated skills for developing information literacy within their programs and teams across the curriculum. Library faculty develop their subject specialties and enhance their ability to work across pedagogical and disciplinary realms. Perpetual faculty-wide interactions in faculty governance and team-teaching reinforce the strong connections between the library faculty and the teaching faculty. Librarians know the faculty as colleagues and teaching faculty know the librarians (probably the only basis for widespread and effective library instruction in a curriculum without requirements). Teaching teams also spread effective library instruction practices as experienced teaching faculty introduce their new faculty teammates to their library colleagues and the teaching they offer. Most new faculty also bring updated information technology skills and experience to share with their colleagues.
A loose liaison system links each librarian with a subset of the curriculum, based on subject expertise and personal alliances. Faculty librarians provide a wide array of library and information technology related teaching. One-time workshops designed to introduce sources particular to the research projects within an academic program represent the most common format. Librarians and teaching faculty design these workshops with the assumption that the skills imparted are embedded in the interests and needs of the program learning community. At a minimum, the faculty for the program usually 1) create a research assignment which informs and motivates the students’ work; 2) attend the research workshop and take part, adding their expertise and/or questions; 3) provide the library liaison a syllabus and a copy of the assignment and a list of the topics students are considering and 4) ask the students to begin considering their topic before attending the workshop so that they are primed to begin actual research during the workshop.
Librarians teach series of workshops on research, most frequently in the graduate programs, the sciences, and the off campus programs. The teaching models for these more extended situations vary according to the library faculty involved and the role in the curriculum and they evolve significantly year to year. Each year library faculty affiliate deeply with a few such programs, meeting weekly to create stepped learning conjoined with research assignments [Exhibit: Sara H. workshop materials]. During several academic years an information technology seminar linked library internship opportunities with a hands-on web technology workshop. In that model, a small group of students explored contemporary questions in the world of rapid digitization and its social implications. They paralleled that study with real library work and web production practice, including wikis and webpages designed to support library functions. The seminar and workshop have provided a venue for library faculty, staff and Academic Computing instructors to gather and consider both the past and future of information technologies. For syllabi for these programs see the web pages for Still Looking, Information Landscapes and Common Knowledge. Each year one librarian also offers research methods through the evening and weekend curriculum.
Library Faculty and Off-Campus Programs
Library support for the two major off-campus offerings, the Tacoma and the Reservation-Based, Community-Determined programs, focuses heavily on instruction, with additional support from networked technology, including specialized webpages for these programs. See Services for Reservation-Based Students
See Services for Tacoma-Based Students Students of these programs have limited access to the physical library, and must be directed to the many high quality resources made available to them on-line. End-of-Prigram reports show very high engagement with information technology in these programs (See End-of-program Review Results for 2006-07 - Information Technology Literacy by Planning Unit. Most years, librarians work closely with the Research Methods class at Tacoma, providing instruction on location several weeks per quarter. As of 2007/08, this work has taken on a more formalized structure, and has developed into credit-generating research classes. Library instruction at the upper-division off-campus sites of the Reservation-Based Community-Determined programs has varied widely year-by-year. Recently the program has focused on building library methods into the lower division bridge curriculum, which has not involved the library faculty directly. Reservation-Based programs report, for instance, 100% teaching and use of library and internet research in 2007. [need description of this work] Rebuilding this connection should be a high priority, and a planned faculty rotation from a former directory of the Reservation-Based program will be an opportunity to do so. Perusal of the Achievements list for the self study period demonstrates that almost every development supports distant access to collections and services, and thus the off-campus programs.
Library Faculty as Service Providers
Within the library, the library faculty see themselves primarily as teachers. They tend to understand the services of the library in the context of teaching and learning, specifically teaching as it actually happens in the Evergreen curriculum. Thus, they do not tend work from externally defined "best practices" nor do they function in a reactive mode. They take a proactive approach to the work, suggesting tools and strategies for designing library instruction, and finding the intellectual work in the world of research instruction. They position themselves to work across administrative as well as curricular boundaries and sustain an important role in the crossroads of traditional research methods, contemporary information technology and the world of the curriculum and their teaching colleagues.
Modes of Instruction in Media and Academic Computing
In all major computer and media labs, staff instructors provide group instruction designed to support the needs of specific academic programs. This instruction covers particular applications and tools relevant to the disciplines involved. Media and computing instructors teach workshops in different spaces and in different modes, depending on the discipline and the technology. There are no constraints upon which facilities may be used. In one quarter, a science program might have workshops in the Computer Center focusing on blogs; a math workshop using Excel in the Computer Applications Lab; a session on video documentation for field research in the Multimedia Lab; and a library research workshop in one of the general-purpose labs in the Computer Center. In this way, academic programs leverage staff expertise and facilities as needed.
Teaching faculty must be able to easily identify and contact the appropriate staff member to coordinate computer instruction which may require significant logistical support such as lab scheduling, equipment check-out, server space, password access, personnel scheduling and other details. In Academic Computing, program liaisons work with faculty in order to coordinate how programs will teach technology. For instance, the staff liaison helps set up file shares, web spaces, and schedules and teaches workshops. In Media Services, the Head of Instructional Media provides a central location for faculty and students requesting instructional support in media to get help connecting with appropriate media instructors and scheduling facilities and instruction. The Media Services staff work with faculty to design and integrate media into their programs. Media Services staff meet regularly with Media faculty in the expressive arts planning unit so that they can develop facilities, plan for access, and foster integration of media into academic programs.
Students who work independently on media or computing projects or who decide to tackle media projects within non-media oriented programs also find many forms of instructional support. Academic Computing offers regularly scheduled technology workshops, which are open to all. In addition, Evergreen students can access Lynda.com, which tutors students in software applications and programming languages. The Library recently subscribed to Safari Books Online, which supports the computer science curriculum as well as technical inquiries of students across the curriculum. Academic Computing began a computing wiki in 2006/07 which hosts approximately 2,000 pages of instructions and tutorials and which continues to expand. Increasingly, students, faculty and staff rely on the Academic Computing wiki to stay abreast of technologies hosted on campus. Any student may access most media production facilities and check out portable media equipment once they have completed relevant hands-on training sessions called proficiencies. Media instructors run hundreds of these quick, skills-focused instructional sessions annually, serving thousands of students, ensuring proper use of the equipment, and providing supportive technical background for systems. The number of [? instructional sessions? need to look at media statistics again to see what is being counted] doubled since 2000, suggesting the rapidly expanding use and breadth of college-supported media technology. Finally, the Evening and Weekend Studies curriculum provides a coherent, regular pathway for learning more complex production.
Like the library faculty, media instructors teach in a variety of modes: full-time, part-time, introductory, intensive, general, sustained, intermittent, specialized, individual, within programs or collaboratively in small groups. Many of the media staff are artists, professionals, and faculty in their own right with MFA’s in their fields. They teach photography, electronic music, web design, and digital imaging as adjuncts in Evening & Weekend Studies and in Extended Education. Their contributions to the curriculum are substantial and sustained, some of them having taught for over 20 years. Not only does their work support the Expressive Arts, it also provides access and instruction to students who don’t consider themselves artists who want nevertheless to engage in technologies that constitute not just important developing communication media but also define the visual aesthetics of science, history, political science, psychology, and other narratives. Media staff who teach as adjunct faculty sometimes teach full time, as visiting artists. In general, media staff are central to the success of media-based programs and are viewed as colleagues by the Expressive Arts faculty, whose programs they support, and as gurus by less media-literate faculty. These working relationships form the backbone of Media Services. Additionally, Photo, Electronic Media and Media Loan staff annually teach as field supervisors for up to eight student interns who are critical to the effective functioning of labs and services. These students typically not only gain high level technical production skills, but also develop instructional, collaborative and administrative experience by working closely with students, faculty and technical staff. Finally, all Media staff sponsor many individual contracts which provide opportunities for students who have identified intensive individual inquiries which are not supported in the curriculum at large.
Library and information resources instructors also regularly work with and support the teaching faculty through individual collaboration, but also through several faculty institutes each summer. Faculty institutes create valuable connections among faculty, library, media and academic computing instructors. Recent information technology institutes have focused on specific applications such as teaching statistics with Excel, using online collaborative tools to foster learning communities, or creating program web pages. Some years, substantive discussions of information technology literacy, rather than hands-on use, have been offered. During institutes, faculty are also often afforded paid time for self-directed work that focuses on their program planning. In these instances, faculty evaluate technology, practice using it, and plan how to incorporate applications into their programs.
Availability of Policies
5.B.3 Policies, regulations, and procedures for systematic development and management of information resources, in all formats, are documented, updated, and made available to the institution’s constituents.
5.B.4 Opportunities are provided for faculty, staff, and students to participate in the planning and development of the library and information resources and services.
As is the case throughout the college, face-to-face communication is valued, and formal procedures for consultation are often minimal. Direct requests and suggestions are received and welcomed by all LIR staff and faculty.
As an example, one important decision which determines how library and information services evolve and prosper is good hiring. Hiring processes are broadly consultative. Committees with staff from different units interview and recommend for all staff positions. Students, staff and faculty representatives are included in hiring committees for any major positions. [See DTF membership and consultation schedules for Library Dean; Head of Academic Computing; Director of Computing and Communications].
More broadly, almost all instructional and technical support is designed and planned in the context of collaborative work with teaching faculty and other clients. Face-to-face planning and direct engagement with teaching faculty in a program-by-program context defines the work of library and information resources across all units.
Networks Extend Information Resources
5.B.5 Computing and communications services are used to extend the boundaries in obtaining information and data from other sources, including regional, national, and international networks.
Consortial arrangements in the Orbis-Cascade regional system offer Summit, a resource-sharing system which make it possible to satisfy almost any book and most media request generated by the individualistic interests of students working on independent projects. The Summit system, which includes over 30 academic library collections from Oregon and Washington, delivers resources within two or three days. Many highly specialized materials are also now supplied by periodicals databases, which have expanded the number of journal subscriptions Evergreen holds eight to nine times over the self-study period. Consortial purchases have reduced per-title costs dramatically and have strengthened areas of the curriculum not necessarily the focus of a core liberal arts collection (psychology, education and business were heavily emphasized in the most recent round of shared purchasing). Finally, ILLiad, the on-line interlibrary loan system, brings journal articles to the mailboxes and email accounts of students within a few days (or even hours). There are almost no discernible limits to accessing published information for any researcher except those who need to present within 24 hours. Nevertheless, Orbis-Cascade is exploring collaborative collection development to ensure both the depth of the shared collections and the appropriate coverage of local collections. As the physical periodicals and reference collections have shrunk, networked services, large periodical databases, and digitized reference resources have enormously expanded both the content of and access to information resources. Effective campus networks supported by Computing and Communications technical support staff make all this work possible. Implementing the Banner student records system and establishing email as the official communications medium with students were examples of college-wide steps which have made efficient resource sharing and online information use feasible for our students.