Discussion: What are our standards?

The RIOT discussion in response to Krystal’s post gave helpful context for the revision of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards, ways to advance information literacy initiatives apart from the standards, and the current information literacy climate at UT. Krystal’s insightful post and informative explanation of the background of the revision process led to a discussion of how we might start to think outside the box when advocating for information literacy in curriculum.

Reporting on the recent presentation by Patricia Iannuzzi, Dean of Libraries at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Krystal laid out Iannuzzi’s and her own thoughts about why the standards are not an end-all, be-all roadmap for information literacy success on campus. It is our job to take those standards and find out how they best fit in the curriculum as we work with departments. Michele demonstrated that wording of the standards is not of utmost importance. Most discussants agreed that we refer to them occasionally, but do not constantly scour them. It was suggested by Iannuzzi and again in our discussion that instead of focusing on the wording of the standards, we should be creating and strengthening partnerships on campus in order to have a strong information literacy presence in curriculum.

UNLV underwent a process of curriculum mapping, and was able to identify and map information literacy learning outcomes in each department and figured out the sequencing to build on previously-taught concepts. Some specific differences were pointed out by Meghan. UNLV looked at required courses across the curriculum, not just for first years. Also, librarians have faculty status which would give them an automatic seat at the table for those discussions. Our group discussed how that would be a difficult process at UT because the culture of assessment is disjointed among departments. Everyone seems to do their own thing.

Laura Schwartz shared her experience of mapping information literacy learning outcomes to the curriculum in her departments a few years ago. Even with faculty buy-in, the program was not able to be implemented. By completing the process, though, Laura is armed with a tool when the departments revisit their curriculum. Kristen Hogan has also started looking at required courses in her areas and seeking opportunities to work with instructors on embedding information literacy.

One thing on campus that is progressing is assessment for UGS classes. Michele shared that the UGS Assessment Group is made up of support folks and faculty who are interested in assessment and how we are meeting the general education curriculum outcomes. One tool being looked at is the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) VALUE rubric. Michele shared this document with the group via email. This rubric measures things like information literacy and critical thinking. Michele would like to take the information literacy learning to the next level in the coming years by integrating these learning outcomes in the next QEP.

Although every undergraduate is required to take a UGS course, and syllabi are reviewed for the six required elements, information literacy doesn’t always happen the way we would like.

Some departments have their own assessment measures like peer evaluation or evaluation by the chair. There are other resources for faculty to examine themselves, apart from the elements of their tenure packets. Doris Adams works at the Center for Teaching and Learning as the head of the faculty liaison program. CTL liaisons are assigned to each college and work with faculty to improve classes and build communities of like-minded folks. The Provost’s Teaching Fellows program aims to enhance faculty collaboration across disciplinary boundaries and support faculty-led projects to improve teaching and learning:


It was clear that the librarians present at the RIOT are interested in continuing this discussion and their work with departments advocating for information literacy. Michele offered to provide LIS support to anyone interested in mapping learning outcomes to curriculum in their departments.

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