thing 12: Collaborating with Faculty


Lundstrom, K., Anna Fagerheim, B., & Benson, E. (2014). Librarians and instructors developing student learning outcomes: Using frameworks to lead the process. Reference Services Review, 42(3), 484-498. doi: 10.1108/RSR-04-2014-0007


Lundstrom, Fagherheim, and Benson describe a large-scale collaborative effort to create learning outcomes based on the Framework. How could you use elements of their collaborative approach in order to expand assessment efforts at your own institution? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Identify one course you work with where you’d like to try a new, Framework-inspired approach to teaching and assessment. Draft an email to an instructor explaining the basics of your idea and ask to set up a meeting to talk further. Share your draft email here.



  1. Dear Dean of Academics,

    After working with the General Education Capstone course for more than 3 years, I have found that the students would be more successful in this course if the library were to conduct an activity based on the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The framework consists of 6 frames that address all the essential aspects of information literacy.

    I would like to implement an activity into the CAPS class based on the 4th frame, “Research as Inquiry.” This frame includes students being able to formulate questions for research based on information gaps, break down complex research questions, monitor gathered information and assess for gaps or weaknesses, and synthesize ideas gathered from multiple sources. These knowledge practices align well with the course objectives. To help students meet those course objectives, I would like the library to visit the CAPS courses at least twice to review the most important aspects of “Research as Inquiry” and ask students to share examples for each of the corresponding practices. This activity will help prepare the students for the more in-depth research they will need to conduct in their core classes.

    I would like to meet with you next week about possibly implementing this information literacy-based activity into the General Education Capstone course for next term.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Jennifer Silverman

    Assistant Librarian


  2. I love what Lundstrom et al. did with their workshop series, and I’d love to explore the possibility of doing something similar at our institution. Faculty engagement and collaboration is something I am really interested in increasing, and it seems like they had some really great ideas on how to create these partnerships and make an atmosphere where librarians are naturally seen as collaborators. I’d really like to steal some of those ideas, particularly with regard to how to create stronger collaborative relationships with faculty – I’d like to see faculty using us more to create assignments and utilizing us more in the classroom, and I can see their approach being useful in this effort.

    Since this activity asked specifically about assessment, I could see using this approach at our institution to explore whether/how faculty are even including what we would call information literacy in their learning objectives. I imagine the explicit inclusion of IL in learning outcomes is fairly low, and a workshop like this might be a good way to introduce faculty to the idea of including IL in learning outcomes, and open up a dialogue between faculty and librarians and between various faculty members regarding how they include IL in their learning outcomes and integrate it smoothly into their existing classes. This also might naturally lead to conversations about using librarian assistance to design assignments, etc.


  3. Electronic Engineering course(s) that the librarian visits—ideal place to bring in some structure, since librarian currently already sees these classes two times over the course of their program (first semester for intro, last semester for research).
    They have more unique information needs, and I found this year that I was focusing too much on the academic research side, while they generally need more immediately useful information. Because I had no assessment, I’m not even sure if this analysis is accurate. I think talking with not only the instructors of these two courses together, but with the faculty of the program (and there’s only about 6, so that wouldn’t be impossible), about what the information needs of the students are and what the instructors would like to see the students succeed at would be very valuable.
    At the same time, I could remind the faculty about information skills that I think the students could benefit from based on interactions in the library. I could then focus my lesson plans on addressing these skills that we all identified as important. This would be really helpful not only for my own part in these courses, but for the instructors to understand information literacy as a whole rather than just showing the students how to use the online library systems, which is what these sessions last year tended to be.


  4. First of all, I would like to provide a little bit of background to the email I post. During this recently-ended spring semester, I reached out to all of the faculty who regularly schedule library instruction for their classes and asked them to participate in a brief survey and face-to-face meeting with me, because my task for this year is to completely restructure the library instruction to be in-line with the ACRL Framework.

    Of 17 faculty, 11 responded and either participated in a paper or digital survey and answered follow-up questions.

    This is the initial email that I sent to the faculty to ask them to participate and for their support:

    Good morning, [insert faculty member’s name].

    First of all, I hope your semester is progressing well!

    I am working on restructuring the library’s instructional module(s), and I am seeking faculty input as I build the new modules. My belief is that if the teaching and library faculty contribute jointly to the library instructional module(s), the students will benefit.

    With that said, may I visit you for a little while to ask you some questions and get your input with a one-page survey? I promise to take no longer than a half-hour of your time, but I value your input as one of our faculty who regularly schedules library instruction.

    If you would be willing to help me out, when is a good time in your schedule for me to come to you? (or for you to come to me if that would be preferable?)

    Thank you so much,

    [insert my email signature here]

    Now, for the results: the 11 faculty who participated did a great job of answering the survey and my follow-up questions. Two frames rose to the top after I weighted and averaged the results: Frames 1 and 3, Authority is “Constructed and Contextual” and “Information has Value.” So, now I am working with these two Frames to reorganize and revitalize the library instructional module. In addition, the faculty asked for other teaching concepts to be included, and I am attempting to weave those concepts into this one-shot library instruction. My goal is to build an instruction that is flexible enough to allow for some specificity as I teach within a multitude of courses across campus, ex. teaching different citation styles in different classes, offering different database examples depending upon the class, highlighting source evaluation models that work better for different fields, etc.

    Surveying the faculty was a great experience, and my plan is to expand my survey and take it to faculty who have never asked for library instruction. I want to find out why they aren’t using library instruction in their classes. But that’s for next year!!


  5. My institution is largely focuses on the health sciences. All programs would like to focus more on how to use evidence, whenever possible, when offering treatment and teach students to be lifelong learners to stay atop the latest developments in their field.

    I’d like to address my letter to the deans so when they discuss EIP across their curriculums, they should have a librarian present.

    Dear Deans:

    As you know, I’ve been involved with the Evidence Informed Practice instruction on campus for the past few years. I would like you to be made aware of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy and how I think it can not only supplement the instruction we already have in place but create more well-rounded practitioners. Knowledge of these frames will lead our students to think about evidence in a larger context than just ow to use it in a clinic setting.

    All of the frames have value but I think these specifically add nuance to the EIP rules they learn. For instance:

    • Information Has Value: Many of our students believe they have access to everything published on an issue through the databases we offer. We need to discuss what is missing and why. We need to convey that their searches inherently have a pro-English bias. We also should point out the systematic biases in publishing against certain genders, races and even preconceived notions towards certain disciplines. This even goes back as far as to grant funding.

    • Research As Inquiry: Students need to understand the importance of analyzing the information they find and how to use it to find more information. They need to realize that a lack of information, while frustrating, is simply opening up lines for further research.

    • Scholarship as Conversation: Students need to understand how the evidence they find fits into the discussion of a greater conversation.

    As you can see, while what we present is thorough on an evidence analysis front, there is more to consider about the actual evidence that I feel should be incorporated into the EIP Curriculum and would love to meet with you to discuss it.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This summer, we plan to meet with English Writing faculty to discuss using a specific citation tool as part of a collaborative effort to better inform our students in properly taking ownership of the resources that they find as part of their research. Hopefully, the discussion will lead to more participation from English faculty, that will result in cross-departmental training that will benefit our student body.

    Sample email:

    Good morning English Writing Professor:

    In January 2016, the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) adopted the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. The six concepts included within the frames are:

    Authority is Constructed and Contextual
    Information Creation as a Process
    Information Has Value
    Research as Inquiry
    Scholarship as Conversation
    Searching as Strategic Exploration

    Reading the literature, and participating in 23 Framework Things (an academic librarian-focused, self-paced online program), have encouraged me to revamp my Information Literacy instruction sessions. I want to create a lively, interactive session, where students are active participants in their learning.

    I would like to schedule some time to discuss your observations of past IL sessions, what outcomes you envision, and how we can work together to more fully develop these outcomes.

    Thank you for your time, and I look forward to a productive collaboration.


  7. Dear Professor:
    As promised I’ve used my professional development to write some initial outcomes for Intro to Social & Behavioral Sciences. What do you think of these?

    Learning Outcome 1: After viewing a source types tutorial, students will use Academic Search Complete’s Source Type limiter in order to choose a sample journal article and a sample newspaper article.

    Learning Outcome 2: Using the Article Comparison worksheet* students will contrast their newspaper article with their journal article in order to understand the characteristics of each type.

    We may also need a tutorial on navigating the library website and other mechanics, but that’s another story:) We can put whatever tutorials we need in Blackboard.

    If these outcomes sound suitable, we can talk about possible assignments and assessments. Otherwise I’ll be happy to tweak them. Either way I look forward to talking with you at the next SBS meeting. Thanks!
    –All my best,

    *This would be attached to an actual email. Also, this email is quite informal, as I already have a working relationship with this faculty.


  8. The authors in this article are doing what one of my colleagues is trying to do with the English department, but the Writing Fellow there seems to be a position that has a different person there every few years. We are able to get into most of the English classes, but it is not as structured as the Case Study in the article.
    I would like to be more structured in approaching a different department and a draft email follows.

    Dear [head of department/faculty]

    The library is making a concerted effort to ensure that all students are aware of the vast array of important resources available to help them succeed in college, life, and the workplace. After a careful analysis of the curriculum of [your department/major] we noticed that there are a set of four (seven) core classes all students are required to take. We would like to work with the faculty that teach those classes to do one or some of the following:
    -have students learn about the library, in person or within the context of the online portion of the class, by the end of their first year of college.
    -give the library liaison access to the syllabi and the key assignments in core classes to better understand how to support the academic and research needs of the students and faculty.
    -meet with the faculty and/or department head to discuss how to ensure students use library resources by the end of their first year of college.
    -If possible, work with students again in upper level [major] classes to see how to those resources for more advanced research.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    Heather Williamson


  9. Dear Professor,

    In an effort to introduce our students to more robust research strategies, I would like to discuss with you a slight revision in the outline for the library instruction that I have previously used with your upper-level, English literature students. I would like to present the information on searching for books and articles from the perspective of searching as a strategic exploration.

    To facilitate this, I propose breaking the students into small groups, so they can brainstorm key words and search terms pertaining to their research paper assignment. They would then be directed to plug search terms into WorldCat Discovery for books and the three databases you prefer for articles to see how different terms pull up different results. I would then show them how to discover the subject labels for each record and advise them to search with at least two of these terms as well and compare results.

    The goals of the revised teaching strategy are to illustrate to students that they need to be creative and flexible in their research, that the first attempt may not always yield good results, and that they need to be persistent if they struggle at first. Students will learn to refine their research strategies, will gain a better understanding of how to use information systems to their advantage, will recognize the effects of using different language in their searches, and will gain tools on how to manage the search process.

    The new set-up in the library’s E-classroom will facilitate this group activity, and students will be able to share their group’s results with the whole class.

    I would like to meet with you for about 30 minutes to discuss in more detail the library instruction for your research paper assignment and to combine our collective expertise in literature and library instruction, respectively. Thank you.


    Liked by 1 person


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