thing 16: Discipline-Specific Instruction

Select one of the options below to complete this activity.

Option 1: Overview & The CUNY Model


Farrell, R. & Badke, W. (2015). Situating information literacy in the disciplines: A practical and systematic approach for academic librarians.  Reference Services Review, 43(2), 319-340.  doi: 10.1108/RSR-11-2014-0052 [pre-print]


Farrell and Badke (2015) recommend a way to develop information literacy within a discipline using information literacy outcomes matrices created as a result of focus groups with disciplinary faculty.  This method, referred to as the “CUNY model”, provides a two-way conversation between librarians and faculty where both parties gain knowledge from each other – the faculty learn more about information literacy and the librarians learn about the epistemology and metanarrative of the discipline.

Is the “CUNY model” something you could see yourself employing at your institution?  Why or why not?  What other ways have you attempted to situate information literacy within a discipline?  What was the effect?

Option 2: Explore a Discipline


Select a reading about adapting the Framework to fit a specific discipline, preferably one that you liaise with and/or teach sessions for.  Use one of the examples below or search the literature to find a more relevant article.


Garcia, L. & Labatte, J. (2015, September). Threshold concepts as metaphors for the creative process: Adapting the Framework for Information Literacy to studio art classes. Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 34(2), 235-248. doi: 10.1086/683383


Bryan, J. E. & Karshmer, E. (2015, May). Using IL threshold concepts for biology: Bees, butterflies, and beetles. College & Research Libraries, 76(5), 251-255.


Knapp, M. & Brower, S. (2014). The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education: Implications for health sciences librarianship. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 33(4), 460-468. doi: 10.1080/02763869.2014.957098 [paywall]


Franzen, S. & Bannon, C. M. (2016). Merging information literacy and evidence-based practice

in an undergraduate health sciences curriculum map. Communications in Information Literacy, 10(2), 245-263.


Connor, E. (2016, September). Engaging students in disciplinary practices: Music information literacy and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education. Notes, 73(1), 9-21 doi: 10.1353/not.2016.0087 [paywall]


Shields, K. & Cugliari, C. (2017, March). “Scholarship as conversation”: Introducing students to research in nonprofit studies. College & Research Libraries News, 78(3), 137-141.


What article did you read?  Do you think the discipline-specific practices described in the article would be useful in your instruction sessions within that discipline?

Post your responses in the Comments section below.


  1. The Shields and Cugliari 2017) article could inform my work with my school’s Leadership & Organizational Studies (LOS) program. Though the LOS faculty would distinguish between leadership studies and nonprofit management, LOS is also a “high scatter” field (p. 137) drawing upon psychology, communication, and more.

    I think my faculty would like students to have a better grasp of the field. I myself would like to spend less time on mechanics and more time on the lay of the scholarly land. The Scholarship as Conversation frame could certainly help in this regard. Since the LOS program has moved heavily online, I can see how to adapt the class as described to LOS and to the online environment.

    The authors mentioned how some students had found book reviews or newspaper editorials instead of full-blown scholarly articles (p. 140). I see that a lot as well. Often I have to ask my faculty how they are defining “scholarly articles” for the purposes of the assignment. After all, even peer-reviewed journals can have book reviews and commentary. This Scholarship as Conversation article could inform my conversations with faculty.


  2. Thing 16 Discipline Specific Instruction

    * We have used focus groups like in the Suny model. We chose the general English course since we all are familiar with teaching these sessions. From there we created general outcomes which made librarians and faculty more focused on what the instruction session would cover.

    * I would like to focus this on the Performing Arts discipline courses since I am their liaison. I have a good rapport with them. They are an independent group, and I don’t think they know all the ways librarians can enhance their assignments, which includes information literacy.

    I have reached out to those folks by offering sessions on using particular databases and ways to search strategically. According to the faculty, better sources are being used which create improved papers. Due to this success, they call me back for the next semester to teach the same material.



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