Tuesday, March 7, 2017

36th Annual Conference on the First Year Experience

I was fortunate to have been able to attend and present at the 36th Annual Conference on the First Year Experience. While I won't go into too much detail, I will say the sessions I attended were excellent and provided inspiration I plan to mull over and incorporate into my practice. Here are some brief highlights presented in a visual manner:

Welcome – Jennifer R. Keup, Director, National Resource Center

Opening Session and Keynote Address – Dr. Rishi Sriram, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs; Graduate Program Director for the Department of Educational Administration; Faculty Master, Brooks Residential College — Baylor University; Keynote Address -- Developing Talented College Students. 
Dr. Brittany Cottrill Lloyd, myself, and Ryan Roy facilitated a discussion entitled Lost in Transitions: Expectations and Persistence in the First-Year Experience. 

Bethany Johnson-Javois, CEO, St. Louis Integrated Health Network; Closing Address -- Mobilizing Movements: The Uncomfortable Truths
While most of our time was spent in sessions, we did have an evening off to explore Atlanta. Within walking distance from our hotel was the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel, which gave us a view of the skyline, as well as a birds-eye view of  Centennial Olympic Park.

SkyView Atlanta from the ground.

Centennial Olympic Park
I took a lunch hour to visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum, also within walking distance. It was well worth it to have made this a priority in my visit to Atlanta. 
Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum

There was such a wide range of important exhibits, and I was thankful to have been able to see them. Something about this image stood out to me. 


While I could share my pages and pages of notes and more photos from the conference, I'm still working my way through mentally processing them. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to attend and look forward to folding new ideas into my daily work.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fall Recap and Spring Outlook

Based on my radio silence, it's likely quite clear that this past fall has been beyond busy. Thankfully this past semester held so many rewarding experiences. With time restrictions in mind, perhaps it's best to make this a bulleted list. This past fall brought:

  • A new position for me. I now serve as Coordinator for Information Literacy Instruction and User Experience Librarian. What does that mouthful of a title mean? Basically I still teach a lot of instruction, but now I oversee scheduling and sequencing of IL content. This means keeping track of scaffolded instruction throughout specific majors, working with faculty to brainstorm IL in their courses, and making sure it all fits nicely on the calendar (and that a librarian is available and prepared to teach their course).
  • A new library system. We've migrated over to Alma/Primo, which allows for a more seamless search process for our students and faculty. It also means that we need to redo all of our tutorial videos to show the new processes for how to access materials. We are still working out glitches, but the new system went live just as the semester began. Our IL instruction has had to adapt a bit on the fly. 
  • Welcoming a new colleague to fill out the GV Library team in the role of Outreach & Instruction Librarian. We're working to acclimate her into GV life, IL at GV, our students, our colleagues, and the Des Moines community.  
  • I taught a 4-credit, reading/writing intensive, honors, first-year seminar. If that description doesn't give you an idea about just how much work the course was, I don't know what will. The most rewarding part of the experience was how the students came together and built their own safe community where they could express themselves and learn together. It was my first time teaching a course that was fully "my own" (though the curriculum is pretty well pre-determined), and it was  definitely a learning experience. I have a greater respect for faculty who are struggling with required disciplinary content, administrative pressures to incorporate additional elements (i.e. high-impact practices to increase retention), advising, and grading. While there are definitely modifications to be made, I am confident that my students now have a strong understanding of what they need to do to be successful in future coursework. 
  • In October I was elected to serve as member-at-large on the Iowa Library Association Executive Board. This is a great honor and I am excited to work with the rest of the board to support our membership and the communities we serve around the state! Additionally, I'm continuing on as member-at-large on the ILA/ACRL EB. 
  • Also in October, I spoke with the ILA membership at the annual conference to inform them of the new Ad Hoc Committee for Diversity & Inclusion. The purpose of my brief talk during the business meeting was to 1) inform them of the committee's current standing, 2) share more about the goals/charge of the committee, and 3) solicit interest in serving on the committee. And talk about interest! We had over 20 members express interest in filling the available 6 slots! Working with the others who were rolling off the committee, we selected a great crew of people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to serve. I will say, narrowing down the pool of candidates was extremely difficult. We were excited at the level of interest and hope to still keep all interested parties in the loop as the committee tackles our charge and works to further develop. The quick version of what we're working on: a statement on diversity and inclusion for our state association, fall conference sessions/speakers related to diversity and inclusion, an assessment of needs within Iowa, and continuing to strive toward full standing committee status. 
  • In December we welcomed the pups back to campus for another successful pre-semester exams de-stressing for our students (and staff). 
  • We recently completed and submitted our Library assessment/program review report. It was intended to be a comprehensive examination of all we do, and includes as much supporting data as possible (this included 22 appendices and 61 pages for the document itself). It was nice to get this submitted and off our plates (until suggested revisions and additional follow up questions are posed by the assessment committee). 
  • And much, much more that I'm sure is currently escaping me. 
Looking forward into spring 2017: 
  • I, along with 2 other colleagues, will be co-presenting at the 36th Annual Conference on the First Year Experience in Atlanta. This looks to be an engaging and inspiring conference and I am excited to learn more about how we can best support our students who are in transition, who may be under-prepared or at-risk. 
  • Continuing to serve on both ILA and ILA/ACRL Executive Boards, the spring ILA/ACRL Conference Planning Committee, and all of the other work that goes along with being an involved member of the organizations. 
  • Bringing back the Staff & Faculty Celebration of Vocation (new rebranding TBD) and passing that responsibility on to my new colleague.
  • Not having to do all the grading related to teaching a 4-credit, reading/writing intensive course :) 
  • Serving on a sub-committee preparing upcoming university HLC accreditation documents/narratives, with a focus on instruction.
  • Bringing back the Pet-a-Pup program for more stress relief. 
  • Revamping our video tutorials to better reflect our current library system offerings, as well as feature the new bells and whistles available to our users. 
  • Examining and expanding our social media outreach to the GV and Des Moines community. 
  • And much, much more that may not even be on my radar right now! :) 
In the meantime, enjoy a handful of photos from the fall Pet-a-Pup event: 

And here are links to the full albums from each day of the event:


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gearing up for Fall

At least the Library Facebook page is ready for students to return! I, on the other hand, have a ton of work to do to be prepared, but I'm soooo ready to have the students and their energy back every day!

Here's the new cover photo:

Now, to finish writing that syllabus and Blackboard page... :)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

ILA Leadership Institute 2016

I am thankful to have been provided the opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow with a wonderful cohort of librarians at the 2016 Iowa Library Association Leadership Institute facilitated by Maureen Sullivan (of Maureen Sullivan Associates, past president of the American Library Association, past president of the Association of College & Research Libraries, and more)! Many thanks go out to the planning committee, the Iowa Library Association, the Iowa Library Association Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the staff at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center for making this experience possible!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fast-Forward Library Tour

It can be scary going into a new place. We're able to research hotels, vacation spots, local parks, and so many other places online to see photos or tours to help us decide whether it's somewhere we want to go. Why not a quick tour of the library, too?! I put this together to help new students, faculty, and anyone who bumps into our YouTube or Facebook page feel a little more comfortable coming through our doors. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Employment opportunity -- Come work with me in Des Moines!

There's a great opportunity for those interested in outreach and instruction right here at Grand View University! Information is below:

Campus Engagement and Instruction Librarian, Des Moines, IA

The Grand View University Library is seeking an energetic, creative, user-focused, and highly collaborative person with a strong interest in outreach and instruction, to fill the position of Campus Engagement and Instruction Librarian.

The primary focus of this position is to plan, implement, and assesses programs and services designed to meet changing student needs, with an emphasis on a holistic approach to learning in both formal and informal settings. The individual in this position will initiate efforts to increase use of library services by collaborating with academic support services, student groups, and other campus partners. They will also participate in the embedded librarian and faculty development programs and serve as liaison to the science departments. Their schedule includes one night per week and occasional weekends.

A MLS from an ALA accredited institution is required for the position. The successful candidate will have a strong service orientation, be highly creative, show an ability to build collaborative relationships, thrive in a team-oriented environment, have exceptional communication skills, and a demonstrable knowledge of current information technologies. Experience teaching information literacy in an academic setting is preferred.

Grand View is a Lutheran liberal arts university with a diverse population of approximately 1800 students, located in Des Moines, IA.

Duties include:
·         Developing special programs, engagement activities, and instructional workshops that support library and/or university objectives in a holistic approach.
·         Monitoring and regularly assessing the library outreach programs.
·         Designing and implementing effective library instruction for embedded librarian projects, on site classrooms and remote access users.
·         Providing leadership in outreach to the community via social media.
·         Serving as a member of and liaison to one of the colleges of the university; attending college and faculty meetings, providing specialized instruction, and collection development.

Qualifications and Requirements:
·         ALA accredited MLS is required.
·         Demonstrated effectiveness as an engaging instructor in a classroom setting or online environment.
·         Familiar with commonly used academic computing, cloud based, and digital multi-media technologies.
·         Demonstrated exceptional creative, oral and written communication skills
·         Five years of academic library experience preferred.

Required:
·         Resume
·         Cover Letter
·         Contact Information for 3 References

For further details and to apply, visit the job listing here: http://grandview.hrmdirect.com/employment/job-opening.php?req=396704&&&nohd#job

Questions may be directed to:
Pam Rees, Director of the Library and Information Resources
Grand View University
1350 Morton Ave
Des Moines, IA 50316
(515)263-6098


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Whirlwind Spring 2016!

It has been a bit of a whirlwind of a past month! Here's just a little highlight of the fun things I've been up to:

Thank you to Amy Getty for snapping this photo! 
  • I attended the AAUW Smart Start Salary Negotiation Workshop on April 14th in preparation for becoming a backup workshop facilitator.
  • I put together the Staff & Faculty Celebration of Vocation, the first time an event of this kind has been held on campus. 

  • My favorite programming event for students was a hit again this semester. You guessed it! Pet a Pup was held April 19th and 20th. Students were smiling and tails were wagging! 

  • We celebrated faculty and staff milestones on April 29th, including 5 years at GV for me. I received this photo frame to commemorate my work-a-versary! 
My question to the manufacturer is: why, instead of using a smiling family or a generic beach or landscape photo, would you use a placeholder photo of a half-naked woman reclining in bed? Now this is on my desk and is not creepy or inappropriate at all... Happy 5 years! 
  • We hosted a workshop sponsored by ILA on Internet Privacy for librarians on May 2. I serve on the ILA Intellectual Freedom Committee and helped plan the event. 


  • I kicked off the Summer Reading Program on May 4th with a record 19 participants in attendance (and 34 35 signed up for the program, overall; updated 5/26/16).

  • I learned more about the LOGOS program and my role as an instructor in the first-year student seminar section of the program on May 9th. 
  • We began foundational work for GV program evaluation.
  • We hosted the first Lemonade Lunch for SRP, and folks were flipping over winning prizes!

  • IPAL is being held at GV this year on May 19th. I am helping coordinate the Information Literacy Interest Group morning session again this year, and I'm also going to be doing a lightning round presentation -- Here's a sneak peek at the presentation: 

  • ILA/ACRL is coming up on Friday, May 20 in Ankeny. I'm excited to attend and am especially looking forward to hearing the keynote speaker, Megan Oakleaf! This is also my first spring conference as ILA/ACRL Executive Board Member-at-Large, and I'm looking forward to all that brings! 
  • More to come on the upcoming conferences and other spring and summer happenings, I'm sure!