Thursday, June 23, 2016

ATLA 2016 Conference - HIU Participation

Hope International University is a member of the American Theological Library Association which met in Long Beach, California for its annual conference June 15-18, 2016. As a member of the local Southern California chapter of ATLA (SCATLA), HIU served on the Local Host Committee. The LHC provided conference bags filled with information and goodies for the 300+ attendees, manned a local host table to greet members and inform them of local points of interest, we “hosted” dinners at local restaurants to facilitate fellowship and networking, and led excursions such as a tour of the Getty Museum and the Huntington Library. We were busy!

On top of our hosting responsibilities, Hope International University participated in the programming. Terri Bogan, Reference & Instruction Librarian, and James Yuile, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Ministry and Biblical Studies led a session on a case study of Librarian/Faculty Collaboration.

In this well-attended session, James and Terri described their experience in preparing a course on the Book of Acts for upper division Biblical Studies majors. They experimented with using LibGuides to facilitate student research throughout the course. Students in the course were aware that they were part of this experimental method of teaching and provided feedback which the presenters used in their evaluation. Perhaps the most valuable outcome reported, however, was Professor Yuile’s analysis of student grades compared to five courses he had previously taught with an exegetical research paper as the major assignment. Although Professor Yuile has often invited Mrs. Bogan into the classroom to give library instruction, this librarian intensive pedagogical experiment resulted in increased scores by nearly 10 points per student – a full letter grade – above student averages in his previous courses.

Librarians rarely hear the professor’s perspective or the kind of outcomes assessment provided in this study. We hope that our efforts in the classroom make a difference but rely on informal anecdotal feedback to assess our efficacy. Evidence of learning outcomes is invaluable to any instructor. According to attendee feedback forms, the session inspired other librarians to seek a partnership with a professor in their home institutions. One attendee tweeted about it to Springshare, the company that makes LibGuides. Springshare has asked to showcase the presentation on their website.

Attending professional association meetings is invaluable to librarians. Giving presentations at these conferences is a great way to make a contribution to the profession, learn by doing, and hone our skills. Peers provide immediate feedback, uploaded archived sessions give further opportunity for peer review, and published proceedings makes for long term preservation. Participation in the academy is good for the librarian (and professor,) good PR for their institution, good for the association, and good for the profession overall.

Congratulations to Terri Bogan and James Yuile on a job well done!

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