Thursday, June 26, 2008

Teaching, Learning, & Faculty Collaboration

Most of my time during the first day of the conference was focused on issues surrounding library involvement in teaching and learning. (Though there was the ever highly stimulating ATLA business meeting led with decorum and aplomb by Martha Lund Smalley and distinguished members of the ATLA staff.)

Paul Myhre from the Wabash Center conducted a juiced-up roundtable on teaching and learning that took us through about two days' worth of Wabash seminar-style discussion in just one hour. (And we even got chocolates for attending!) Paul began by shamelessly flattering us, telling us all the wonderful things about theological librarians that we have so much difficulty communicating to our administrators. Then he split us into groups and took us through a series of reflective questions on teaching and learning that forced us to critically examine our assumptions about our roles as librarians. Some tidbits of collective wisdom that floated to the surface of our frenetic thinking:
  • Librarians should sit in on classes to observe teaching
  • Even when rebuffed, we should patiently persist in seeking opportunities to collaborate in teaching and learning
  • Even when it is out of character for us, we should cultivate our inner extroverts
  • Make opportunities to discuss course content and syllabi with faculty
  • Invest the time necessary to build a relationship of trust with faculty
  • Provide faculty with free beer/coffee/chocolates
  • Actively volunteer to teach in the classroom; begin with the assumption that faculty welcome our involvement
Two more books that I want to track down and add to our collection:

Assessment & Learning: The ICE Approach by Young & Wilson

Library Assessment in Higher Education by Joseph Matthews

Then, in the afternoon, I took part in the first-ever meeting of the newly formed Teaching and Learning Interest Group (TALIG). There was discussion of how to pronounce the acronym -- with a short "a" or a long "a"? (Kudos to Paul Myhre for suggesting the Brit-sounding pronunciation, "talley-gee".) The by-laws were approved, and the steering committee was elected. We then spent the rest of the meeting brain-storming ways that TALIG can encourage librarian involvement in teaching and learning. We left the steering committee with quite a list. It will be interesting to see what they choose to tackle first.

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