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Faculty and librarians collaborate to further student information competency

ATHENS, Ohio (April 6, 2004) -- The Ohio University Libraries are accepting proposals for the Faculty/Librarian Information Competency (FLIC) Grants. Grants will be awarded to two-member teams that create the best new ways to incorporate the efficiency of library materials within the classroom. Each team can consist of one faculty member and one librarian.

The grant program, established in 2001, aims to enrich university courses and develop students' information literacy skills. Working collaboratively in a variety of ways, the teams redesign course content to increase students' familiarity with information resources and research publications and to engage students in thinking more critically about information. Each team member receives a $1000 award for the time spent upgrading the course.

The deadline for applications is April 23, 2004. More information about the application process and submission guidelines can be found at www.library.ohiou.edu/libinfo/depts/refdept/bi/flic.htm

The re-designed information-intensive courses generally provide in-depth experiences in understanding information sources, developing strategies for finding needed information, and applying criteria to judge the value and trustworthiness of information. The FLIC program goal is to empower students to become skilled and knowledgeable in the use of information and to demonstrate convincingly the value of information competency as a desired educational outcome for students in many disciplines. A total of 12 grants have been awarded since 2001.

"Typically, information competency skills have been included as an afterthought, often in a single session where the librarian meets with the class to cover basic skills and resources. The goal of the FLIC program is to build information competency into the class, using the skills and knowledge of the librarian throughout the quarter," said Andrew Stuart, one of the librarian consultants for the program. "With a FLIC course, students gain the information seeking skills to be self-sufficient researchers and active learners. They can carry the skills and concepts to other courses in their studies."

A student enrolled in HSLS 310 Language Development taught by Dr. Sally Marinellie (Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences) and Cheryl Ewing of the Health Sciences Library expressed a common theme on the value of the information competency instruction, "I'm a junior and I've only really used the library once since I started my college career. A lot of times research for papers suffers because the library seem so very intimidating. The participation of Cheryl Ewing [in this course] familiarized it for me."

As a result of the faculty/librarian collaborations, students learn the connections between information resources and their studies; they gain insights from applying relevant and reliable research to their investigations.

Librarian Loyd Mbabu teamed with Dr. Steven Howard (African Studies) to teach EDRE 793, Field Research in Developing Countries, utilizing both in-class instruction and Blackboard courseware. "Students found having the Librarian Consultant embedded in the class helpful," Mbabu said, "Students often had questions about resources when they went to do their searches. I was able to provide real time help and suggestions for their research."

The most recent grant recipients were named in spring 2003; they were Renee Geary and David Bell (Linguistics) for Linguistics 671, Syntactic Structures In English; assistant librarian Krista McDonald and Ruth McClain (English) from the Chillicothe Campus for English 280 Expository Writing and the Research Paper; Library Director Sharon Huge and Jane Johnsen (Education) of the Lancaster Campus for EDCS 400, School, Society and the Professional Educator; and Eileen Theodore-Shusta and Kathleen S. Sullivan (Political Science) for Political Science 490T Feminist Legal Theory.

In previous quarters, eight courses, representing disciplines in four colleges -- Arts and Sciences, Communication, Education, and Health and Human Sciences -- have been re-designed by recipients of FLIC grants. The call for proposals for the 2004-2005 academic year has been sent out to all faculty and librarians.

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Media Contact: Libraries Associate Dean for Public Services Nancy Rue, (740) 593-2696

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