September 14th, 2006
Carroll Wetzel Wilkinson has been appointed Director of Instruction and Information Literacy for the WVU Libraries.
In the post, Wilkinson, the former Head of Access Services for the Downtown Campus Library, will oversee courses being taught by the Libraries and develop curriculum for future classes. She also hopes to work with interested faculty to integrate the intellectual principles of information literacy into their teaching.
“Carroll brings a strong interest in teaching and information literacy to this program,” WVU Libraries Dean Frances O’Brien said. “She also has a track record of collaborative efforts that bring different people together. She will be able to lead us in providing library instruction to WVU students in meaningful new ways.”
O’Brien praised the existing library instruction program but pointed to national studies showing that students are relying less on the familiar guides to information like reference books and library catalogs.
“Students still need to learn how to find what they want, but we are going to have to change how we present those lessons,” O’Brien said.
Currently, librarians teach three classes: Introduction to Library Research; Film and Media Literacy; and Gender and the Research Process, a course which Wilkinson developed and teaches.
Teaching a class on information literacy gave Wilkinson insight into students’ previous experience with research. She watched students begin the semester unaware of the depth of resources available to them on campus and through the invisible web and then suddenly have their eyes opened to the wealth of research possibilities.
“That understanding lays the foundation for qualitative and quantitative research methods later. It gives students experience with discovery, with empowerment,” Wilkinson said. “They are able to do research their own way on a subject they’re interested in.”
Improving research habits meshes with WVU’s 2010 Strategic Plan to enhance students’ learning experience.
Stepping up to the challenge, Wilkinson expects to spend the next few months working with other librarians, faculty, and students to determine what courses should compose the Libraries’ line up and designing the curriculum.
“I think there is wonderful potential here,” Wilkinson said. “We just need some clear focused system-wide goals and good hard work together to achieve them.”