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WVU Libraries continue to strengthen information literacy on campus through program

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 2nd, 2014

The West Virginia University Libraries have selected five faculty members to participate in the sixth year of the Information Literacy Course Enhancement Program, an initiative to enhance courses so that students can improve their research skills and become more discerning when searching for and using information.

Meanwhile, the program will be holding a showcase of this past year’s collaborations on May 7.

The Information Literacy Course Enhancement Program, a collaborative endeavor between the Libraries and the Provost’s Office, focuses on fulfilling the University’s 2020 Strategic Plan which calls for “engaging undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in a challenging academic environment.” Information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and effectively use information.

“As WVU’s new Dean of Libraries, I’m proud that we have an established Information Literacy program that helps students become better researchers and gain more from the classroom experience,” said Dr. Jon E. Cawthorne, Dean of Libraries. “We have heard great feedback from faculty and students, and I’m looking forward to us working alongside another group of faculty.”

This year’s participants include Mary E. Haas, professor in the Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies DepartmentCollege of Education and Human Services; Rachel Mohr, instructor in the Forensic and Investigative ScienceEberly College of Arts and Sciences; Sarah Neville, assistant professor in the Department of English, Eberly College; Tom Sydow, professor in the Department of English, Potomac State College; and Greg Thumm, Coordinator of Facilities and instructor in the Department of English and Eberly College.

They will work with Carroll Wilkinson, WVU Libraries’ Director of Instruction and Information Literacy, and their librarian liaisons Linda Bane at the Potomac State Mary F. Shipper Library; Linda Blake and Kelly Diamond, Research Services, Downtown Campus Library; and Martha Yancey, Research Services, Evansdale Library to create discipline-specific active-learning assignments that incorporate information literacy concepts. Three of the participants will also work with staff from the WVU Teaching and Learning Commons. Faculty will each earn a $3,000 stipend or, if a 12-month faculty member, other relevant professional remuneration.

Faculty will begin teaching the revised courses during the fall 2014 or spring 2015 semester and take part in the Information Literacy Showcase during the Libraries’ Faculty Assembly program in May 2015.

“Under the leadership of our new Dean of Libraries Dr. Jon E. Cawthorne, the Libraries’ Information Literacy Course Enhancement project enters its sixth year with new energy,” Wilkinson said. “These five faculty-librarian teams will have a chance to take us to a place of wider campus collaboration through the involvement of the Teaching and Learning Commons staff. I look forward to some new dimensions of accomplishment in research learning.”

Information literacy showcase

This year’s showcase will be held in the Mountainlair’s Vandalia Lounge on May 7 and includes professor/librarian teams for the 2013-14 academic year. Poster sessions are scheduled from 9-10 a.m. and 11 a.m.-noon. The session is entitled “Stronger Students, Better Research: Learning Outcomes of Faculty-Librarian Collaboration, 2013-2014.”

“These poster sessions provide a tremendous opportunity for faculty to learn from their peers’ experiences at implementing Information Literacy concepts into their courses,” Wilkinson said.

Participants will include Jenny Boulware, Eberly College; Farshid Zabihian, WVU Tech; Tom Sydow, Potomac State; Brian Jara, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Eberly College; Ugur Kale, Technology Learning and Culture, College of Education and Human Services; and John Jones, Eberly College. They worked with Linda Bane, Potomac State; Kevin Fredette; Jewel Rucker, WVU Tech; Mary Strife, Marian Armour-Gemmen; Jessica Tapia; Martha Yancey; and Wilkinson.

At 10:10 a.m. in the Mountainlair’s Shenandoah Room, guest librarians Craig Gibson, Ohio State University Libraries, and Trudi Jacobson, University of Albany Libraries, will speak on the principles guiding the future of information literacy in higher education. Their talk is entitled “Update on a Paradigm Shift: The New Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.” An open discussion will follow.

Since the Association of College and Research Libraries adopted its Information Literacy Standards and Competencies in 2000, Internet and electronic resources have become more mobile, dynamic, and interactive. In response, the association has released the new Framework, which “seeks to address the interconnected nature of the abilities, practices and dispositions of the student” (

Gibson and Jacobson, who co-chair the association task force creating the Framework, will lead a discussion on the document and what lies ahead for libraries, information literacy, and higher education.

“We encourage faculty and deans from colleges across the University to attend,” Wilkinson said. “You will learn what we have achieved thus far, see the impact on student learning, and get an idea of where information literacy instruction is headed.”

For more information, contact Wilkinson at 293-0308 or

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