Standards for Libraries in Higher Education

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Accreditation and quality assurance methods related to learning resources and libraries are in a state of flux. Balancing the competing demands of increasing requirements related to accountability within higher education, expectations for outcomes-based assessment of learning and programs, institutional efforts to increase graduation rates, as well as greater emphasis on student success, libraries and information agencies are operating in an environment where the provision of services in traditional manners cannot be accepted as satisfactory practice.

Emphasis on using assessment results for continuous improvement, full integration of the library into the operation of the university, as well as a general movement away from a separate library standard within overall accreditation standards has led to new and different ways of thinking about the role of the library within the university and the accreditation process.
Using as a basis the nine principles and related performance indicators described by the Association of College and Research Libraries in the publication “Standards for Libraries in Higher Education,” this presentation will focus on how the principles can be applied to all types of academic libraries as well as how each library may respond to its unique user population and institutional environment within the context of the standards.

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  • Institutional Effectiveness: Libraries define, develop, and measure outcomes that contribute to institutional effectiveness and apply findings for purposes of continuous improvement
    Professional Values: Libraries advance professional values of intellectual freedom, intellectual property rights and values, user privacy and confidentiality, collaboration, and user-centered service
    Educational Role: Libraries partner in the educational mission of the institution to develop and support information-literate learners who can discover, access, and use information effectively for academic success, research, and lifelong learning
    Discovery: Libraries enable users to discover information in all formats through effective use of technology and organization of knowledge
    Collections: Libraries provide access to collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format, and currency to support the research and teaching missions of the institution
    Space: Libraries are the intellectual commons where users interact with ideas in both physical and virtual environments to expand learning and facilitate the creation of new knowledge
    Management/Administration: Libraries engage in continuous planning and assessment to inform resource allocation and to meet their mission effectively and efficiently
    Personnel: Libraries provide sufficient number and quality of personnel to ensure excellence and to function successfully in an environment of continuous change
    External Relations: Libraries engage the campus and broader community through multiple strategies in order to advocate, educate, and promote their value
  • Standards for Libraries in Higher Education

    1. 1. Standards for Libraries in Higher Education Dr. Frank Cervone 3rd International Conference on Quality Assurance in Post-secondary Education Dammam, Saudi Arabia 29 April 2013
    2. 2. Accreditation and standards • Standards for universities Higher Learning Commission • Standards for Colleges of Library and Information Science American Library Association • Standards for Libraries in Academic Institutions Association of College and Research Libraries
    3. 3. My background in accreditation • Program reviewer for the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Higher Learning Commission (HLC) • Committee on Accreditation • Chaired 2 accreditation reviews • Member of 7 accreditation teams American Library Association (ALA) • Chair, Standards and Accreditation Committee Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)
    4. 4. What are the goals of the library standards? Educating students Achieving institutional missions Positioning libraries as leaders • Assessment • Continuous improvement
    5. 5. Principles on which the library standards are based • Document their contributions to overall institutional effectiveness Libraries must demonstrate their value • Libraries • Educational practice • Institutional context • Accrediting practice Be prepared to address changes in higher education
    6. 6. Changes in higher education Increasing demands for accountability within higher education Expectation for outcomes-based assessment of learning and programs Efforts to increase graduation rates Greater emphasis on student success Connection between student engagement and academic achievement The importance of pedagogical practices such as research and inquiry-based learning
    7. 7. Changes related to university accreditationEmphasis on using assessment results for continuous improvement Full library integration into the university Moving away from a separate library standard within the overall accreditation standard Focus on outcomes and benchmarking Library support of all student learning outcomes •Recognition of information literacy as the catalyst for the library’s educational role Alignment of library and institutional missions Need for multiple forms of assessment and documentation
    8. 8. Standards structure and assumptions Nine principles •Related performance indicators Intended to be expectations which apply to all types of academic libraries Each library must respond to its unique user population and institutional environment
    9. 9. Working principles used in developing the standards • Congruent with institution’s mission • Contribute to institutional effectiveness • Apply to the specific type of institution • Open access initiatives for research libraries • Workforce development support for community colleges Performance indicators are • Articulate specifically what the user is able to Develop user-centered, measurable outcomes for indicators • Collect evidence from assessments that demonstrate degree of success • Use assessment data for continuous improvement of library operations Conduct assessments that may be quantitative and/or qualitative
    10. 10. Assessment and evidence-based models • Outcomes assessment–based model: • Evidence-based model: Images courtesy of the Association for College and Research Libraries
    11. 11. Outcomes and performance indicators The ways in which library users are changed as a result of their contact with the library’s resources and program Outcomes are user- centered •Not wholly under library control •Can be assessed by gathering and analyzing qualitative or quantitative data •Assessment may involve using metrics to benchmark with peers or track library performance over a period of time Performance indicators are library-centered •Choice of metrics and outcomes will depend on the institution
    12. 12. Continuous improvement cycle Outcomes AssessmentEvidence
    13. 13. Principles of the library standards Institutional Effectiveness Professional Values Educational Role Discovery Collections Space Management/Administration Personnel External Relations
    14. 14. Performance indicators and principles 3. Educational Role: Libraries partner in the educational mission of the institution to develop and support information-literate learners who can discover, access, and use information effectively for academic success, research, and lifelong learning. 3.1 Library personnel collaborate with faculty and others regarding ways to incorporate library collections and services into effective education experiences for students. 3.2 Library personnel collaborate with faculty to embed information literacy learning outcomes into curricula, courses, and assignments. 3.3 Library personnel model best pedagogical practices for classroom teaching, online tutorial design, and other educational practices. 3.4 Library personnel provide regular instruction in a variety of contexts and employ multiple learning platforms and pedagogies. 3.5 Library personnel collaborate with campus partners to provide opportunities for faculty professional development. 3.6 The library has the IT infrastructure to keep current with advances in teaching and learning technologies.
    15. 15. Another example 7. Management/Administration: Libraries engage in continuous planning and assessment to inform resource allocation and to meet their mission effectively and efficiently. 7.1 The library’s mission statement and goals align with and advance those developed by the institution. 7.2 Library personnel participate in campus decision making needed for effective library management. 7.3 The library allocates human and financial resources effectively and efficiently to advance the library’s mission. 7.4 The library’s budget is sufficient to provide resources to meet the reasonable expectations of library users when balanced against other institutional needs. 7.5 The library partners with multiple institutions (e.g., via collections consortia) for greater cost-effectiveness and to expand access to collections. 7.6 The library plans based on data and outcomes assessment using a variety of methods both formal and informal. 7.7 The library communicates assessment results to library stakeholders. 7.8 Library personnel model a culture of continuous improvement. 7.9 The library has the IT infrastructure needed to collect, analyze, and use data and other assessments for continuous improvement.
    16. 16. Benchmarking • Evaluation • Self-improvement tool Commonly used • Identify comparative strengths and weaknesses Comparisons with similar institutions
    17. 17. Internal vs. external comparisons Internal Typically, from one year to the next Useful for tracking internal progress External Reveal how an institution is performing with respect to similar schools (peers) Can be used to develop a more informed picture of institutional standing within the higher education marketplace For example, benchmarking could be used to demonstrate whether an institution or its library is funded or staffed at levels comparable to similar institutions
    18. 18. Institutional peer groups for comparisons Actual Aspirational Truly comparable institutions • Size • Programs • Geographic distance What the institution aspires to become in five years
    19. 19. Identifying a peer group Institutional mission Reputation Admission selectivity Size of budget Size of endowment
    20. 20. Examples of common points of comparison Staff Expenditures per Student Enrolled Students per Staff Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Total Collection Expenditures per Student Total library materials expenditures per instructional faculty Volumes per full- time students (undergraduate and graduate) Ratio of reference transaction to student enrollment (full- and/or part- time)
    21. 21. Summary Less emphasis on inputs Greater emphasis on outcomes Reliance on relative indicators of service Reliance on relative indicators of quality Emphasis on local institutional context Abandonment of absolute values as indicators of service Abandonment of absolute values as indicators of quality Emphasis on comparative measures
    22. 22. Thank you • Dr. Frank Cervone • fcervone@cervone.com

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