Supporting Humanities
Doctoral Student Success
A Collaborative Project between
Cornell University Library and Columbia Uni...
Motivation
• Decline in number of degrees awarded: the number of doctorates awarded in the
humanities has declined by 12% ...
How can the library better-
support doctoral work on
campus?
Collaboration
The 2CUL Project
“Columbia and Cornell University Libraries are pleased
to join forces in a transformative and enduring
pa...
Project Team
Cornell University
• Kaila Bussert
• Kathy Chiang
• Michelle Hubble
• Gaby Castro Gessner (Project
Manager)
•...
Day-to-Day
• Travel (shuttle)
• Video conferencing
• Phone calls (many!)
• Phone conferencing
• Email
• Wiki
• Group train...
Methods
Research Procedures
Spring 2010
• Ethnographic Training
• Focus groups (5 total)
Summer + Fall 2010
• Interviews (45 total...
870 pages of transcripts.
The Student
Personal Space
Previous Experience
Personal Expectations
Self-determination
Personal Life
The
Institution +
De...
Results
DEMOGRAPHICS
Interview Participants
Discipline Cornell Columbia Total
Art History 0 7 7
Asian Studies 2 0 2
Classics 2 0 2
Comparative
...
Interview Participants
Cornell Columbia Total
Pre-exam 9 8 17
Post-exam 12 16 28
Yes MA 11 13 24
No MA 10 11 21
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
21-24 25-30 31-34 35-38 39-44 45-55 56-65 66-75
NumberofStudents
Age
Age of Participants
Time from BA graduation Through Expected PhD
Completion
Graduation from undergrad to start of PhD Start of PhD to candidac...
14
14
10
21
24
3
24
22
8
19
16
6
2
2
2
3
2
8
3
2
1
5 1
2
5
3
2
3
1
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Grad Progra...
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1< 1 -2 hrs 2 - 4 hrs 4 - 6 hrs 6 - 8 hrs 8+
No.ofStudents
Time Spent in the Library by Frequency a...
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
browse
write
read
office hours
research w. library…
research w. non-library…
computers
consult lib...
30
10
5
Humanities PhD Student Study Questionaire
Have you visited any non-CU libraries to use their collections
for disse...
39
2
4
Humanities PhD Student Study Questionaire
Do you receive financial support from CU for the academic
year?
Yes No n/a
6
34
5
Humanities PhD Student Study Questionaire
Do you have an outside job that provides income?
Yes No n/a
INTERVIEWS
The Student
The Library
The
Institution +
Department
The
Profession
Research +
Writing
Findings: Provide Space
"The thing that has been the best for me is having a
space to work. I got more done last year when...
Findings: Foster Community
“It’s having community. Belonging to your
community, having friends that are doing this and
fee...
Findings: Provide Access to
Deep Research Collections
“I have to say that I have had every resource that I have
needed fro...
Findings: Provide Research, Information
Management, and Teaching Expertise Assistance
“[…] maybe sitting down with an adva...
Findings: Developing Scholarly Identity
“I had to tell my committee in an email, I plan on having a
draft of the first cha...
Next Steps
Next Steps at Columbia
• Share findings with CUL/IS staff
• Communicate findings to GSAS and the
University community
• Wo...
Thank you.
djaggars@columbia.edu
aj204@columbia.edu
jenrutner@columbia.edu
jt628@columbia.edu
Photo credits
Columbia University
Cornell University
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3110/3224486233_cd6f7372db.jpg
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Supporting Humanities Doctoral Student Success

  1. 1. Supporting Humanities Doctoral Student Success A Collaborative Project between Cornell University Library and Columbia University Libraries CUL/IS Staff Forum April 27, 2011 Damon Jaggars, AUL Collections & Services Alysse Jordan, Head, Social Work Library Jennifer Rutner, Assessment & Planning Librarian John Tofanelli, British and American History and Literature Librarian
  2. 2. Motivation • Decline in number of degrees awarded: the number of doctorates awarded in the humanities has declined by 12% between 1998 and 2008, while those in science and engineering have increased by 20.4% (2008 NSF SED) • Longer time to completion: while the mean registered time to degree in all disciplines has increased since 1978, it is still the longest in the humanities, increasing to 9 years in 2003 as compared to 6.9 in engineering, 6.9 in the life sciences, and 6.8 in the physical sciences (NSF Time to Degree) • Higher rates of attrition: the cumulative attrition rates at year ten in the humanities are 32% compared to 27% in engineering and 26% in the life sciences (CGS 2008) • Complex landscape: the factors that influence time to completion and retention rates vary according to discipline, institutional characteristics, availability of financial aid, quality of advising, clarity of program requirements, quality of family life, job prospects, lack of community, etc. (Ehrenberg et al., 2009)
  3. 3. How can the library better- support doctoral work on campus?
  4. 4. Collaboration
  5. 5. The 2CUL Project “Columbia and Cornell University Libraries are pleased to join forces in a transformative and enduring partnership between our two great library systems that enables us to pool resources to provide content, expertise, and services that are impossible to accomplish acting alone.” http://2cul.org/
  6. 6. Project Team Cornell University • Kaila Bussert • Kathy Chiang • Michelle Hubble • Gaby Castro Gessner (Project Manager) • Sussette Newberry • Deb Schmidle • Kornelia Tancheva • Jill Ulbricht (Admin Support) • Wendy Wilcox Columbia University • Amanda Bielskas • Jim Crocamo • Fadi Dagher • Damon Jaggars • Alysse Jordan • Victoria Gross (Research Assistant) • Jennifer Rutner (Project Manager) • John Tofanelli
  7. 7. Day-to-Day • Travel (shuttle) • Video conferencing • Phone calls (many!) • Phone conferencing • Email • Wiki • Group training • Camtasia training video
  8. 8. Methods
  9. 9. Research Procedures Spring 2010 • Ethnographic Training • Focus groups (5 total) Summer + Fall 2010 • Interviews (45 total) – 90 minutes, individual • Post-questionnaire (paper) Winter 2010-11 • Analysis and reporting $
  10. 10. 870 pages of transcripts.
  11. 11. The Student Personal Space Previous Experience Personal Expectations Self-determination Personal Life The Institution + Department Institutional Space Funding Dept. Requirements + Expectations Culture + Community Advising Teaching Attrition Research + Writing Coursework Exams + Preparation Prospectus + Preparation Discovery Writing Process + Revision Defense + Preparation Information Management The Library Librarians Collections Services Library Space Technology The Profession Job Search Publishing Challenges Successes Opportunities First Second Third Code Level Fourth Code Tree
  12. 12. Results
  13. 13. DEMOGRAPHICS
  14. 14. Interview Participants Discipline Cornell Columbia Total Art History 0 7 7 Asian Studies 2 0 2 Classics 2 0 2 Comparative Literature 2 0 2 English 4 6 10 History 7 5 12 Medieval Studies 4 8 12 Religion 0 6 6 Total 21 24 45
  15. 15. Interview Participants Cornell Columbia Total Pre-exam 9 8 17 Post-exam 12 16 28 Yes MA 11 13 24 No MA 10 11 21
  16. 16. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 21-24 25-30 31-34 35-38 39-44 45-55 56-65 66-75 NumberofStudents Age Age of Participants
  17. 17. Time from BA graduation Through Expected PhD Completion Graduation from undergrad to start of PhD Start of PhD to candidacy Candidacy to PhD expected graduation
  18. 18. 14 14 10 21 24 3 24 22 8 19 16 6 2 2 2 3 2 8 3 2 1 5 1 2 5 3 2 3 1 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Grad Program Funding Advising (Columbia only) Library Services Library Collections Library Spaces (Columbia only) Humanities PhD Student Study Questionaire Please rate your overall satisfaction with the following at CU: Very Satisfied Satisfied Neutral Dissatisfied Very Dissatisfied n/a
  19. 19. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1< 1 -2 hrs 2 - 4 hrs 4 - 6 hrs 6 - 8 hrs 8+ No.ofStudents Time Spent in the Library by Frequency and Duration Daily Weekly Monthly
  20. 20. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% browse write read office hours research w. library… research w. non-library… computers consult librarian meet colleagues other Post-Exam Pre-Exam Activities in the Library by Status Percentage of Students
  21. 21. 30 10 5 Humanities PhD Student Study Questionaire Have you visited any non-CU libraries to use their collections for dissertation research? Yes No n/a
  22. 22. 39 2 4 Humanities PhD Student Study Questionaire Do you receive financial support from CU for the academic year? Yes No n/a
  23. 23. 6 34 5 Humanities PhD Student Study Questionaire Do you have an outside job that provides income? Yes No n/a
  24. 24. INTERVIEWS
  25. 25. The Student The Library The Institution + Department The Profession Research + Writing
  26. 26. Findings: Provide Space "The thing that has been the best for me is having a space to work. I got more done last year when I had my locked carrel than I had gotten done in years before or since, because it was a dedicated space in which I could keep all of my sources [...]." Opportunities: • Provide dedicated spaces for doctoral students that promote academic and social community building. • Provide spaces that could be reserved by doctoral students for writing groups, dissertation discussion groups, etc. • Increase the number of quiet individual study areas with appropriate lighting, power, and security. • Consider 24/7 access to study/research spaces used by graduate students
  27. 27. Findings: Foster Community “It’s having community. Belonging to your community, having friends that are doing this and feeling that you have something worthwhile to say that other people are recognizing it.” Opportunities: • Working with appropriate campus partners, position the library as a central referral hub, or single point of entry, offering guidance and direction in a wide range of areas important to graduate student success. • Serve as a central repository of sample collections of academic documentation and offer guidelines or best practices for preparing reading lists, prospectuses, etc. • Offer hands-on training on developing, understanding, and mastering the documentation of doctoral projects.
  28. 28. Findings: Provide Access to Deep Research Collections “I have to say that I have had every resource that I have needed from the library. I really can’t say, ‘Here I am in the sixth year because you didn’t buy that set of resources for me and I don’t have the materials to work with, so how can you expect me produce work?’” Opportunities: • Make channels for graduate students purchase suggestions more visible and ensure that specific resources mentioned as missing are purchased. • Work actively with vendors and publishers to increase the usability of e-books (PDFs, downloadable, no restrictions, and a standard format). • Improve search and discovery interfaces, including library catalogs, web sites, database platforms, and the interconnections between them. • Expand the types of materials allowed for borrowing and lending, such as audio and video formats and primary source materials.
  29. 29. Findings: Provide Research, Information Management, and Teaching Expertise Assistance “[…] maybe sitting down with an advanced research reference librarian . . . might be in my best interest as I go into the writing stage of my paper, just so that I can make sure I am not saying something that has already been said or duplicating research, or that I am not missing something that is cutting-edge and that's really important to my argument.” Opportunities: • Work with academic departments to promote graduate student awareness of subject librarian services. • Take advantage of events sponsored by academic departments and by the libraries as an occasion for librarians to interact with graduate students and promote library services. • Offer consultation services, workshops and/or online instruction
  30. 30. Findings: Developing Scholarly Identity “I had to tell my committee in an email, I plan on having a draft of the first chapter to you by June. If I don't, please get on my case… So, I actually found that I needed to make deadlines for myself and then tell them so that they knew, and even though they wouldn't care, my pride was at stake at that point.” Opportunities: • Host writing or discussion groups to inspire increased productivity during the dissertation writing process. • Offer time management workshops for students approaching or just completing exams. • Work with academic departments to help establish best practices for students who wish to publish before graduation. • Assign librarians to doctoral students as library mentors or "personal librarians," available to consult on research, writing, publication, discipline-specific literatures, etc. and connect them to other appropriate support services on campus as appropriate.
  31. 31. Next Steps
  32. 32. Next Steps at Columbia • Share findings with CUL/IS staff • Communicate findings to GSAS and the University community • Work with H&H to incorporate findings into planning for Butler Library and DHC • Further analysis
  33. 33. Thank you. djaggars@columbia.edu aj204@columbia.edu jenrutner@columbia.edu jt628@columbia.edu
  34. 34. Photo credits Columbia University Cornell University http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3110/3224486233_cd6f7372db.jpg

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