Just Rocket Science ALA 2009


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(Presentation from ALA2009 conference)

Librarians can play an active role in faculty research and enhance public understanding of science. Now more than ever before, the nation’s scientists are engaging in outreach activities focused on the pre-college pipeline in order to ensure that a continuing supply of students enter college-level science disciplines and education programs, and ensure that schools graduate an informed citizenry appreciative of the sciences. Increased participation in these types of activities can be attributed in large part to funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) focused grant programs, which now require that their funded scientists to articulate both a research program and an outreach program (ie. “broader impacts” ). These outreach requirements present new opportunities for librarians to support faculty research and to further integrate their library into the teaching and learning mission of their institution.

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Just Rocket Science ALA 2009

  1. 1. It’s Just Rocket Science Academic Libraries as Faculty Outreach Partners Melanie J. Sellar Education Services and Reference Librarian Marymount College, California Jeanine M. Scaramozzino College of Science and Mathematics Librarian California Polytechnic State University
  2. 2. Overview • Prioritizing STEM education • Why we should care as librarians • What we can contribute as librarians • SPIRIT program case study • Advice for getting started
  3. 3. Prioritizing STEM Education Documenting a STEM Shortfall • National Academies 2005 Report • Business Higher Education Forum 2005 and 2007 Reports • National Science Board 2007 Report • International assessments of student achievement in science Governmental Imperatives • NSF Broader Impacts [BI] Merit Criterion (1996-) • NSF Math Science Partnerships [MSP] Grants (2001-) • America COMPETES Act 2007
  4. 4. Why do we care? Aligns with professional priorities and competencies: • Contribute to institution’s learning mission • Support institution’s research mission • Assist in securing federal grant money • Expand our burgeoning role as educators • Leverage our expertise as collaborators
  5. 5. What can we do? Partner with faculty to help meet these imperatives… • Design and execute outreach programs • Assist in identifying and arranging audiences • Help translate research for audience • Provided academic and logistical support • Cultivate appreciation of research
  6. 6. Outreach to Whom? The K-12 students/teachers audience provides the opportunity to… • Excite children about science and college • Connect/improve the K-12 to college pipeline • Help fulfill K-12 science education standards • Provide teacher professional development • Begin teaching science information literacy • Lay a foundation for science-educated voters
  7. 7. Case Study: SPIRIT What? • School Partnerships in Research & Information Technology • Community outreach program at UC Irvine Who? • K-14 students and teachers • 5,000 students over last 5 years Why? • Facilitate transfer of students into UC system How? • DACE: Day at College Experience • TILI: Teachers Information Literacy Institutes
  8. 8. SPIRIT: ‘NanoWorld’ An NSF Broader Impacts Pilot Program… • Partnership with Associate Prof. Siwy of Physics & Astronomy • Nanotechnology for biomedical and engineering applications • Broader impact component for NSF Early Career proposal • Day at College Experience [DACE] Program • Morning library instruction session (http://tiny.cc/9Yxcz) • Afternoon nanotechnology laboratory visit and hands-on activities • Raised ~$45K through NSF grant over 5 years
  9. 9. A Day in the SPIRIT Program
  10. 10. SPIRIT: Successes NSF Applications • 3 of 6 NSF funding proposals in 2008-9 (exceeds the 20% success rate) • SPIRIT to receive ~$70K to support ~1500 students Student Experience • “It’s amazing learning about what college students learn here. I found out many things doing this research that opened my eyes about nanotechnology.” • “I learned a lot about nanotechnology because I did not know we had micro things that help us with our everyday life.” • “The things I read about today I have never read about before.” • “Everything today was new. So I had a great experience and learned about something new in our micro world.”
  11. 11. Advice/Best Practices • Identify and target grant recipients/potential applicants • Pick faculty you want to work with • Start small to get department/faculty buy-in • Time your pitch (with grant cycles) • Utilize existing campus infrastructure • Use existing nat’l and int’l science program materials • Scale scope of collaboration to suit your library
  12. 12. Thanks for attending! Questions? Melanie Sellar msellar@marymountpv.edu Jeanine Scaramozzino jscaramo@calpoly.edu