Further mutations of the health librarian:
implementing an Academic Skills
Strategy at Leeds
Mark Clowes
Library Learning ...
Genesis of Skills@Library
• In 2008, the former Skills Centre was brought under the
directorship of the Library and re-bra...
The Academic Skills Strategy (2010)
1. Subject librarians to teach
academic skills embedded
within departments
2. Skills t...
Academic Skills – our definition
• “…those generic and transferable skills which underpin the
learning development of unde...
ACADEMIC SKILLS
• finding and
evaluating information
• critical thinking
• reading and note-taking
• referencing and acade...
ACADEMIC SKILLS
• finding and
evaluating information
• critical thinking
• reading and note-taking
• referencing and acade...
Secker, J & Bell, M. (2012) Information Literacy Venn v.2.
http://newcurriculum.wordpress.com/
Implementing the Academic Skills Strategy in
the Faculty of Medicine & Health
HEALTHCARE
- “Thanks but we’ve got that covered”
> Director of Student Education
- BUT students were heavy users of
the op...
MEDICINE
“If they can’t do that they
shouldn’t be here”
DENTISTRY
- School already employ
a pastoral officer
(previously part of
Skills) who teaches
and provides 1:1
support
- Li...
PSYCHOLOGY
• Professional Skills module developed in
collaboration between subject librarian and
academic
• Literature sea...
And now for something completely different
MSc MOLECULAR NANOSCIENCE
WEEK 1
1. Critical thinking (2 hrs)
2. Information searching (2.5 hrs)
3. Avoiding plagiarism (2...
Issues encountered (across the Library)
• Mismatch between Skills@Library vision and some
academic perceptions of the serv...
LEEDS UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
HEALTH FACULTY
TEAM
1997-2014
R. I. P.
New Library Structure (from 1st July 2014)
• Learning Services team consisting of two groupings:
–STEM (Science / Technolo...
Factors driving change
• Simpler federated search (e.g. Summon) disintermediating
service for users.
• Shift towards resea...
New Learning Services offer:
• Online-only inductions
• Limited face-to-face in-curriculum teaching at level 1 and 2
• Mos...
Skills@Library / Learning Services future projects
• 14/15 Semester 2 elective module “The Digital Student”
• 15/16 develo...
Challenges ahead
• How do we avoid making same mistakes – learn to say “no”
• Generic vs bespoke
• What is the most cost-e...
Thank you
m.clowes@leeds.ac.uk
@vinyl_librarian
Further mutations of the health librarian: implementing an Academic Skills Strategy at Leeds
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Further mutations of the health librarian: implementing an Academic Skills Strategy at Leeds

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Mark Clowes, University of Leeds

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  • So this talk is kind of a sequel to a talk I gave a couple of years ago at EAHIL in Brussels which was called
    “Evolution of the health liaison librarian” – at that time we’d declared our intention to support academic skills and were just beginning to do that.

    What I’ll be giving you today is a sense of how far we’ve got with that so far, and I’ll also be speaking about some of the organisational changes we’re going through and how they might impact on the service.
  • Background to Skills@Library

    As acknowledged in Claire Creasey et al (LISU), health disciplines really embracing IL due to the evidence-based practice agenda; other schools slower to adopt.

  • FTLs would begin to teach a broader range of academic skills as a logical progression from their existing IL provision.

    The Skills Team would continue to offer generic support and a programme of sessions for which students could sign up voluntarily; meanwhile the Faculty Teams would start to support a wider range of academic skills within the curriculum, using materials developed by the Skills Team as a template.

    If you want to read more about the Academic Skills Strategy, there’s a paper by Helen Howard.
  • Clearly some overlap here with many definitions of IL.

    So an Academic Skills Strategy was devised which challenged the two sections to work more closely together.
  • Several areas of academic skills are already part of the SCONUL 7 pillars of IL.

    Other areas (e.g. referencing) are commonly taught by librarians.
    Reading and note-taking are a logical step once users have found the information they need.

    Digital literacy – University wide initiative (students don’t present saying “I want to become more digitally literate”!)~ So is this all smoke and mirrors? Or are we really doing more with less?



  • Several areas of academic skills are already part of the SCONUL 7 pillars of IL.

    Other areas (e.g. referencing) are commonly taught by librarians.
    Reading and note-taking are a logical step once users have found the information they need.

    Digital literacy – University wide initiative (students don’t present saying “I want to become more digitally literate”!)~ So is this all smoke and mirrors? Or are we really doing more with less?



  • The similarity is even more apparent with some of the more recent models of IL such as the ANCIL work of Jane Secker, illustrated in this diagram. You’ll see this model even moves into areas such as digital and media literacy, study skills, academic writing…

    So old wine in new bottles.

    And while health librarians have been more successful than most in promoting their IL agenda (perhaps because many of the professional bodies stipulate a certain level of IL among their competencies), the term “information literacy” has sometimes struggled to capture students’ and academics’ imagination; so perhaps there’s something to be said for repackaging it in new ways that are more appealing (academic skills; transferrable skills for employability, etc.)


  • Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work, Radiography, Audiology, Pharmacy, Cardiography, Counselling

    Felt pretty deflated at DOSE’s comments; but not necessarily representative of the whole School.

    First MA induction experience – am I teaching them the obvious (time management etc.)?
    2nd time – using questioning techniques and group discussions to surface their existing knowledge

    Concerns about potentially BOTTOMLESS demand – already heaviest enquiry workload just focusing on IL.
  • Significant input into development of new research-led curriculum but primarily focussed on information literacy (search strategies etc.)

  • Dentistry post may be a model for a similar role in Healthcare
  • Skills module eventually scrapped to make room for an academic module
    (cf Carla’s comments – you only have a limited number of credits – don’t want to “waste” them on skills development).
  • The module leader reports that these sessions have a very positive impact on the quality of work subsequently produced by students on the programme, of whom the majority are international. However, they are very labour-intensive at a time of peak demand for our support.
  • Failing students referred to S@L by academics; making it difficult to refer them back to the department.

    BUT all going swimmingly, until something like this happens….
  • Yes, the Health team is no more – our last day was Monday of this week, then from Tuesday we entered into a new structure.
  • Question marks remain over who will make collection management decisions; how liaison with departments will work; but we’ll be finding our feet over the next few months.
  • Is Summon a game changer?

    Might have been enough for students to learn these skills without realising it in the past; but now they need to know exactly what they’ve learned
  • Further mutations of the health librarian: implementing an Academic Skills Strategy at Leeds

    1. 1. Further mutations of the health librarian: implementing an Academic Skills Strategy at Leeds Mark Clowes Library Learning Services
    2. 2. Genesis of Skills@Library • In 2008, the former Skills Centre was brought under the directorship of the Library and re-branded as Skills@Library • Initially functioned as a separate unit offering generic academic skills support (workshops and drop-in 1:1 sessions) to taught students • Library Faculty Teams, meanwhile, offered bespoke inductions and information literacy teaching within their departments • The Academic Skills Strategy (2010) sought to change this…
    3. 3. The Academic Skills Strategy (2010) 1. Subject librarians to teach academic skills embedded within departments 2. Skills team to offer generic support and develop a pool of reusable materials to be tailored for departmental use
    4. 4. Academic Skills – our definition • “…those generic and transferable skills which underpin the learning development of undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in HE, enabling them to be confident, independent critical thinkers and reflective learners” (Leeds University Library 2010)
    5. 5. ACADEMIC SKILLS • finding and evaluating information • critical thinking • reading and note-taking • referencing and academic integrity • digital literacy • preparing for examinations • academic writing • presentation skills Which Academic Skills do we support?
    6. 6. ACADEMIC SKILLS • finding and evaluating information • critical thinking • reading and note-taking • referencing and academic integrity • digital literacy • preparing for examinations • academic writing • presentation skills INFORMATION LITERACY • Gather • Evaluate • Evaluate • Present • Present Which Academic Skills do we support?
    7. 7. Secker, J & Bell, M. (2012) Information Literacy Venn v.2. http://newcurriculum.wordpress.com/
    8. 8. Implementing the Academic Skills Strategy in the Faculty of Medicine & Health
    9. 9. HEALTHCARE - “Thanks but we’ve got that covered” > Director of Student Education - BUT students were heavy users of the opt-in programme and drop-in sessions - Introducing study skills in MA inductions - Return to Practice course - Presentation skills - Midwifery - Essay writing (by student request)
    10. 10. MEDICINE “If they can’t do that they shouldn’t be here”
    11. 11. DENTISTRY - School already employ a pastoral officer (previously part of Skills) who teaches and provides 1:1 support - Limited appetite for Library to deliver more - Still teaching IL incl. marking literature searches
    12. 12. PSYCHOLOGY • Professional Skills module developed in collaboration between subject librarian and academic • Literature searching; critical thinking; essay writing • Some sessions co-taught with lecturer • 100 students per session – split between 2 rooms • Increased enquiries as a result of visibility of librarian • Sometimes these required subject knowledge beyond that of the librarian (how do you give feedback on poster presentations/essays without understanding the content?) • Evaluated well but… • Scrapped to make way for an academic module
    13. 13. And now for something completely different
    14. 14. MSc MOLECULAR NANOSCIENCE WEEK 1 1. Critical thinking (2 hrs) 2. Information searching (2.5 hrs) 3. Avoiding plagiarism (2 hrs)* 4. EndNote & information searching hands-on (3 hrs) 5. Reading strategies (2 hrs) 6. Writing skills (2 hrs) 7. Revising, editing, proofreading (2 hrs)* *led by academic staff using S@L materials
    15. 15. Issues encountered (across the Library) • Mismatch between Skills@Library vision and some academic perceptions of the service (developmental vs. remedial) • Role shift for some librarians – from “expert” to partner in learning • Concerns about scalability of teaching and supporting an expanded range of academic skills at the same time as other duties (collections; research support) A change in senior management brought about a rethink…
    16. 16. LEEDS UNIVERSITY LIBRARY HEALTH FACULTY TEAM 1997-2014 R. I. P.
    17. 17. New Library Structure (from 1st July 2014) • Learning Services team consisting of two groupings: –STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Medicine) –Arts / Social Sciences publicly advertised as Skills@Library • SCORES team (Scholarly COmmunications and RESearch) (bibliometrics / PhD training / data mgmt / Open Access) • New posts (web & marketing) working with Portal team
    18. 18. Factors driving change • Simpler federated search (e.g. Summon) disintermediating service for users. • Shift towards research in Russell Group universities • Financial challenges meaning recruitment of new staff impossible
    19. 19. New Learning Services offer: • Online-only inductions • Limited face-to-face in-curriculum teaching at level 1 and 2 • Most embedded undergraduate teaching concentrated at dissertation (level 3), complemented by: • Generic opt-in extracurricular workshop programme of academic skills (see http://library.leeds.ac.uk/skills) Some flexibility about the above and some honouring of existing commitments in 2014/15
    20. 20. Skills@Library / Learning Services future projects • 14/15 Semester 2 elective module “The Digital Student” • 15/16 developing compulsory module • Teaching academics to deliver content (including IL) • Recruiting student ambassadors to deliver inductions and explore peer-assisted learning • From 14/15, all UoL lectures will be recorded, creating an archive of content which can be used in developing blended learning resources, flipped classroom activities, or MOOCs
    21. 21. Challenges ahead • How do we avoid making same mistakes – learn to say “no” • Generic vs bespoke • What is the most cost-effective blend of online and F2F? • Providing quality teaching and academic advice across a much broader range of subjects • Demarcation / sharing territory with other services • How can we have credibility defining a recipe for academic success when we don’t assess work and there be little consensus among those who do?
    22. 22. Thank you m.clowes@leeds.ac.uk @vinyl_librarian

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