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Strategic Coordination and Collaboration between Training Organisations

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Presentation by Sheila Corrall to Expert Workshop on Information Competencies for Researchers organised by the Research Information Network and Research Councils UK in London on 16 July 2009. Reviews findings of the Mind the Gap report and other issues related to research competence. Identifies challenges and opportunities for development, arguing the need for strategic alignment of visions, policies, plans and programmes at national and local levels.

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Strategic Coordination and Collaboration between Training Organisations

  1. 1. Expert Workshop on Information Competencies Strategic Coordination and Collaboration between Training Organisations (Theme 1) Professor Sheila Corrall Centre for Information Literacy Research Chair of the BAILER Heads Committee © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  2. 2. My perspective on information competency •  Head of multi-disciplinary department ranked top in RAE •  Supervisor of international and home research students •  Chair of Univ of Sheffield Information Literacy Network −  multi-professional inter-disciplinary partnership of academic subject experts, information scientists, library practitioners and educational developers •  Research and consultancy in information literacy strategy •  Formerly director of library/information/academic services •  Founder of SCONUL Task Force and CILIP Expert Group © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  3. 3. ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ – important findings •  Gaps and overlaps in current skills development/training •  Overly narrow interpretation of information competencies •  Inadequate analysis of needs, monitoring and evaluation •  Scalability issues with subject-specialised library training •  Need to broaden the coverage and vary styles of delivery •  Scope for development of e-learning and blended training •  Limited engagement of academic staff in training activity •  Weak integration and alignment of institutional strategies •  Poor communication among internal and external players © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  4. 4. Research competence – other critical issues •  Representation of information competencies in RCUK Joint Statement is much too limited and badly phrased −  reproduced in printed and web-based institutional guidance −  widely used as standard for student training needs analysis •  Students can often meet institutional requirements for research training without acquiring the necessary skills −  information skills training often optional and rarely accredited •  International students are an important and expanding group whose needs are often not properly recognised •  Skills in accessing and managing data also important © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  5. 5. Information competencies – key challenges •  Achieving a joined-up approach to formulation, planning, delivery and evaluation of training programmes between the various stakeholders (RCUK, Vitae, HEIs and others) −  active dialogue + common language  mutual understanding −  sharing information about good practice (e.g. Vitae database) •  Getting meaningful strategic engagement by key players, demonstrated by a coherent set of policies and strategies with linkages and follow-through between different levels −  national, institutional, functional, faculty/school/dept, individual −  formal specification of competencies via framework/standards © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  6. 6. Lessons learned from UG/PGT experiences •  Explicit statements in institutional strategies enable a step-change in awareness, commitment and execution −  especially if departments required to have matching strategies and strategic objectives operationalised in induction checklists •  Specification as a graduate attribute reinforces message •  Formal definitions, frameworks and standards support a co-ordinated consistent approach and equal opportunity •  Generic tutorials can be customised to disciplinary need −  most successful through academic and library staff partnership •  Learning is more effective when integrated into real tasks © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies
  7. 7. Vision Researcher attributes Policies Competency framework (Generic and discipline-specific) Roles and responsibilities Strategies and Action Plans Multi-level alignment and operational integration Portfolios of Projects and Programmes Diagnostic tools, learning resources, training sessions © The University of Sheffield / Department of Information Studies

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