Melding the Nitty Gritty of
Critical Thinking and Information Literacy into
English Developmental & Composition Classes
Middlesex County College
“Intervention” brings library services, staff, and
skills to a point of need outside of the library
Question: Can we place ourselves wherever
and whenever there is an intersection of help
& student need?
Today, let’s do a review–
◦ What’s been considered or done before?
◦ Uncover the whole spectrum.
◦ Your feedback on possibilities or accomplishments.
New Perspectives on Library Values
◦ Focus on institutional goals, such as student
learning outcomes, student success, and student
Bridge the gap to poor performers
◦ Serve “reluctants,” non-users and attendees at help
sessions -- wherever intervention is already
Help other service depts
◦ Tutoring / EOF / Minority Affairs / Writing Center /
Learning Center / Developmental Classes Lab /
Share our common problems in serving students, especially
helping with their learning skills
Ex. from Tutoring’s perspective – “What problems I see..”
Failure to launch
◦ Lack of understanding about research process or research paper
◦ Lack of topic or topic narrowing
Some come up with their thesis statements before doing any research.
◦ Inability to create the core research question.
Poor use of information
◦ Not using research output effectively
Large chasm between getting 5 articles and then writing the paper.
Do not understand rationale for citing or for need to evaluate sources.
Reading comprehension is a problem. Some of the articles are
Frantic need for good quotes – students told to quote something.
Can we develop student-friendly, agreed upon
language and common goals?
◦ What is the research paper process?
Standardized across a department?
Tutorial or guide for the Adjuncts?
◦ Which citation format(s) are acceptable?
What are the learning goals?
Where is it taught? Reinforced?
◦ How to pick a research topic?
Select, narrow, research, re-select
Come up with the research question.
Union County College
◦ Federal Grant: “Center for Student Success/Institute for
First Year.” Partner w/NJ City Univ. on retention.
Bergen Community College
◦ “Special Topics Program Review: Focus on Bergen’s
Expectations for Student Learning, June 2009.”
◦ Writing Center Collaboration Program
New Learning Assistance Centers (BCC, MCC)
Academic Support Center concept- merged
Library, Tutoring, and Advising service center.
◦ “Guidelines for the Writing Seminar/Library
Collaboration, Fall 2009.”
◦ Elmborg, James K., and Sheril Hook. Centers for
Learning: Writing Centers and Libraries in
Collaboration. Publications in Librarianship, no.58.
Chicago: ACRL, 2005. Print.
◦ Geller, Anne Ellen, et. al. The Everyday Writing
Center: A Community of Practice. Logan, Utah:
Utah State University Press, 2007. Print.
Andrade, Maureen S. “Learning Communities: Examining
Positive Outcomes.” Journal of College Student Retention 9:1
(2007-2008): 1-20. Print.
Brady, Laura, et. Al. “A Collaborative Approach to Information
Literacy: First-Year Composition, Writing Center, and Library
Partnerships at West Virginia University.” Composition
Forum, Spring, 2009. Web. 2 June 2010.
Kuhlthau, Carol C. and Leslie K. Maniotes. “Building Guided
Inquiry Teams for 21st Century Learners.” School Library
Monthly. 26:5 (Jan 2010):18-21. Print.
Landsberger, Joe. “Academic Support Centers: Quo Vadis?”
TechTrends 49:4 (Jul/Aug 2005). 8-12. Print.
Mahaffy, Mardi. “Exploring Common Ground: US Writing
Center/Library Collaboration.” New Library World. 109:3/4.
2007. 173-181. Print.
Roselle, Ann. “Community College Library Practices in
Developmental Education.” Journal of Developmental Education.
32:2 (Winter 2008). 24-32. Print.
First Year Experience
Academic Support Centers
How can we assist in providing help? What mix
will work for both of us?
1. Joint staff meetings
Librarians coach or train all new tutors
During faculty and new faculty plenary sessions; and
faculty development days: joint library/tutoring sessions
2. Share knowledge
National Tutoring Association (NTA)
3. Special techniques
Which curriculum? Writing Center?
What are the issues from the two sides?
Side 1-1. Refer student from library to tutoring
center, if they need help with:
Reading their papers to see “if it makes sense”
Grammar or spelling questions
Developing a thesis statement
How to cite a source
Learning a citation format
Side 2-1. Refer student from tutoring center to
library, if they need help with:
How to use the library
How to find and borrow a book
How to use e-reserves
Selecting the right library database to use
Find materials at other libraries
Narrowing a research topic
Selecting a resource type
Establish and partner on learning communities:
1. What are they? A cohort of students who at
registration enroll for a “learning community” who
are jointly taking the same two courses
Two courses are linked in registration and must be
Ex. Developmental English and a History course
2. Tutoring, academic dept., and library partners in
each learning community.
Faculty members and tutoring work together to see that
the writing assignments and research papers are linked
Library instruction is aligned to these efforts.
Establish extra help through Supplemental
Instruction- Use of peer mentors who provides instruction in addition
to the classroom sessions.
This SI leader is a student who recently completed class
and is hired to “take” the class again
SI leader attends all classes, takes notes, observes other
students and how they are doing.
Available for 1:1 help; and arranges for Study groups to be
held twice per week.
How can we help? What mix will work for
both of us?
1. Periodic co-location of staff
Ex. Librarians are available twice a week
2. Instant Referrals
Ex. Joint appointment scheduling through
system, e.g. TutorTrac
Or self-scheduling with students scheduling
themselves for tutoring or 1:1 library help.
3. Joint troubleshooting
Resolve database selection, search problems, citation
process, evaluating sources.
First Year Experience
First Year Experience
Academic Support Centers
How can we help? What mix will work for both of us?
Students enrolled for their very first semester at the
Or whoever is enrolled in at least two developmental courses
(math, writing, reading)
Give them their first exposure to college
Raise the bar
Basic student success curriculum
Study habits; taking tests; etc.
Three assignments/2-3 library sessions
Include info lit assignment
Librarian either teaches library session; some teach the
entire class section.
Other service center offerings:
College: Not What I Thought It Would Be
Preparation for Mid-Term Exams
Strategic Planning for Academic Success
Job Search Basics
Ingredients for Success
The Way to an A
How to Write an A Paper
Choosing your College Major
Welcome to Library 2.0
What’s valuable in the non-Google world?
Getting an A on your research paper
Finding the information you need
Using 1:1 library help
Ready for your interview:? Researching a potential
◦ Searching for scholarships
◦ Avoiding plagiarism
◦ How to cite your sources
◦ Focus on Student Learning Objectives
◦ Develop joint measurements (scoring rubrics) for
how well a student did in their paper, as regards
several factors, ex.
research, synthesis, concepts, organization…
◦ Both faculty and librarian review both paper and
◦ Score and review.
◦ Develop norms and benchmarks
◦ Assess ways to improve outcomes
Can we combine operations?
1. Co-located or 2. Integrated into a
“Learning Assistance Center” /”Academic
Using a holistic approach to learning and
development, the Learning Assistance Center supports
students in becoming independent and successful
learners by providing skill-based tutoring across
disciplines… Through collaboration with
programs, departments and the larger campus
community, the Center works to respond to the diverse
needs of the students.
Source: San Francisco State Univ.
Many community colleges embraced the concept of
the Learning College which "places learning first
and provides educational experiences for learners
anyway, anyplace, anytime." -- Presidents of the
League's Alliance for Community College
Terry O’Banion’s book, Focus on Learning.
Writing Center Supervisor
Tutoring Center Supervisor
Library Instruction Coordinator
Writing Center Faculty Liaison
Student Support or Student Services Coordinator
◦ What initiatives or mandates are you under?
◦ How well do you work with Tutoring, Writing
Center, Developmental Center?
◦ What has worked on your campus?
Mark Thompson, email@example.com
Library, Middlesex Community College, Edison, NJ