Teaching Methods Virtual Event – Describing Realities, Imagining Directions: Critical Race Pedagogies in Teaching & Learning

Title:  Describing Realities, Imagining Directions: Critical Race Pedagogies in Teaching & Learning

Time: May 30, 2019 @ 1:00-2:00PM EST |12:00-1:00 PM CST | 11:00-12:00 PM MST | 10:00-11:00 AM PST

Please register at: https://ala-events.zoom.us/webinar/register/94586843c7c66f667c24e00bf0acd2b8

In this presentation, two academic librarians, Jen Brown and Jorge López-McKnight, who are currently practicing and imagining race-focused critical pedagogies, will discuss their teaching and learning approaches that will provide attendees with perspectives, ideas, and strategies to transport to their teaching. Critical race pedagogies draw from a range of theories and concepts that are grounded in affirmation, sustainment, and the centering of the racialized and intersectional information worlds of our learners and communities. Critical race pedagogies are committed to critiquing dominant oppressive power structures, while aiming to provide transformative learning experiences in the spaces we teach, learn, and live in.

Time for Q&A will follow the presentation.

Bios

Jen Brown is the Design & Technologies Librarian at Barnard College. In her current role, she oversees day-to-day operations of the library’s new Design Center and teaches learner-focused workshops around DIY projects that draw on makerspace technologies for college students.

Jorge López-McKnight is a library worker at the Austin Community College Riverside Campus, in Austin, Texas. In his current and past library position(s), he participates in various teaching and learning activities with a wide-range of learners.

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Marisa Méndez-Brady

Several times a year, the ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning.

Name:
Marisa L. Méndez-Brady

Institution:
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Job Title:
Reference and Instruction Librarian

Number of Years Teaching:

6

Are you a dogs or cats fan?

I love both, but I do have an adorable dog named Baxter, so I’ll have to go with dogs. He’s a rescued pittie-mix from Texas that I’ve had for about eight years now.

 

What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

In my free time I renovate houses with my partner! We started renovating homes in Austin for our then-landlords back in 2010 and just got hooked on taking something decrepit and making it beautiful again. We are currently working on our house in the San Fernando Valley in California. We’re about a year into the renovation and we’re finally almost moved in!

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class). 

One of my favorite activities that I use with students is commonly referred to as the “Teach-In.” The “Teach-In” activity is the central activity in many of my lesson plans, and relies on a structured open-ended exploratory approach to teaching and learning. Typically, this activity addresses the ACRL Information Literacy Frames “Searching as Strategic Exploration” and “Research as Inquiry.” The rough outline for the activity is as follows. First, break students up into small groups and then assign each group a resource to explore (e.g., database, website, journal index, etc.). The key is that all students should be exploring the same concept/topic, but using information sources that will each provide a different perspective. Then, the students should have ample time to explore each resource, basing their exploration on the prompts provided by the library instructor. Once the different groups have explored the assigned resource, each group then presents their information source and teaches the class about how they might use that source for that topic and/or any upcoming assignments.

This activity works the best when there is an upcoming assignment that can ground the learning and the teaching librarian has enough time to plan out the activity in detail. Since this is very much an active learning activity/lesson plan, it requires that the structure is in place that guides the learning and directions are crystal clear. Make sure to include: (1) what should the students be looking for in that resource? and (2) what key things do you want the students to include in their presentation to the class?

I love this activity because it helps create a wonderful dynamic in the classroom where students are centered in the learning community. Plus, I always learn something new from the ways students approach learning library resources!

How do you avoid teaching burnout?

I avoid teaching burnout through collaboration. Bouncing ideas off of peers, colleagues, and mentors helps me get excited about working with students and reminds me why I chose to go into academic librarianship.

When I was at a larger institution, I regularly sought out co-teaching opportunities with colleagues whose work I respected and who I wanted to learn from. Each co-teaching opportunity both helped me learn new skills and pushed me to continually grow as an instructor. Brainstorming lesson plans with others and then watching colleagues in their teaching element really inspires me to keep going, even when I’m feeling burned out.

Now that I am at a smaller institution, I still try to collaborate and brainstorm as often as I can, although I admit it requires more intentionality to find collaborators. I try to collaborate with faculty and graduate student teaching assistants whenever possible in my local environment. That being said, most of my collaboration takes the form of digital communications. To foster connections to other teaching and learning librarians I use Slack and Google Hangouts to brainstorm new techniques and lesson plans. I also regularly schedule video chats where I can see my collaborators and feed off of their energy.

I also think it’s important to acknowledge when the burnout feelings start manifesting and not push them down or ignore them. Academic librarianship can be really lonely and isolating, especially for those of us in smaller institutions. It’s so important that I have a network of like-minded people I can scream, cry, and work through my burnout with.

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.

(1) You are absolutely entitled to push back against unreasonable demands from faculty, supervisors, administrators, and colleagues. If you need two weeks to prepare for library instruction, then you are absolutely entitled to ask for that much advance notice. If you need additional support, then ask for additional support. If it makes sense to ask the faculty/instructor to have the students complete a pre-or post-class assignment, then go ahead and do so. Teaching is hard, so make sure you have what you need to be your best teacher self! You know yourself, and you know what you need to do your job.

(2) Don’t be intimidated in the space or feel like you should already have it all figured out. Most librarians don’t have a background in pedagogy/andragogy and most libraries are constantly trying to figure out where they fit into the greater teaching and learning landscape. Experiment, try new things out, and go boldly into that classroom! And then find yourself a group of colleagues (either at your institution or beyond your local environment) to talk through the things that went well and the things that didn’t go so well in the classroom. Almost all of my favorite activities were terrible the first time I tried them out and got better through taking iterative approaches.

What’s your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is succinctly summed up by this bell hooks quote from her book Teaching Critical Thinking: “When everyone in the classroom, teacher and students, recognizes that they are responsible for creating a learning community together, learning is at its most meaningful and useful” (2010, 11).

To elaborate, my approach is focusing on developing critical consciousness around a concept or approach, as opposed to teaching a specific database/tool/strategy. The term “critical consciousness” was coined by philosopher Frantz Fanon and popularized in educational circles by Paulo Freire. Critical consciousness focuses on achieving an in-depth understanding of the world, allowing for the perception and exposure of social and political contradictions. In instruction, instead of relying on information transfer as pedagogical practice (e.g.,”sage on a stage”), the teacher guides and structures the learning so that students arrive at the learning objective(s) on their own as their critical consciousness is raised. Building a learning community in the classroom requires decentering my own authority and instead, centering the diversity of student experiences by allowing for flexibility and self-expression.

James Elmborg introduced the term to instruction librarianship via his 2006 article, “Critical Information Literacy: Implications for Instructional Practice.” I highly recommend this article as a must read. I also like to think a lot about sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s notions of habitus, or the ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions that together build one’s world view. It is the way that individuals perceive the social world around them and react to it. At the center of my lesson plans is almost always the question: How can we break students’ habitus to raise critical consciousness?

 

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Recording for Management & Leadership Committee Discussion Series – Fostering Curiosity: Invigorating Your Library’s Teaching and Learning Culture through SoTL

On May 1st,  the Instruction Section’s Management and Leadership Committee hosted a virtual event titled Fostering Curiosity: Invigorating Your Library’s Teaching and Learning Culture through SoTL, which is now available for viewing via ACRL’s YouTube channel. Session slides are also available. Our speakers were Dr. Lauren Hays, Margy MacMillan, and Melissa Mallon.

Session Description: The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) is an area of inquiry ripe for librarian involvement that provides opportunities to engage with deeper questions around pedagogy and student learning.  This online discussion will provide a brief overview of SoTL and discuss how library instruction program coordinators can use SoTL as a foundation for building and invigorating a culture of teaching and learning within their libraries. The presenters will discuss how instruction coordinators and directors can use SoTL as a way to foster creativity and engage librarians in exploration of their own teaching. We will discuss the challenges and benefits of moving  from individual SOTL projects to a SOTL- infused teaching and learning culture, and what can enable this transformation. We will offer strategies to support library leaders in making connections between SoTL projects and promoting pedagogical innovation within a library instruction program.

  • Outcomes
    • Attendees will:
      • Assess their library’s current teaching culture to identify pathways where SoTL might strengthen/deepen it
      • Identify the benefits of incorporating SoTL into the library’s/institution’s culture of teaching
      • Identify potential challenges in incorporating SoTL into the library’s/institution’s culture of teaching, and articulate strategies to overcome those challenges

Thank you to our speakers and participants.

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Recording for Management & Leadership Committee Discussion Series – A Complaint has Been Filed. Now What? Strategies for Accessibility Remediation and Prioritization for Future Compliance

On April 24th,  the Instruction Section’s Management and Leadership Committee hosted a virtual event titled A Complaint has Been Filed. Now What? Strategies for Accessibility Remediation and Prioritization for Future Compliance, which is now available for viewing via ACRL’s YouTube channel. Session slides are also available. Our speaker was Dr. Kate Deibel, from Syracuse University.

Session Description: Online accessibility standards are intended to make learning optimal for all learners; it is about more than legal compliance. However, compliance issues have impacted campuses across the country. In 2017, Syracuse University received an official accessibility complaint from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that required an extensive remediation of websites and online materials across the institution, including the Libraries. Kate Deibel, Inclusion and Accessibility Librarian will share how she coordinated an extensive remediation of library materials, from managing workflows and processes to developing best practices for ongoing compliance.  She will also discuss additional accessibility efforts SU Libraries have underway, including an alternative format service within the Libraries and a software accessibility testing team from all aspects of the Libraries. This hour long webinar will include a presentation and a Q&A session.

  • Outcomes
    • Identify criteria necessary to prioritize library e-resources and websites for remediation
    • Establish processes for increasing accessibility of library online materials and services
    • Gain an awareness of novel efforts that SUL is exploring to ensure ongoing ADA compliance

Thank you to our speakers and participants.

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May 2019 Site of the Month

The Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online (PRIMO) Committee of the Instruction Section of ACRL is pleased to announce that a new Site of the Month interview has been posted to our committee website.

May 2019 Site of the Month: Copyright Q & As: What kind of right is copyright?
Interview with: Rumi Graham
Interviewer: Brittany O’Neill

Project Description: This tutorial is the first in an online series on Canadian copyright. The primary goal of the series is to help participants understand how they can use copyrighted materials and create their own works within the provisions of Canadian copyright law. Because copyright involves a number of complex concepts, the series begins by exploring some questions about copyright’s theoretical underpinnings. This tutorial is Creative Commons licensed.

The full interview is available at: http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/may-2019-site-of-the-month/

To see the archive of previous Site of the Month interviews, please see http://acrl.ala.org/IS/instruction-tools-resources-2/pedagogy/primo-peer-reviewed-instruction-materials-online/primo-site-of-the-month/

Look for more interviews this summer!

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IS Virtual Program: Incorporating Social Justice and the Framework in Information Literacy Instruction

Incorporating Social Justice and the Framework in Information Literacy Instruction
ACRL Instruction Section’s Virtual Program
Monday, May 20, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Central Time
Webinar registration:

https://ala-events.zoom.us/webinar/register/42c90712552e33b07c24e00bf0acd2b8

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email from Zoom containing your specific link to join the live meeting.

This webinar will be recorded and registrants will be sent the recording after the program.

The ACRL Instruction Section’s Virtual Program will explore the ways that librarians have incorporated social justice into the classroom, including as a pedagogy, as an advocacy topic, and in conjunction with the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Speakers will discuss social justice and the Framework from the practical perspective of how attendees can utilize their approaches to lesson plans, classroom activities, and course syllabi. Attendees will gain ideas, as well as strategies, resources, and instructional artifacts to apply in and modify for their own teaching. The program will offer four presentations by librarians who work directly with these topics, including a 20-minute keynote and three 15-minute presentations on instructional approaches to social justice and the Framework. These presentations are:

Keynote on “Applying Social Justice Frame in Teaching and in Practice,” by Raymond Pun (Instruction/Research Librarian, Alder Graduate School of Education) & Dr. Nicole A. Cooke (Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois)

“Silent Sam and the Academy: Confederate Symbols in Higher Education,” by Martha Allen (Chair Research and Instruction Services, Pius XII Memorial Library/Saint Louis University),

“Educating for Social Justice and Information Advocacy using Open Access Platforms from the Southern Region of the World,” by Dr. Sergio Chaparro (Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University / VCU Libraries)

“Homing in on Coming Out: Digital Mapping & the Process of Placing Gay Liberation Where You Are,” by Jason Ezell (Instruction & Research Coordinator, Loyola University New Orleans) & Lucy Rosenbloom (Systems & Information Resources Librarian, Loyola University New Orleans)

Please contact Martha Stuit (stuitm@umich.edu) and Ernesto Hernandez (ernestohernandez@weber.edu), co-chairs of the ACRL Instruction Section Conference Program Planning Committee, with any questions.

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2019 Special Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation: Brad Sietz

The 2019 Instruction Section has chosen two recipients for a Special Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation.  Brad Sietz, LOEX Director for the LOEX Conference and LOEX Quarterly, has received one of those certificates.  LOEX is a self-supporting, non-profit educational clearinghouse for library instruction and information literacy information.  Brad’s work on LOEX for over a decade has made it the premier information literacy conference for librarians, nationally and its reputation is growing internationally.

Tell us about LOEX and your involvement in it over the years.

LOEX was started in 1971 at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in Ypsilanti, MI. Its official name used to be the LOEX Clearinghouse for Library Instruction (now it is just LOEX) and that’s a pretty good jumping off point to describe its original purpose—a place where librarians could find & exchange both library instruction resources (physical materials, such as mimeographs and video tapes, in those pre-internet days) and ideas (through an annual conference and a Quarterly newsletter). LOEX has member institutions (currently about 675) who pay a small annual fee to get discounted registration fees to the conference along with a subscription to the Quarterly and a Currents e-awareness newsletter.

Over the years, LOEX has stayed true to that purpose while broadening it—the conference used to just be held in Ypsilanti, but for the past 25 years it has moved all around the country; we also now offer a selection of online breakout sessions after the conference. The Quarterly has evolved from a newsletter to a journal focused on short, practical articles. Physical materials are no longer exchanged, so LOEX now has a website where online materials can be accessed.

I started at LOEX in 2006, right after getting my MSI at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. I am the LOEX Director, the sole employee of the organization and I spend my time managing the membership, editing & producing the Quarterly and Currents, and planning & coordinating the annual conference. LOEX also is now separate from EMU, becoming an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit five years ago, though we are still based in Ypsilanti.

The LOEX annual conference is well-attended and even revered by academic librarians. What do think accounts for its sustained success?

Yes, I was very fortunate to come into a situation with a well-attended, well-liked conference already in place, so my main job was (and still is) to not screw it up and build upon its long-history of success.

I believe what accounts for this success is it has a clear focus (library instruction for academic librarians) while still having breadth (a wide variety within that focus–not just assessment, online learning, etc). If you’re a librarian who does instruction and cares about information literacy, you can get a great feel for what is going on across North America (and a few other parts of the world) by spending just a couple of days at LOEX.

Additionally, the culture of the conference is a big plus. We work really hard to make it a welcoming, collegial event that is not only packed with great sessions, but plenty of opportunities to talk to fellow librarians in more relaxed, yet often structured settings (e.g., numerous dine-arounds on Friday night) on a personal and professional level.

Finally, we made it bigger (when I started, the typical capacity was around 275; now it is around 400) in order to allow more people who want to attend to do so, but not too big. Thus, it can still be held in one hotel/place, which makes it easier for attendees to take everything in and not get “lost.”

What was a really notable moment in LOEX’s history?

LOEX has been in existence for almost 50 years and, for most of that, it was wholly a part of EMU. Then, about five years ago, EMU went through some organization planning changes and we all decided that LOEX needed to become an independent entity. This was both exciting and scary, as it would allow more independence for LOEX, but we would also need to take over all administrative functions and there would be no backstop if something unexpectedly bad happened, especially monetarily.

But this change gave LOEX the opportunity to really examine its mission, and create more opportunities for people to contribute to the direction and work of the organization—for example, now LOEX has a Board (previously it just had an Advisory Council) that drafted bylaws and oversees the entire organization. While it hasn’t always been fun learning how to properly follow all the rules & regulations of federal & state non-profit agencies, make a payroll, setup a retirement plan, etc, it has given us a great deal of freedom—if we think something is a good idea and will work for LOEX and its members, there is no need to run it by a much, much larger organization or have to go through a more complicated financial approval system.

It has been very gratifying to realize LOEX can stand on its own, which gives us confidence LOEX—with smart planning, hard work and a little luck—will be around for another 50 years, whether LOEX decides it is best to stay completely independent or partner with a larger institution.

What are you most proud of about your work with LOEX?

To pick just one: LOEX’s role in developing and providing opportunities both for new librarians and for librarians that have recently transitioned into an instruction-focused role at their institution.

For those who make LOEX the first national conference they attend or where they conduct a national presentation (either as a student poster presenter or as a breakout session presenter), because their institutions often are members, it makes it easy to notice those folks as they advance in their careers, and I am glad LOEX played a small part in that.

In addition, my conversations with department heads and my review of conference evaluations makes it clear that library schools are, unfortunately, still not generally doing a great job in preparing new graduates for library instruction, so LOEX plays a vital role in helping develop those who need to get a broad-based “education” in library instruction and information literacy. Additionally, with the Quarterly (particularly the Book Reviews), I often work with many first-time authors (including occasionally students) and I take a lot of satisfaction in helping them through the writing and editing process.

What do you want the library community to know about LOEX that you haven’t addressed already?

That I’m the only employee of LOEX, so while I play a key role in its success, the drivers of that success are the volunteers—who serve on the Board, the Advisory Council, and the local committees for the conference—and the presenters and authors. LOEX is reliant on volunteers (e.g., each conference has a local committee of about eight people; each section of the Quarterly has an assistant editor) to make LOEX “work”, and I am very appreciative of their contributions. It really is a community-driven enterprise and there are plenty of opportunities for folks to contribute and grow, no matter what stage they are at in the career.

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Post-ACRL IS Membership Office Hours – April 23

Please join the IS Membership Committee for post-ACRL Virtual IS Membership Office Hours on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:30-1:30 pm CST, featuring IS Executive Committee member & ACRL presenter, Veronica Arellano Douglas – as well as other conference attendees who are members of IS – to catch up on some major themes and takeaways, lessons learned, and more.

Event Registration – Please do not register if you are not able to attend live! We will share a link to the recording after the event occurs. Page:   https://ala.adobeconnect.com/egc3eumudtzo/event/registration.html

Event Login Page:  https://ala.adobeconnect.com/egc3eumudtzo/event/login.html

Access: Only registered users may enter the room (guest access is blocked). Limit of 100 attendees (including speakers) –

Note: Please do not access the meeting link above prior to 15 minutes before the start time, as you may interrupt another meeting.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact IS Membership Committee Chair Marjorie Lear at marjorielear@gmail.com. We look forward to connecting with you!

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Featured Teaching Librarian: Lauren Wallis

Several times a year, the ACRL Instruction Section Teaching Methods Committee selects and interviews a librarian who demonstrates a passion for teaching, innovation, and student learning.

Lauren Wallis PhotoName:

Lauren Wallis

Institution:

University of Delaware

Job Title:

First Year Experience and Student Success Librarian

Number of Years Teaching:

7

What are you reading right now?

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

What’s your favorite “thinking” beverage?

Coffee

Describe a favorite activity that you use with students (this could be for a face-to-face class, online, or hybrid class).

An activity that I like to do at the beginning of many classes involves asking students to think about a research project they have done in the past and identify one successful strategy they used and one challenge they encountered. I use a think/pair/share approach for this activity, asking students to first do some individual freewriting then share with a small group. Then, I go around and ask each group to share one challenge and one strategy they discussed with the whole class. I write these on the board and sometimes elaborate on why certain things are challenging or make connections between challenges and strategies that groups have mentioned. I move from this activity into a slide about goals for the session and try to illuminate how the goals will address specific challenges that have been mentioned. I like this activity because it uses the students’ experiences as a starting point for the class. It allows students a chance to recognize and share what they already know and also makes clear that it’s OK to experience some confusion and frustration when it comes to research. Throughout the class I try to look for moments to refer back to the students’ ideas and experiences, highlighting how specific skills or practices can provide concrete ways to address a challenge.

What class do you teach the most and how do you keep it fresh?

The class I teach the most is first-year composition. This is a required course at UD and all sections include a researched argument paper. The majority of instructors bring their classes in for a library session in conjunction with the research assignment. This leads to a high volume of classes, so I keep it fresh in two ways: one is by engaging with instructors to make sure the session is well-integrated into the course and the other is by engaging with students to delve into their research topics during class. When planning for a class, I ask instructors about the smaller assignments or in-class activities they have done related to the research project. I try to develop activities that build directly on the work students have already done so that they immediately see the relevance of the library session and are motivated to participate. During the class I build in time for students to work individually or in small groups and I go around and hear about their research process, ask questions, and offer advice. These one-on-one conversations with students remind me that the content of the session and the experience of doing college-level research is always new to the students and motivate me to be enthusiastic and engaged in every class I teach.

Name two things you would share with a librarian who is new to teaching.

1) Don’t be afraid to think creatively about what information literacy teaching can look like. It can be frustrating to encounter limited views of a librarian’s teaching role. One way that I’ve dealt with this is by seeking ongoing opportunities to do research about pedagogy and information literacy theory. This experience has made me more knowledgeable but also more confident, allowing me to bring new approaches into my teaching.

2) Build connections and partnerships, formally and informally. In my experience, many universities talk about how they have a “silo” problem, where departments and units across campus don’t communicate with each other. That can make it challenging to connect with colleagues outside of the library, but not impossible! When you’re new to an institution, find ways to get outside the library and meet colleagues from offices that provide student support (such as tutoring centers or residence life) as well as from academic departments. Look for events like brown-bag discussions, training programs such as Safe Zone, committees, or informal reading or writing groups. It’s interesting to hear about how other departments and professions within higher education talk about teaching and student success–and conversations like this can lead to exciting collaborative projects!

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Fostering Curiosity: Invigorating Your Library’s Teaching and Learning Culture through SoTL (ACRL IS Management & Leadership Committee)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 11:00am – 12:00pm (CST)

Registration: https://ala-events.zoom.us/webinar/register/e78059895773808c8c34be5db4a05ad8

The scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) is an area of inquiry ripe for librarian involvement that provides opportunities to engage with deeper questions around pedagogy and student learning. This online discussion will provide a brief overview of SoTL and discuss how library instruction program coordinators can use SoTL as a foundation for building and invigorating a culture of teaching and learning within their libraries. The presenters will discuss how instruction coordinators and directors can use SoTL as a way to foster creativity and engage librarians in exploration of their own teaching. We will discuss the challenges and benefits of moving from individual SOTL projects to a SOTL-infused teaching and learning culture, and what can enable this transformation. We will offer strategies to support library leaders in making connections between SoTL projects and promoting pedagogical innovation within a library instruction program.

Presenters:
  • Lauren Hays: Instructional and Research Librarian, Mabee Library, MidAmerica Nazarene University
  • Melissa Mallon:  Director of Peabody Library; Director of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University
  • Margy MacMillan: Senior Researcher, Project Information Literacy
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