My current research contains two major themes. They are:
- Transfer of learning of information literacy skills
- Supporting academic librarians’ explorations of their campuses’ social justice needs
Both of these themes work toward supporting needs of the “whole person” in the academic library. They have evolved throughout my eleven years of teaching and research at CU Denver. I am also excited at the richness that my doctoral studies, and the work that has followed them, has brought to the research that I already perform in academic libraries.
In addition, I frequently take part in research, writing, and training projects that support the education of Master of Library Science (MLS) students worldwide. I am particularly interested in helping students develop confident, versatile teaching techniques, as well as helping them to take advantage of opportunities for learning.
These are several pieces of my ongoing work:
The Actor-Oriented Transfer Perspective and Information Literacy
During my doctoral studies, I engaged with the actor-oriented transfer perspective (AOT), a framework for exploring students’ thinking as they solve problems. I am now working on using principles of AOT to find authentic ways of exploring students’ thinking as they use information literacy skills in their own lives and educations. I’m also working on developing tools so that other librarians and educators may explore their students’ thought processes related to information literacy as well.
Research on Transfer in Urban Planning Information Literacy Education
Since May 2017 Dr. Andrew Rumbach (Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning) and I have been measuring transfer and development of information literacy skills in urban planning education. At present, we are tracking students’ information literacy skills throughout the first year of their Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree. Our research examines real-world information-seeking behaviors among these students. We hope that our work will help to shape information literacy-related teaching practices in this field, as well as to contribute to information literacy teaching for graduate students in a broader sense.
Social Justice Needs in Academic Libraries Worldwide
Along with my friend and colleague Zachary Newell (Salem State University, MA), I have created a series of workshops, presentations, and writings on this topic. Our goals are to help academic librarians to (a) develop a level of familiarity with social justice issues that affect the students who attend their institutions, (b) learn to evaluate their educational settings for social justice-related needs, and (c) plan to take action related to those needs. We perceive that students frequently express these needs to academic librarians; we want to empower those librarians to understand and approach needs, large or small.
Thus far in our work, it’s been exciting to work with academic librarians from around the world (primarily through the BOBCATSSS 2017 and 2018 conferences, as well as ALISE 2018). We’ve listened to them as they have identified, explored, and planned to approach these needs in their own communities. In the future, we intend to create a toolkit to help academic librarians seek out culturally appropriate information and techniques. We are also deeply interested in turning theory into action.