Librarians in the Lead: A Case for Interdisciplinary Faculty Collaboration on Assignment Design
Assignment design provides a potential niche for librarians to fill in improving research assignments and in providing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration on teaching, but this can be difficult work to claim as librarians. In the 2016-2017 academic year, a team of three librarians at Utah State University, a mid-size research university, piloted an assignment design workshop for faculty. Based on a model developed by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), our workshop’s core component was a structured, librarian-facilitated small group discussion among three to four faculty members from a range of academic departments. Interdisciplinary conversation about teaching research skills thrived in these discussions (called “charrettes”), with librarians uniquely positioned to encourage knowledge sharing in service of student learning and success. This article presents three iterations of our workshops as a case study in information literacy intervention outside traditional classroom instruction sessions, extending and redefining the role of the academic librarian as a partner in teaching and learning.