RLI 284 Library Space Assessment: Focusing on Learning 17 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 28 expertise in data analysis outside the library. The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Libraries have published the results of two studies that examined the relationship between library use and student success and retention, employing the use of library data and additional data from the university’s Institutional Research unit. While their work did not directly address the questions of contributions of library renovations to student success, their methodologies serve as an excellent model for future studies.8 Faculty and Student Effort Researchers, state legislators, and the general public are examining the amount of effort (usually represented as time spent) faculty and students expend in teaching and learning. Academically Adrift,9 which appeared in late 2010, provided data that demonstrated how little students were actually learning in their four-year undergraduate education (based on results from the Collegiate Learning Assessment, or CLA). The report also included data that divulged how little time students were spending studying outside of class. It is important to note, however, that the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE see below), which also measures student effort, yielded higher numbers of student study hours than the Academically Adrift study.10 Many students spend at least part of their time studying in the library, but these studies did not collect data on student location. Faculty effort expended in teaching has also been scrutinized, particularly by legislators, who may not clearly understand (or support) the fact that many faculty in research institutions have reduced teaching loads so that they may devote more time to their (funded) research. Since virtually all libraries report increased use after a renovation, it is interesting to consider whether these spaces promote more learning time for students outside of class. If a sample of students were studied before and after the renovation, it would be beneficial to many institutions to understand whether there is a measurable impact on the amount of time spent on academic work. Student Engagement The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is an instrument that uses broad topic areas to benchmark the degree to which students are engaged in learning: academic challenge, learning with peers, experiences with faculty, and campus environment.11 The survey, revised for administration in 2013, continues to seek to identify educational practices that lead to student learning success in high performing institutions.12 Clearly, many of the elements of student engagement have strong connections to the library for example, NSSE questions address the types of assignments student complete, student experience evaluating information resources, and participation in a culminating senior experience (thesis, etc.). The NSSE has been called into question as a predictor of academic success,13 but the survey was not intended to function in that capacity. Its purpose is to measure practices associated with teaching and learning in high performing institutions. It is currently in use in over 600 institutions. Many libraries work with NSSE coordinators in their institutions and some add questions addressing library services to the administration of the survey on their campus. There is also an information literacy module for NSSE in development.14 The NSSE could help libraries study what impact the renovated space and new technologies and services had, for example, on involvement in undergraduate capstone projects or an undergraduate research program. When constructing an assessment plan for a renovated or new library facility, the developers should
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