Student Success: Academic Librarianship’s New Holy Grail | From the Bell Tower

Student success | Academic libraries | Altmetrics | Leadership

by Steven Bell | Jan 09, 2019

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There is little debate in academic librarianship over our role in contributing to student success. The year ahead is likely to see more debate over what it should mean, how we demonstrate that contribution, and to what extent data is used to accomplish it.

For most of my academic library career the holy grail was collaboration with faculty. In addition to feeding a desire to gain some equal footing with faculty in contributing to student learning, those collaborative efforts brought a sense of purpose to my effort to help students learn. While connecting and building relationships with faculty is still critical to an individual liaison librarian’s success, my observation is that it is now somewhat secondary to the academic library’s collective ability to enable student success. Making that the focus of the academic library enterprise would certainly demonstrate support of what has emerged as the top priority of our institutions. In 2018, there was a clear sense of urgency around student retention and graduation—always a fundamental purpose of higher education, but heightened by an increase in at-promise student enrollment. If signs during the course of 2018 are an indicator, then the debate over how academic libraries do or do not contribute is sure to emerge as a major issue for 2019. Read article