Information Literacy Grants for Faculty

After the success of the first two years of Information Literacy Grants, Brandeis University Library will be offering Information Literacy grants to faculty for the 2017-2018 academic year. These grants are meant to help faculty work with librarians to design courses that help students become mature researchers and scholars.

To apply, faculty members should submit an application form. Before submitting an application, faculty members must meet with their liaison librarian to discuss the learning goals for the course and ways to integrate information literacy most effectively into the course.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, please consider registering for and attending one of the following information sessions offered jointly by the Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning:

Faculty recipients of the 2016-17 awards will discuss their experience and outcomes.

Applications are due by April 3, 2017.  Faculty grant recipients will receive a $2,000 honorarium, and a librarian will be assigned to work with them during the grant period, and would be available to teach at least one class or section whenever the course is offered. The honorarium will be split into two equal payments: one payment in May 2017 and one payment mid way through the semester in which the course is being taught. If two faculty members apply for a grant for a course that they are co-teaching, the faculty members will each receive half of the payments.

Questions may be addressed to Laura Hibbler at or 781-736-4656.


Grant applications will be reviewed by a group of faculty members and librarians. The timing of the review process will allow most of the work funded by the grant to be done over the summer.

Applicants will be notified in early May about whether they have been selected.


Full- and part-time faculty members from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Librarians hope to work with a variety of different types of courses requiring a variety of different types of information literacy, including:

  • introductory or large lecture courses
  • undergraduate or graduate courses that introduce research methods
  • seminars and senior capstone courses where students conduct extensive research
  • courses that incorporate exploration of the University’s Archives & Special Collections into a research-based project
  • courses that engage students with research involving objects from the Library’s collections, such as first edition books, LPs, or artwork
  • courses that require the reflective use of specialized information tools or technologies

In order to be eligible for a grant, the faculty member’s course should:

  1. include assignments where students are required to select, critically evaluate, and apply relevant sources as evidence in their research.
  2. include in-class time designated for instruction by or collaboration with a librarian
  3. take place during the 2017-2018 academic year


Each instructor who receives a grant in this program is expected to:
  • communicate with his or her librarian over the summer so that staff can plan and prepare for the class in advance of the academic year. While the amount of time each librarian spends working on the class may vary at different points of summer and at different points during the semester, librarians will be able to spend approximately 3-5 hours a week preparing for the class over the summer and approximately 2 hours per week during the semester.
  • participate in a forum organized by the Center for Teaching and Learning where faculty members and librarians discuss their experiences incorporating information literacy into their teaching.
  • provide a brief overview and highlights of their course for a Library webpage about the grant program. 
  • This year's recipients may also be asked to participate in future year's reviews of applications.


For ideas about how information literacy can be incorporated into classes from a wide range of disciplines, please see the descriptions of course integrations from previous Information Literacy Grant recipients.

Additional examples of information literacy topics and assignments:

  • The research process
    • Sample assignment: While working on a research project, students use a journal to reflect on their process, describing the resources they’ve used, strategies they have tried, and how their research question may have evolved as their understanding of the subject has increased.[1]

    • Sample assignment: Students interview scholars from a specific academic discipline or professionals working in the field to learn about how these individuals gather information and conduct work-related research.[2]

  • Ethical, legal, social, and economic issues involved in creating and sharing information and scholarship

    • Sample assignment from an art class at Lafayette College: Students discuss the use of images, fair use, and copyright before sharing images on a blog where they present research findings.[3]

    • Sample assignment from an economics class at Lafayette College: “Students examine the "chain of statistical information": Who produced the data? Is it free or fee based? Why? How has it been aggregated or modified before being incorporated by the source? What more detailed or accurate data is available? What claims have been made using this data? Are they justified? What are the limitations of the study? What access to the data users have to this information?”[4]

  • Scholarship as conversation
    • Sample assignment: Students select a seminal source within an academic discipline. After reading works cited by the author of the seminal source and works that have cited the seminal source since its publication, the students write about the seminal source’s place within the academic discipline and about the perspectives of different scholars.[5]

    • Sample assignment from an engineering class at Lafayette: While working on their final research paper, each student created an annotated bibliography. For each annotation, students were asked “to include a critical assessment of the authors' arguments in relation to others on the same topic and how the authors weave prior research into their own arguments.”[6]

  • Evaluating different types of information sources.
    • Sample assignment: Students locate different types of sources, such as a scholarly journal article and a news article, that each address the same topic. Students discuss:

      • the authority and reliability of each type of source.
      • the intended audience for each type of source.
      • the purpose for each type of source.
      • situations when each type of source might be appropriate to use.[7]
    • Sample assignment from Cornell University’s Researching Hip-Hop class: The class included sessions in the music library and the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections where students worked with primary source materials such as photographs, LPs, and fliers. Students shared their research findings at a history fair.[8]

The ideas outlined in this framework are inspired by and based on similar initiatives at Lafayette College, Cornell University, UC Berkeley, and Trinity University.

Many of the ideas outlined this section are based on the Grant Requirements for Lafayette’s Information Literacy Grant program. Some of the sample assignments are based on examples provided on pages 14-17 of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) June 17, 2014 draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.
[1] June 17, 2014 draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, ACRL, 15.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Information Literacy Grant Recipients, Lafayette College Library.
[4] Ibid.
[5] June 17, 2014 draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, ACRL, 14.
[6] Information Literacy Grant Recipients, Lafayette College Library.
[7] June 17, 2014 draft of the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, ACRL, 15-16.
[8] Gwen Glazer, “Hip-hop history: Undergrads take on archival research,” Cornell Chronicle, May 6, 2009.