Information Literacy Grants for Faculty

After the success of the first three years of Information Literacy Grants, Brandeis University Library will be offering Information Literacy grants to faculty for the 2018-2019 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.

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 2018 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.

Information about grants for the 2018-19 academic year will be posted shortly.

Questions may be addressed to Laura Hibbler at lhibbler@brandeis.edu or 781-736-4656.

REVIEW PROCESS:

Grant applications will be reviewed by a group of faculty members, librarians, and other staff members. 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.

TYPES OF COURSES ELIGIBLE FOR AN INFORMATION LITERACY GRANT

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 2018-2019 academic year

BUILDING THE PROGRAM

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.

EXAMPLES OF INFORMATION LITERACY INTEGRATION

Please select the links below to read about Information Literacy grant courses from 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.

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2016-2017

ENG 238a Capitalism and the American Novel

Faculty: Caren Irr

Librarians: Zoe Weinstein & Lisa Zeidenberg

"Thanks to this grant, I was prompted to organize a new course that brought disciplinary differences in the treatment of "information" to the fore.  My students gained invaluable experience locating and analyzing new types of documents, and together we all reflected earlier and more intentionally on our various literacies."
German 30a Intermediate German

Faculty: Kathrin Seidl-Gómez

Librarian: Anne Woodrum

"Having been awarded one of the Library's Information Literacy Grants allowed me to introduce an experiential learning module to one of our key German language courses. Supported by the expertise of Special Collections Librarian Anne Woodrum, my students can now explore under professional guidance Brandeis' outstanding collection of incunabula, rare books and handwritten documents in German and immerse themselves in archival research. Our students excelled at the presentation of their research, both orally and in writing, even though the material was more challenging than most other material encountered throughout the course. The reason was simple: We had instigated their passion by allowing our students to work with primary sources that were absolutely novel and captivating for them. Many reported in their end-of-semester portfolio that this was the one activity they found most challenging and most rewarding. Studying handwritten letters from Max Planck and Albert Einstein or the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493 and being able to share their findings in a foreign language filled them with pride and spurred students on to surpass themselves. A true success story!

"I am truly grateful for the unique opportunity the Library Information Literacy Grant has brought to our students in the German language program and I thank Anne Woodrum and the Department of University Archives & Special Collections for their support."
IGS 10a Introduction to International and Global Studies

Faculty: Kerry Chase

Librarian: Aimee Slater

"Working with Aimee Slater on my information literacy project greatly enhanced my ability to prepare students in IGS 10A to write independent term papers. IGS 10A enrolls many first-year students and I attempt to use the term paper assignment as an opportunity for students to learn how to locate, assess, and properly cite sources for college-level writing. In the class, students are asked to choose a treaty or other international agreement and to answer a set of structured questions about the purpose, design, and effectiveness of the agreement. Their work unfolds in steps over several weeks during the term as they choose an agreement, locate an original copy of its text, focus analytical attention on specific elements of the agreement, select good scholarly sources related to the agreement, and then proceed to thesis, argument, evidence, and write up, including thoroughly documenting all sources. Aimee’s assistance in the course was invaluable in two important ways. First, Aimee worked with me to create a Library Guide for the class on treaties and international agreements which functioned as a gateway into students’ independent work on the assignment. In the Library Guide they could find examples of treaties and international agreements that they might choose to study and links pointing them to places where they could find copies of their original text, and they could also access search engines to locate good secondary sources. Second, Aimee and I used a session of the class for a library instruction session to preview the Library Guide and demonstrate searches and search strategies for students. In demonstrating strategies for locating scholarly sources and for evaluating their usefulness, and providing guidelines and best practices for citation management, including a brief introduction to citation software, we sought to provide students a hands-on feel for how to tackle the research and citation process. As students researched and wrote their papers, they could refer back to Aimee’s handout “How to Find, Assess and Cite Sources,” and Aimee is always terrific about meeting students to work with her one-on-one. Aimee’s assistance and support enabled me to integrate important aspects of information literacy into the course in the hope that this would help students add to their toolkit of transferable skills to apply in writing assignments throughout college and beyond."

POL 119a Red States, Blue States: Understanding Contemporary American Voters and Parties

Faculty: Lucy Goodhart

Librarian: Aimee Slater

"I loved working with the Academic Outreach Librarian for the Social Sciences, Aimee Slater, on a section of my course that would be about how students first identify and engage with data. One of the useful parts of that, for me, is that I was forced to think about works that would get my students thinking about data is collected so that the, and we, can be more informed users of that data. That gets to vital points about human subjects and confidentiality, but also to issues that will be more relevant for the emerging world of big data -- like whether the data is collected by non-profit, non-partisan institutions or whether by corporations with agendas that include profit-seeking. Thus, on reflection, I will keep that part of the readings in seminars with a data component for years to come.

"Second, Aimee created this amazing web page/portal into the world of data that Brandeis LTS has. That was incredibly useful for a small number of people and, while it would be costly to do that for every class, I believe that she is using that page as a reference tool for Politics students in general. My own goal would be to create an interface that can help students navigate from their frequent departure point -- they care about issue X -- to identifying and using data. In other words, if a student wants to study migrants in the US, how do we enable them to get very quickly towards actual data? And could we do this even online? Finally, is it kosher to just say to students to google "data variables attitudes to migrants US" because this is what I might do myself and I am trying to figure out if I should just say that to students.

"Thirdly, and this is great for me, it's just been great for me to have more of an ongoing relationship with Aimee, and LTS. I refer other students to Aimee and she has also been in contact with me to ask about how political scientists might value and use particular types of data. It's been really helpful. Given my own desire to incorporate more empirical analysis into teaching, it's been great to have that connection."

Library course guide


2015-2016

LGLS 138b Science on Trial

Faculty: Daniel Breen

Librarian: Aimee Slater

"The information literacy grant for my Science on Trial class proved to be invaluable.  With Aimee Slater's help, I used it to develop a series of five mock trial scenarios, each of deep contemporary interest, dividing the class into ten teams.  Each of the teams had to research a complex issue involving scientific evidence, and find ways to explain that evidence to the class as a whole during the trials themselves.  The feedback from the students regarding preparing for and then participating in these exercises was overwhelmingly positive.  Many of them described it as the highlight of their semester, because they were able to get a sense of how to find information, assess its relevance and then distill it into the kind of short, precise arguments that must be made at real trials.  In other words, they got the chance to bring science into legal settings--which is what the whole class is about.  Without the information literacy grant, I would not have developed the mock trial exercises, and the class would have been greatly diminished."

SOC 203b Field Methods
Faculty: Wendy Cadge


Librarian: Gina Bastone

"This was a great opportunity to collaborate with Gina Bastone and work collaboratively on a product we could jointly use to teach literature reviews. I learned a lot and the guide we created made my teaching better."

Guide created for Literature Reviews in Sociology

HIST 174b History Lab: Research and Writing in American History
Faculty: Winston Bowman

Librarian: Anne Woodrum

"The Information Literacy Grant has enabled me to design and teach a new course I might not have been able to offer otherwise. I have received logistical, financial and substantive support from the Library and Technology staff that has facilitated everything from trips to the archives to the integration of digital techniques and resources into the classroom in a way I've never used them before. This is a terrific opportunity for any faculty members looking to take greater advantage of the services the library can offer or to use technological innovations in their teaching."

BIOL 23a Ecology and BIOL 17a: Conservation Biology
Faculty: Colleen Hitchcock

Librarian: Melanie Radik

"The information literacy grant facilitated the development of an online module to complement course projects and work. Working with Melanie Radik, our science librarian, we were able to develop a module that consisted of curated and co-created content that help students understand the role and value of information literacy in Biol23A Ecology and Biol17B Conservation Biology. This blended online/face-to-face model allowed for Melanie and I to facilitate application of the skills together in-class while students prepared for those sessions online.

Both courses used elements of the online materials we developed in different ways. In Biol23A Ecology, students were able to apply the skills a several junctures in the course including in-class group assignments, longer writing pieces and on formal assessments. In Biol17B Conservation Biology, students experienced the module and then applied the skills in an asynchronous discussion where they were asked to also critique the use of those skills by peers. Overall, this was an enriching experience from both the student and instructor perspective as it allowed for a way to improve information literacy skills that complemented coursework and did not take away from or compete with other course learning objectives."

Screenshot showing Information Literacy Grant module in LATTE

HIST/SOC 216a Migration, Displacement, And Dispossession In North American History
Faculty: Abby Cooper and Karen Hansen


Librarians: Laura Hibbler, Alex Willett, Aimee Slater

"We both felt it was incumbent upon us to instruct graduate scholars-in-training responsibly in navigating issues of pressing professional significance in a digital age that have not yet become standard in Ph.D.-level training. We received the aid of LTS in this endeavor. We were in a uniquely ideal position to create a forum for informational literacy in this course because it already created a dialogue between the disciplines of History and Sociology. It further produced a built-in conversation between an established senior faculty member who could speak to changes and adaptations in scholarly practice and a junior faculty member newly minted from a graduate school program productively roiled by the challenges of navigating best practices in the Age of Information. Laura Hibbler was invaluable as a point of first contact, meeting individually with instructors and students alike, directing us to valuable historical resources. Aimee Slater led an intensive, giving us the tools to navigate federal government resources. Alex Willett directed us in geospatial technologies, looking at both tools and scholarly models. Graduate students were especially motivated to be highly involved in the process, as they saw information literacy as central, not peripheral, to the development of their craft."