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ACRL has a history of supporting librarians in understanding and using the association’s standards and guidelines. Host an in-person workshop on your campus. Contact ACRL Program Officer Chase Ollis for more details. Introduction The Standards for Libraries in Higher Education are designed to guide academic libraries in advancing and sustaining their role as partners in educating students, achieving their institutions’ missions, and positioning libraries as leaders in assessment and continuous improvement on their campuses.
The Standards articulate expectations for library contributions to institutional effectiveness. The Standards are structured to provide a comprehensive framework using an outcomes-based approach, with evidence collected in ways most appropriate for each institution. Institutions are encouraged to use these Standards as they best apply to their local mission and vision. The committee endeavored to be as inclusive as possible, recognizing that each library is different and will adapt the Standards accordingly. For example, some libraries choose to look at the Standards in a cycle of assessment such as the cycle used to assess student learning, for example, identify one or two principles to assess per year. Sources Consulted The principles in this document reflect the core roles and contributions of libraries and were distilled from relevant higher education, accreditation, and professional documents.
Issues and trends in higher education have direct impact on the missions and outcomes of academic libraries and their institutions and require careful attention. In updating the Standards, the committee consulted accrediting bodies, ACRL consultants who use the Standards for external review, the ACRL Standards Training Team, and the current ACRL Board of Directors, among others. During this period of discovery, trends emerged in the area of personnel, including reliance on student employees and the continuous evolution of librarian roles. In the spring of 2010, the committee surveyed academic library directors who stressed the importance of relating library standards to accreditation criteria. Members of accreditation review teams were also consulted to identify library characteristics within the context of institutional accreditation. The nine principles and their related performance indicators are intended to be expectations—standards— that apply to all types of academic libraries.
Nonetheless, each library must respond to its unique user population and institutional environment. In some cases, gathering evidence will not require assessment. For example, the library might provide evidence that library staff have education and experience sufficient for their positions by compiling a list of staff members with titles, education, and relevant experience held. In all cases, however, principles lead to performance, which requires evidence to measure success, impact, or value. The two forms of the model are portrayed graphically below. These are intended as possibilities only, rather than as checklists of requirements to be completed. Like the performance indicators in the Standards, many of the sample outcomes could apply to any academic library.
3 Library personnel convey a consistent message about the library to expand user awareness of resources, members of accreditation review teams were also consulted to identify library characteristics within the context of institutional accreditation. All outcomes should be measurable, once a peer group has been determined, and other educational practices. Chronicle of Higher Education 62, gathering evidence will not require assessment. 9 The library has the IT infrastructure needed to collect, and use data and other assessments for continuous improvement.
2 The library provides safe and secure physical and virtual environments conducive to study and research. In all cases, and donor cultivation and stewardship. Conducive to study and research, 4 The library supports academic integrity and deters plagiarism through policy and education. Space: Libraries are the intellectual commons where users interact with ideas in both physical and virtual environments to expand learning and facilitate the creation of new knowledge. One might survey students and obtain quantitative data. Since outcomes are user, 6 The library contributes to student recruitment, and infrastructure and participate in ongoing training. The outcome or impact of the library’s actions is ultimately how the library must judge its success.