Breakout Session 2

In Search of Learning Communities:
Librarians and Faculty Partnering for Change

Making the First Time Count:
The Fullerton First Year Collaborative Experience

Suellen Cox
Coordinator for Library Instruction
CSU Fullerton

Elizabeth Housewright
Co-coordinator of the Reference Section
CSU Fullerton

COX AND Housewright said their team had the truly collaborative spirit needed to launch the "Fullerton First Year (FFY)" project. Cox and Housewright were members of the FFY project team whose main goals were to establish a freshman community on a commuter campus and to enhance learning.
The FFY team of Management Science and Information Systems faculty, Computer Science faculty, and librarians designed a course together. The MSIS/CS faculty taught 11 weeks of computer competency and presentation skills, and librarians taught four weeks of electronic library resources and evaluation techniques. Pre- and post-assessment test results indicated that students felt increased confidence with computer and information technology by the end of the course.
Cox felt the FFY collaboration had the right elements to succeed. These included the full support of the library and campus administration; fully operational instruction rooms; a responsive and skilled technical support staff, and creative people who worked well collaboratively. The team learned to communicate clearly and to re-evaluate their goals constantly with respect to student performance. Also, they learned to pay attention to issues raised by the collaboration, including how to grade another instructor's questions on a collaboratively built assignment.
Cox and Housewright said the collaboration was a success in establishing a learning community and in increasing their visibility and opportunities on campus.
The audience asked all the presenters the question often asked of librarian innovators: How can you secure appropriate compensation for yourselves to launch, maintain or grow such projects? Collaboration itself may be part of the answer. Hubble said UCSC librarians learned that collaborating with faculty committed to your project is important for securing future financial support. Cox said the FFY team accomplished more together than they could have working alone on the same goals, indicating some possible workload sharing benefits. If this is true, then collaboration may be an important consideration for innovative librarians embarking on future projects to create learning communities.

Linda Salem
University of Redlands

Annual Conference Highlights