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Faculty Institutes: Partnering With Faculty, Ensuring Student Success

By rpietrucha on December 1, 2015 8:00 AM | Permalink

Amanda Melilli, head of the Curriculum Materials Library (pictured left, in the center), and Susie Skarl, urban studies librarian (pictured right, on the left), partnered with classroom faculty this summer to develop culminating experience assignments for UNLV seniors.

As part of its efforts to increase graduation rates, UNLV continues to reform its educational strategies. Faculty are increasingly intentional and transparent about embedding shared learning outcomes such as critical thinking, inquiry, and lifelong learning for all undergraduate students. The result: a workforce prepared to tackle the business challenges today’s employers face.

Such a dramatic shift requires faculty to rethink their pedagogical approaches and curricula. Thanks to the Faculty Institutes offered by the University Libraries, UNLV faculty have an important partner to assist them in their efforts.

“Since the beginning of general education reform at UNLV in 2010, the University Libraries has been intensely engaged in and integrated into the reform,” said Dean Patricia Iannuzzi. “We have created transformational experiences that partner library faculty with classroom faculty in the design of active learning experiences that put library collections, information literacy, and critical thinking at the center of the student experience.”

Between 12-25 classroom faculty join library faculty each institute for two days of collaboration on course design, learning outcomes, and assessment. Faculty Institutes currently mirror the path undergraduates take toward earning their degrees so students obtain the skills they need every step of the way:

  • The First-Year Seminar Faculty Institute focuses on the introduction of the university learning outcomes.
  • The Second-Year Seminar Faculty Institute focuses on their reinforcement.
  • The Capstone Faculty Institute focuses on the application of those skills and abilities in the disciplines students have chosen to major in.
  • The new Culminating Experience Faculty Institute, held for the first time this summer, focuses on tailoring assignments and experiences in strategic ways that allow students to demonstrate what they can do.

Library faculty continue the conversation with classroom faculty after each institute. After touching base in the fall to gauge students’ progression, they follow up in the spring to obtain faculty members’ updated syllabi and reflection statements as well as student work samples and final achievement information.

Six Faculty Institutes—several funded by the Libraries’ Advisory Board—have been completed thus far. More than 100 UNLV faculty members have participated and have in turn reached thousands of students. Whether through one-on-one interactions with library faculty, group interactions with classroom faculty who have participated in an institute, or a combination of both, UNLV students obtain the information literacy skills they need for academic and career success.

To learn more about Faculty Institutes, visit


Here is what UNLV’s classroom faculty have to say about their experience in a University Libraries’ Faculty Institute:

“(The Faculty Institute) really informed me as to the kind of resources (library faculty) provide that I wasn’t really aware of or making use of. (I now) recognize their eagerness and willingness to partner with us and collaborate on course design, resources, and activities ... that enhance our students’ experience (and) also our professional lives.” —Oscar Sida, College of Education

““(The Faculty Institute) gave me tools that I didn’t have before the institute, especially with regard to the newer learning objectives, how to formulate learning outcomes, (and how to) reverse-engineer a class. It certainly was a great opportunity for me to gain skill sets I didn’t have (and) to reinforce concepts that I’d been working on. (It) gave me things that I can take back to the school and share with the other faculty.” —Kevin Kemner, Architecture

“The librarians are a great resource that extend beyond stacks and books. They provide resources for course design, resources on rubric creation, (and) rubrics on transparency in teaching projects. ... These types of institutes are perfect ways to showcase their talents, resources, and the ways they can help faculty facilitate a lot of the course design that ... can be a time-consuming task.” —Christie Batson, Sociology