University Libraries Cosponsor Information Literacy Learning Community

In the current social and political climate, the need for information literacy is increasingly evident, as we have seen misinformation campaigns about COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, among other issues.

With the goal of integrating information-literacy skill development into courses at Washington University, a second cohort of the Information Literacy Learning Community (ILLC) took place virtually this summer, from August 31 to September 3. Five faculty and librarian pairs took part in the event to prepare for the fall 2020 semester. ILLC is a joint collaboration planned and facilitated by Cassie Power, associate director for faculty and academic engagement at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement; Amanda Albert, instructional specialist in Arts & Sciences; and Kris Helbling and Melissa Vetter, both subject librarians at the University Libraries.

As a result of the ILLC, five courses being taught this fall have information literacy skill development built in intentionally as an essential component of student learning. To accomplish this, during the ILLC, faculty and librarian teams worked together to develop information-literacy learning outcomes, assignments, instruction materials, and learning assessments.

During the fall semester, the librarians will be embedded in the courses and co-teach with the faculty members with the goal of helping students better learn how to discern, engage with, and contribute to information online, be it in the form of an Instagram post or an academic journal article. Fall participants include:

Democracy and Inequality in an Age of Globalization (Political Science, A&S): Professor Guillermo Rosas; Librarian: Dorris Scott

Critical and Researched Writing (University College): Matthew DeVoll, Assistant Dean, College of Arts & Sciences and Instructor, English Composition; Librarian: Kristine Helbling

Writing I: Writing Identity (College Writing, A&S): Tarrell R. Campbell, Lecturer, College Writing Program; Librarian: Karen Olson

History of World Cinema (Film and Media Studies, A&S): Assistant Professor Diane Lewis; Librarian: Andy Ulrich

Architectural History (Architecture, Sam Fox School): Assistant Professor Shantel Blakely; Librarian: Jenny Akins

Due to the tremendous number of faculty applicants for this year’s cohort, we are excited to offer an additional learning community this fall to prepare five more faculty and librarian pairs for the upcoming spring semester. Spring participants will include:

Fake News: Propaganda, Power, and Pandemics (American Culture Studies, A&S): Dave Walsh, Lecturer; Librarian: Michael Schaefer

Political Psychology (Political Science, A&S): Assistant Professor Taylor Carlson; Librarian: Cheryl Holland

Developmental Psychology (Psychology, A&S): Education Specialist Shaina Rowell; Librarian: Melissa Vetter

Women and Social Movements (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Prison Education Project, and A&S): Trevor Sangrey, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Dean; Librarian: AJ Robinson

Semiotics Studio: Designing Signs and Symbols (Art, Sam Fox School): Associate Professor Aggie Toppins; Librarian: Jenny Akins

This initiative is generously supported by the Leslie Scallet Lieberman and Maury Lieberman Information Literacy Education Fund, the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, and the University Libraries. For more information, contact Cassie Power.


About the author

Melissa Vetter is the Biology, Psychological & Brain Sciences, and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) librarian at Olin Library, part of the University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis.