Hey Academic Librarians! What training, if any, do you offer to academic staff?

A staff development programme, focused around Quality and Academic Standards, is being designed at my University. It is mainly for academic staff but all staff are welcome to attend. Having recently completed a Post-grad teaching qualification, I am particularly keen to attend courses such as “A Showcase of Flexible Ways to Teach and Support Learning”, “The Role of Students in Quality Assurance”, “Curriculum Design in Higher Education” and Assessment Workshops, among others. I think they will give me the opportunity to apply new skills and knowledge to my professional practice and will help me to understand the work and pressures on my academic colleges better.

Having seen the draft programme of events, it occurred to me that our Libraries and Information Services department did not feature in the design or delivery of the training, nor were we listed among the staff teams who would find the training “particularly appropriate”.

I felt we were missing an opportunity here. The resources we provide and the information skills we work hard to foster are central to providing quality and to improving academic standards. We teach skills that enable students to study effectively and skills which prepare them for their working lives. Employability, whether we like it or not, is now a central strand in higher education agenda. We have a lot to offer and contribute to this strand.

I voiced my observations to my boss, suggesting that our involvement in the programme would also be an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of Library and Information Services to academic staff and other departments….he agreed, as did the programme organizers. Now I have been tasked with coming up with some suitable courses and I have been invited to deliver some of them (when will I learn to keep my mouth shut!)

So far we have suggestions for (These are our very early ideas)

The development of reading lists (with some focus on how to avoid breaches of copyright legislation)

How to promote and use online resources

Library Use and Academic Achievement 

Information Skills and Employability  – My aim with this is to try to encourage academics to embed information skills into their curriculum more and to encourage them to use our skills to help them. I hope to do this by firmly placing these skills into the context of the university’s teaching and learning strategy and overall aims.

Professional discourse regarding teaching and training tends to focus on the service we provide for students  so I am really interested to find out what teaching sessions my peers are delivering at other institutions, to academic staff, which enhance the quality of teaching and learning and academic standards.  I would love to hear your thoughts/ideas/experiences.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. In my previous job role I was involved in delivering a series of sessions for the staff development programme targeted at staff and researchers.

    Popular sessions included keeping up-to-date with your research (focusing on RSS feeds/TOC alerts) and lots of bibliographic management workshops (EndNote at the time, now RefWorks).

    We also organised a suite of shorter sessions on smaller areas and branded them under a toolbox idea. We had one split into 4 x 1hr chunks for a teaching toolbox, and one day split into 4 x 1hr chunks for a research toolbox. People could then choose whether to attend the full toolbox or just one particular session. It also meant we could spread the workload a little and utilise the expertise of more colleagues within the library each providing just one of the sessions on their particular specialism. We had things like research strategies, current awareness, digital literacy, digitising resources, and copyright. I can’t comment on how well they went though I’m afraid as I was involved in planning, but I moved jobs before they were held.

    Reply

  2. Hi
    I don’t do any in my current job but did a lot in a previous one. Like Joeyanne I did RSS, Endnote etc Brighton still do a lot of these I think.
    I also did refreshers on key health databases (The head of school came to that one and then made everyone else come – I did it a lot for about a year!)
    Suzanne Tatham (now at Sussex) and I did a presentation about sessions we did on Bibliometrics for researchers and academic staff in 2010 – the slides are here: http://www.vitae.ac.uk/policy-practice/256421/Bridging-the-skills-gap-Developing-innovative-library-support-for-researchers-PowerPoint-slides.html
    In my experience these sessions were all really beneficial as a) they helped me meet key academics, b) helped advertise what the library had to offer.

    Hope this helps a bit

    Reply

  3. These are important activities for the library to be involved in so I applaud your efforts in developing a programme. I sensed a similar opportunity when Jo and I were working together and we developed them under the banner of a ‘toolbox’ (although as she says she ditched me before we ran them! ;)

    They were promoted to staff as practical sessions that would help them to improve their teaching practice and save time so less about the worthy stuff on embedding skills, although of course they were indirectly about that too. Anything that raises the profile of the way we can support and develop teaching practice is all good.

    They worked well and feedback was really positive. As well as being part of a programme of workshops, we offered them to course teams on request as well so we could do something more bespoke. Academic staff always struggle for time to attend workshops despite often being interested in the content so being able to deliver short sessions in their spaces is always helpful as well as being able to do something online like a webinar. “We can come to you” is a good message. The research toolbox generally had more participants as research students would come to those.

    I’ve changed jobs too so I’ll dig out the programme and send you the descriptions and feedback if you’d like Johanna?

    Reply

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