NELIG Meeting - 3/18/2005


NELIG Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2005

The meeting commenced at 10:00 am in the Mancheski Executive Seminar Room at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT.  Thank you to Janet Valeski and Linda Hawkes and all others from Quinnipiac University who were instrumental in organizing the meeting.

Sandra Rothenberg, Vice-chair of NELIG opened the meeting. Barbara Kenney, Chair of NELIG was unable to attend.  Mary McDonald, NELIG Secretary, was unable to attend; Laura Robinson filled in.  There were a total of 30 people in attendance.

Sandra Rothenberg announced that those who might be interested in volunteering to be a Vice-chair/Chair-elect of NELIG should contact Sandra Rothenberg or Barbara Kenney.

The day’s program focused on assessment.  Kathy Labadorf from the University of Connecticut and Laurie Sabol from Tufts University presented a talk entitled:  “The "S" word: Assessment. Statistics, support, success.  Practical ideas for measuring what matters.”

Further information and links related to their talk may be accessed at:

Kathy and Laurie began with a general discussion of the importance of assessment.  They acknowledged that librarians are often reluctant to get involved with the process of assessment for various reasons, including lack of experience with assessment, lack of knowledge of how to create tools, lack of time and funding, and self-doubt.

Despite this reluctance they urged all librarians to get involved in the “culture of assessment” that exists in higher education.  They encouraged the audience to measure what is important rather than what is easily measured.  Librarians should assess themselves for their techniques, their students for learning outcomes, and their programs for effectiveness as a whole.  

They recommended various programs, people, and articles to review:

Kathy and Laurie proceeded to describe assessment at their institutions.  They also stressed the importance of starting with simple types of assessment and then moving on to more complex types of assessment.

Kathy and Laurie discussed the use and variety of session evaluations at their respective institutions:

Kathy described UConn’s instruction to 84 sections of Freshman English. The instruction involved the use of in-class exercises to help students understand citations, among other things.   UConn used focus groups made up of course TAs in order to assess student outcomes  They also created an online survey for TAs to complete.  They used ColdFusion to create the online survey for TAs.  Seventeen of the 84 TAs responded. 

Kathy had several suggestions for creating effective online surveys:

  • Anecdotal responses are more useful than the radio button type responses. 
  • Make the survey short
  • Don’t ask questions about individual librarians
  • Make the form anonymous

At Tufts there is a focus on peer coaching of instruction librarians.  This has turned out to be highly effective for those who participate.  Laurie distributed various handouts on the instruction programs, online web assessment of instruction, and the peer coaching process at Tufts:

Kathy and Laurie’s talk concluded with a lively discussion of a wide variety of types of assessment that schools around New England are using.  During this time the discussion was opened up to the whole group.  Some of the types of assessment discussed were:

  • Sampling Works Cited pages from student work.
  • Using Project SAILS.  UConn has been involved in this twice.  Freshman English students were used.
  • Using index cards to gather brief comments from students on what were the best parts of the day’s instruction.
  • Videotaping instruction sessions
  • Pre-testing through Blackboard (and other course tool software)

The general meeting was concluded at noon.

A meeting of the Annual Program planning committee was held between noon and 1:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Laura Robinson, May 12, 2005.


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