Winners of Inaugural FYE Innovation Awards Demonstrate Novel Approaches to Collaboration and Assessment

Recognizing that effective First Year Experience (FYE) programs can impact everything from retention rates to overall student success, Credo has partnered with Case Western Reserve University to annually honor a librarian and library who are innovating in the field.

Laura Kohl, Associate Director of Library Services at Bryant University, and the Waidner-Spahr Library at Dickinson College are the recipients of the inaugural FYE Innovation Awards. The awards include a $1,500 cash prize and a commemorative plaque and will be presented at the 2018 Personal Librarian & FYE Library Conference in Cleveland, OH from March 21-22.

Agents of Change: Librarians Innovating in the FYE Space, a webinar featuring Kohl, Christine Bombaro from the Waidner-Spahr Library, and contest judge Raymond Pun is scheduled for Friday, February 16th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST. The hour will feature presentations by the winners, and opportunities for Q&A about how they accomplished their programs, how they brought diverse stakeholders on board with their vision, and how other libraries can replicate their success.

The judges were effusive in their praise of all nominations, making the selection of one library and one librarian particularly difficult. Submissions highlighted innovative uses of technology, new pedagogical approaches, novel activities, creative partnerships across campuses, and more. With institutions ranging from small community colleges to larger state universities, the breadth of the libraries represented offers an interesting look at the scope of library participation in FYE initiatives nationwide.

"Laura Kohl's leadership can be seen through a set of solutions that target so many challenges in one effort: information literacy, the transition to college, student stresses, and so much more,” said judge Brian C. Gray, Team Leader, Research Services, at Case Western Reserve University.

Kohl, Associate Director of Library Services at Bryant University, helped design and implement her institution’s First-Year Gateway Program, a 13-credit program that utilizes learning outcomes assessment data in a curriculum to cultivate critical thinking and professional skills. Kohl developed the program’s EPortfolio, used for student reflection and assessment, and then supported faculty and students during the implementation process and beyond. 

The Waidner-Spahr Library was chosen for their strong collaborative efforts, established assessment practices, and proven record at improving learning outcomes. The library’s integration of information literacy (IL) into the campus’ First Year Seminar (FYS) Program resulted in 89% of participating students surveyed reporting that they used the IL skills learned during their FYS in other courses.

"We are very impressed by the information literacy rubric for the FYE,” said Fresno State first year student success librarian Raymond Pun. “This can serve as a great reference for others developing their IL standards supporting first year students."

Marian Traynor, Library User Services Manager at Sheridan College, added, “Not only is information literacy instruction a part of Dickinson’s First Year Seminar, but librarians also work to create customized and scaffolded instruction for specific courses in a variety of formats (online tutorials, in-class workshops and student consultations) leading to greater engagement and improved learning outcomes.”

An increasing number of institutions of higher education are looking for ways to improve outcomes for new students, and Credo believes libraries will play a pivotal role in shaping these programs. The FYE Innovation Awards is part of Credo’s commitment to recognizing library leaders and helping to share the ideas and practices that best support student success. 

Register for the Agents of Change webinar here, and learn more about the Personal Librarian and First Year Experience Library Conference here.