English Department and Library Partner to Explore Information Fluency in the Discipline

This March, a team of DePaul University English department faculty members, Rebecca Cameron, Jennifer Conary and John Shanahan and librarian, Jessica Alverson participated in the  “Information Fluency in the Disciplines” workshop sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges in Louisville, KY.  The workshop included participants from 20 + private academic institutions and focused on incorporating information fluency into the undergraduate curriculum in English and American Language and Literature programs.

During the two-day workshop, the DePaul team attended sessions where librarians and faculty members from other institutions presented their success stories with integrating information fluency into the curriculum.  During structured workshops, the team also spent time developing a preliminary plan for further integrating information fluency into DePaul’s English curriculum.

The draft plan is designed to build on the foundational information fluency instruction that students receive in WRD 104 library instruction. It identifies appropriate core courses required for all English majors and outlines suggested instructional interventions designed to build information fluency skills within the major.  While a face-to-face library instruction session is recommended for one core course, other suggested interventions include having students complete an online tutorial or having librarians work with faculty to design assignments within their courses that address information fluency needs. Each course and intervention is also mapped to the recently updated Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Over the next year, the librarian will continue to meet with team members and the English department to refine the plan and its implementation. Future plans also include investigating ways to address foundational information fluency skills in transfer students who do not take WRD 104 and make up almost half of English majors.

While the library’s strongest instruction presence has been in the WRD 104 program and core courses required for the School for New Learning, the librarians have always worked with students in upper-division and major-specific courses. Moving forward, librarians hope to work with other departments to more clearly articulate plans for integrating information fluency within those disciplines.

If you have questions about the library instruction program or integrating information fluency into your courses, please contact Jessica Alverson at jessica.alverson@depaul.edu or your departmental library liaison.  

Rebecca Cameron is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the English department. Jennifer Conary is  Associate Professor and Director of the Undergraduate Program in the English department, and John Shanahan is the Associate Dean, Director of Liberal Studies and Associate Professor in the English department. Jessica Alverson is the Assistant Coordinator of Instruction for E-learning in the library and liaison to the English and Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse departments.


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