Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center
University Library '' Information Competence in the Freshmen Interest Group '' Abstract

Information Competence in the Freshmen Interest Group


Description | Abstract | Project Activities & Calendar | Related Course Syllabi | Learning Outcomes |Training Materials | Assessment | Budget | Qualifications

The Educational Mentoring Team Program of Sonoma State University is a unique and ambitious advising and college orientation program open to all incoming first-time freshmen. Embracing several theoretical constructs, the program incorporates the Freshman Seminar (University 102), taught by a team of instructors consisting of a faculty member, a student services professional, and a peer mentor; approximately 70% of all freshman choose to enroll in the Seminar as a part of their first-year experience. The Seminar is built upon a commitment to student success in the university community; it is designed to create a learning community and a foundation of skills and knowledge that will help students develop the habits of thinking and learning necessary in a complex, technologically sophisticated, and multicultural world. Attaining a level-appropriate degree of information competence among all freshmen is essential to the success of the program, and, indeed, to the success of our students.

Given that the program reaches such a large percentage of the freshman population, the Freshman Seminar Curriculum Committee believes that University 102 is an ideal place to lay the groundwork for information competence by incorporating these skills as an essential learning outcome of the freshman experience at Sonoma State.

Among the twenty-five to thirty sections of Freshman Seminar are several specialized "themed" sections focusing on a specific discipline or student interest. A subset of these specialized sections have been incorporated into the recently formed Freshman Interest Group (FIG) Program, which offers new freshmen the opportunity to participate in a unique living-learning community designed to create a personalized and interactive in-class and out-of-class experience. Each FIG is united around a block of one to three core classes in which all students enroll together. These classes relate to the theme of the FIG and fulfill requirements of the majors within the discipline. The classes are integrated into the programs and activities offered in the residential community. Stronger faculty/student interaction and easily accessible study groups are two obvious benefits of the program. In 2001/2002, the Freshman Seminar will become the cornerstone class of the FIG program; the Seminar will become, among other things, the nexus for appropriate training in a variety of study and research skills related to the theme of the FIG. In this grant, we are proposing a program of collaboration among librarians and Freshman Interest Group instructors which will eventually be used as a model for the curriculum of all sections of University 102. We plan to augment the existing Freshman Seminar library introduction component by revising the program curriculum's student outcomes to include information competence. The Director of the FIG Program, Cyndie Morozumi, has given her full support to this grant proposal.

In sum, our goals in this program are the following: to increase information competence among a select group of faculty (those teaching the FIG Seminars) and peer advisors; to increase collaboration between the library and those same faculty, resulting in course-specific student project descriptions which further the standards of information competence among freshmen; to increase librarian contact with new freshman in the form of targeted interventions on that project; to give students a forum in which to display their newly acquired skills in a meaningful context; to revise the program curriculum's student outcomes to include information competence.

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