Information Literacy Grant Recipients


Anne Douds, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, worked closely with a reference librarian to improve the research and writing skills of her students in the course, “Introduction to Public Policy,” taught in the Spring 2019 semester. Anne reports that “I revised the course to add three modules on information literacy and one-on-one sessions with Kevin Moore and/or another librarian and/or me to train students on how to define issues, distinguish between fact and opinion, assess quality of resources, and integrate research into their analysis.”

Sahana Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Psychology, wished to collaborate more formally with the library to increase students’ achievement of some of the course learning outcomes in the course, “Cultural Psychology.” Based on previous iterations of the course, Sahana identified persistent weaknesses in the ability of students to find appropriate journal articles and make connections among them.

William O’Hara, Assistant Professor in the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, planned to substantially revise the course “Form and Analysis” to make it an introduction to scholarly research, writing, and communication in music theory.


Shannon Egan, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art and Art History and Director of the Schmucker Art Gallery 

Prof. Egan worked with Research & Instruction Librarian Kerri Odess-Harnish. The grant was designed to improve students’ research abilities and presentation skills in the course, 
Art and Public Policy (ARTH 267/PP 322).

Nathifa Greene, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Prof. Greene worked with Research & Instruction Librarian Clint Baugess. The grant was designed to improve students’ research and critical thinking skills in the course, Philosophy of Peace and Nonviolence (PHIL 219).


Zakiya Whatley, Gondwe Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor, Biology

Prof. Whatley worked closely with Research and Instruction Librarian Meggan Smith to incorporate activities that improved students’ research skills in the course, “Microbiology.”

Chipo Dendere, Gondwe Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor, Africana Studies

Prof. Dendere used the grant to develop a staged approach for her students working on research papers in the course, “Introduction to Contemporary African Politics.”


Dina Lowy, Associate Professor of History

Dina received a $1,000 grant to revise History 325: Tokugawa Japan to include a more thoughtful and cohesive research plan. Typically 300-level history courses require a 15-page paper to prepare students for their more extensive senior thesis. The 300-level courses represent a critical juncture where students should be able to synthesize the research skills they have learned and do more advanced work. She met with Research and Instruction Librarian, Clint Baugess to map out this research plan. In the revised course, students first decided upon a research topic in consultation with Professor Lowy followed by a library session with Reference Librarian Baugess on how to conduct an effective search for sources. Students were grouped topically and in each research group they conducted peer reviews and organized a group presentation based on their findings. Professor Lowy used the Library’s bibliography rubric to give group members feedback and to evaluate students’ primary source analysis.

Stefanie Sobelle, Assistant Professor of English

Stefanie used a $1,000 grant to overhaul English 299: Critical Methods, a rigorous reading/writing intensive seminar that functions both as an introduction to literary theory and as an advanced training course in the research and writing skills essential for an English major. The Critical Methods course transforms students from English language and literature enthusiasts into actual scholars, and Professor Sobelle had two primary goals in revising this course. She wanted to cultivate students’ intellectual curiosity, with the intended outcome of strong and self-motivated research abilities. She also wanted to strengthen students’ research dexterity in order to open up the opportunities implied in her first goal. Furthermore, by the end of the course she wanted students to be able to read between a range of analogue and digital sources, understand the contexts out of which they were produced, evaluate their arguments and their reliability, and converse productively with them. Finally, she also wanted students to be able to evaluate the forms of sources they find, know when and where they might dig deeper, and interpret and synthesize the information they find as they develop their own arguments.


Julia Hendon, Professor of Anthropology

Julie received an Information Literacy grant from the JCCTL to improve student research skills in the course, Precolumbian Civilizations of South America which she taught in the Spring 2014 semester. This course is cross-listed with Anthropology and Latin American Studies. It is an elective for the anthropology major and minor, an elective for the Latin American Studies minor and the Latin American Studies-Spanish major. It is also a Conceptualizing Diversity and Global Understanding course.

The course has always featured a research project that requires students to study a topic using scholarly books and articles beyond what were assigned in class. This project has always been challenging for me. Students come to the course from several paths as it has multiple possible prerequisites (either Anth 103, Anth 105, LAS 140 or LAS 147). Students’ backgrounds and motivations vary. Some are anthropology majors or minors. Others are LAS minors, LAS-Spanish majors or Spanish majors. Some have taken a prerequisite at some point in their career and need to satisfy one of the requirements. Others are back from study abroad in Latin America. Some have a lot of experience in library research, others have almost none. Julie always used a staged process approach to the project. In an effort to improve the ability of students’  research skill, she worked with Assistant Dean and Director of Scholarly Communications, Janelle Wertzberger and Research Librarian, Jess Howard. During the Spring 2014 semester, the class met five times with Julie and the librarians in sessions devoted to finding and assessing different kinds of information, including publications and images. Students used RefWorks to compile and order their information. The final paper differed from previous years in that it was a kind of review article in which each student discussed the kinds of research questions prevalent in their particular area. Julie believes that overall the end results were better. There was certainly less variation in the quality of the research – for the better – although significant variation still existed in students’ writing and analytical skills. Some students needed this kind of training less than others, making for some unevenness in student reactions but all benefited from a more detailed discussion of different kinds of sources and how to use them.


Megan Adamson Sijapati, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Co-Director, Globalization Studies

Megan redesigned her advanced level Religious Studies seminar, Islam in South Asia, to include a major research paper project developed over the course of the semester.  The goal of this project was to develop students’ library literacy, research skills, and research paper writing skills in and through their exploration of a focused topic pertaining to South Asian Islam.  Throughout the semester she conducted librarian-assisted workshop sessions with Mallory Jallas, Research and Instruction Librarian, to work with students in developing strategies for the careful development of a working research question and the production of original research.  This collaboration gave students an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to navigate primary and secondary source materials, including audio-visual resources, and to develop advanced research skills.  She also worked closely with Jeremy Garskof, Acquisitions Librarian, to help to build South Asia related resources for the library's Middle East and Islamic Studies collection for use in this course and beyond.


Amy Dailey, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences

Amy redesigned and upper-level elective course to help students develop the skills to critically examine population-level health problems.  She included four interactive classroom sessions at Musselman Library with Health Sciences Reference and Instruction Librarians Kayla Lenkner and Meggan Smith.  Read more.

  • Making IL Relevant: Inspiring Student Engagement through Faculty-Librarian Collaboration (presentation)

Monica Ogra, Associate Professor of Environmental and Globalization Studies

Monica redesigned the Globalization Studies Capstone course which she taught in Spring 2012.  The primary objective of this course was the successful completion of a semester-long independent study project that integrates core elements of each student’s unique, self-designed major, in particular as related to the student’s self-designed “thematic” track.  Throughout the semester she conducted librarian-assisted workshops with Janelle Wertzberger, Assistant Dean and Director of Scholarly Communications and Ronalee Ciocco, Director of User Services.  These sessions complemented and reinforced existing curricular exercises in scholarly research design.