Highlights from ACRL Immersion

horizontal photo of seven people standing in front of full conference room next to screen

During the four-day ACRL Immersion teaching and learning program, Penn State librarians answered the question, “You came. You experienced. What’s next?”

 Don’t shush me, bro.

The Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Immersion program came to Penn State May 17-20 at the Nittany Lion Inn. More than 50 librarians from across the Commonwealth signed up to participate in this four-day intensive workshop on teaching and learning practices, and how to apply them to the research skills, course sessions, and learning labs that our librarians provide at every campus. Public dialogue can be found on Twitter with the hashtag #immersionPSU.

The three Immersion faculty — Lisa Hinchliffe, Karen Nicholson, and Craig Gibson — facilitated our work in such a way to allow for us to focus on learning theories and various learning styles, as well as learning design and assessment. We were expected to read articles and be familiar with some of these ideas before we arrived, and were given a three-ring binder with the workshop slides and notes when we checked in.

Over the next four days, we hashed out ideas at large tables in groups, which allowed for us to really get a feel for many of the ways one can create a learning session, as a refresher for what we have already been doing in our teaching. It was also fun — we got to use playdough to help visualize our learning design processes and crayons for expressing our inner teachers, with plenty of Post-It notes covering my own Immersion notebook. I made a little pyramid with purple and pink playdough, and my drawing of my “inner teacher” is someone who has a sword and shield (inspired by my current Game of Thrones obsession).

It was a great event with lots of new Penn State librarians and plenty of time for catching up with our colleagues at other campuses. The breadth and depth of experience, knowledge, skills, and support that our colleagues possess across the Commonwealth becomes extremely evident an event like Immersion. A few of us have taught for more than 30 years!

By the end of Immersion on Friday, we were asked to come up with our six-word novel to summarize our experience. “Where’s the map? There it is!” Other participants tweeted theirs:

We would again like to thank Joe Salem for his support of this event, as well as the work of the Planning Committee — Anne Behler, Nancy Dewald, Russ Hall, Glenn Masuchika, Rebecca Miller, Rebecca Peterson, and Beth Theobald.

– submitted by Erin Burns, reference and instruction librarian, Penn State Shenango