Strategic Plan Charge Update: General Education

By: Victoria Raish

The Libraries’ strategic plan reinforces our focus on programmatic and effective library instruction, which should be both intentional and able to be assessed. This programmatic and
thoughtful approach to instruction through the Libraries emphasizes the importance of strategically integrating information literacy into Penn State’s general education program.

In order to support this work, a strategic action team was charged with developing a “plan to integrate information literacy into the newly revised general education framework” (Teaching and Learning Goal 1, Objective 1). This aligns with the Penn State strategic priority of  transforming education. Our charge was not to develop a completely novel approach to general
education integration, as the library is already heavily involved with many general education courses providing students with a strong background in information literacy. Rather, our group was tasked with two tangible goals:

(1) to identify the courses in which we have integrated information literacy, to describe that
integration, and to describe characteristics of courses that would make them good candidates for library integration in the future; and (2) to create a set of programmatic learning outcomes
that define the scope of our integration into general education courses. The team was also charged with developing an assessment plan for both of these components. Members of the team responsible for accomplishing this strategic action item are Rebecca Miller, Erin Burns, Kristin Green, Stephanie Diaz, and Torrie Raish.

The team’s progress for the first charge includes sending out a survey to see which general education courses we were already partnering with, classifying those integrations, and researching the University’s course catalog to see which other courses could be would be good fits for library integration. This survey helped us identify over 100 unique gen-ed courses where we have already integrated information literacy on some level. This integration ranges from creating a course guide to offering one-shot instruction to embedding to offering information
literacy digital badges. The second part of the first charge involved identifying additional existing and forthcoming general education courses that would be a good fit for library  instruction. The team developed five categories of courses that may be appropriate for information literacy integration: research methods, workplace preparation, analysis of information, critical information consumption, and specialized information literacy connection.

The second charge involved compiling existing learning outcomes created by librarians at Penn State, curating them, and drafting new learning outcomes. We loosely followed an article titled “Be critical, but be flexible” by Andrea Falcone and Lyda McCartin in order to provide a framework for learning outcomes development. These were presented at the January COP conversation in which a Google Doc was shared. The goal of this Google Doc was to present
a draft of possible learning outcomes and seek feedback from colleagues as to how these learning outcomes meet our goals for general education integration. The general education team is now in the process of incorporating feedback and creating a set of more finalized learning outcomes.

Future communication on progress will take place May 9 at the Community of Practice and May 18 for the Instruction Steering Committee with a final report expected at the end of May. If you have any questions on progress and outcomes of the group, please email Rebecca Miller at