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Library Toolbox for Faculty and Staff

What is Information Literacy?

  • There is no one standard definition of information literacy. However, here are two that may be most relevant to teaching and learning at Empire State University:
    • From the University's Learning Goals Policy: "Critically access, evaluate, understand, create and share information using a range of collaborative technologies to advance learning, as well as personal and professional development."
    • From the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: "the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning."
  • The SUNY General Education Framework (newly effective Fall 2023) sets information literacy as one of two core competencies that "All undergraduate degree-seeking students must demonstrate." This translates into these student learning outcomes: 
    • locate information effectively using tools appropriate to their need and discipline;
    • evaluate information with an awareness of authority, validity, and bias;
    • and demonstrate an understanding of the ethical dimensions of information use, creation, and dissemination.


How does this relate to my teaching and mentoring?

Information literacy (alongside it's fellow core competency, critical thinking and reasoning) needs to be infused throughout the curricula of each program. This means it is not the responsibility of any one course or instructor to teach this competency, but the responsibility of all within each department to help in that effort. Despite some great steps forward in curricular design, mapping, and assessment at the program level at the university, however, this can sometimes mean student information literacy skills development is not embedded as much as it could be at the course design level. As a result, some students may slip through the cracks of this required competency (resulting in anything from poorly researched and cited papers, dropping out, or being unprepared for the needs of the workplace if they graduate).

But good news! The library can help you (for all questions or ideas: email in the struggle to improve the information literacy and metacognitive development of your students (and potentially help in academic achievement, retention, and graduation levels) in a variety of ways, depending on your needs:

  1. Provide live library instruction opportunities or it's equivalents for your students.
  2. Help scaffold research assignments with embedded tutorials, videos and other help materials.
  3. Collaborate to design assignments that integrate information literacy in meaningful ways.
  4. Collaborate to help your department or program assess information literacy at the curriculum level.


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