Community college faculty's teaching social networks and their implications for librarians

Inzerilla, Tina Elaine (2012) Community college faculty's teaching social networks and their implications for librarians. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Collaboration between faculty and librarians is an important topic of discussion and research among academic librarians. These partnerships between faculty and librarians are vital for enabling students to become lifelong learners through their information literacy education. This research developed an understanding of academic collaborators by analyzing a community college faculty's teaching social networks. A teaching social network, an original term generated in this study, is comprised of communications that influence faculty when they design and deliver their courses. The communication may be formal (e.g., through scholarly journals and professional development activities) and informal (e.g., through personal communication) through their network elements. Examples of the elements of a teaching social network may be department faculty, administration, librarians, professional development, and students. This research asked 'What is the nature of faculty's teaching social networks and what are the implications for librarians?' This study moves forward the existing research on collaboration, information literacy, and social network analysis. It provides both faculty and librarians with added insight into their existing and potential relationships.

This research was undertaken using mixed methods. Social network analysis was the quantitative data collection methodology and the interview method was the qualitative technique. For the social network analysis data, a survey was sent to full-time faculty at Las Positas College, a community college, in California. The survey gathered the data and described the teaching social networks for faculty with respect to their teaching methods and content taught. Semi-structured interviews were conducted following the survey with a sub-set of survey respondents to understand why specific elements were included in their teaching social networks and to learn of ways for librarians to become an integral part of the teaching social networks.

The majority of the faculty respondents were moderately influenced by the elements of their network except the majority of the potentials were weakly influenced by the elements in their network in their content taught. The elements with the most influence on both teaching methods and content taught were students, department faculty, professional development, and former graduate professors and coursework.

The elements with the least influence on both aspects were public or academic librarians, and social media. The most popular roles for the elements were conversations about teaching, sharing ideas, tips for teaching, insights into teaching, suggestions for ways of teaching, and how to engage students. Librarians' weakly influenced faculty in their teaching methods and their content taught. The motivating factors for collaboration with librarians were that students learned how to research, students' research projects improved, faculty saved time by having librarians provide the instruction to students, and faculty built strong working relationships with librarians. The challenges of collaborating with librarians were inadequate teaching techniques used when librarians taught research orientations and lack of time.

Ways librarians can be more integral in faculty's teaching social networks included: more workshops for faculty, more proactive interaction with faculty, and more one-on-one training sessions for faculty. Some of the recommendations for the librarians from this study were develop a strong rapport with faculty, librarians should build their services in information literacy from the point of view of the faculty instead of from the librarian perspective, use staff development funding to attend conferences and workshops to improve their teaching, develop more training sessions for faculty, increase marketing efforts of the librarian's instructional services, and seek grant opportunities to increase funding for the library. In addition, librarians and faculty should review the definitions of information literacy and move from a skills based interpretation to a learning process.

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ID Code: 62700
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Loertscher, David, Bruce, Christine, & Lupton, Mandy
Keywords: academic faculty, library faculty, librarians, teaching faculty, instructors, teaching social networks, collaboration, cooperation, challenges, motivation, information literacy, community college, academic library, social network analysis, mixed methods, interviews
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Information Systems
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Sep 2013 06:55
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2015 23:07

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