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    The CSUSM Information Literacy Program

    Guiding Principles

    The library faculty and staff in the Information Literacy Program (ILP) at California State University, San Marcos work collaboratively with campus partners to create learning environments and experiences that enable students to become student-scholars. ILP members foster students’ habits of mind, help build their knowledge base, and add to their skill sets in order for students to become knowledge creators.We do this in order to cultivate student-scholars.

    Student-scholars are able to navigate an increasingly complex information landscape. They are information creators who seek to contribute to knowledge-sharing among experts in a field. Upon leaving higher education, student-scholars will have an appreciation of and ability to be engaged, contributing members of their communities.

    All library faculty in ILP contribute to cultivating student-scholars in their work with first-year students, students in general education courses, and students within their majors and/or graduate programs. An understanding of these different levels of the intellectual experiences is necessary to identify and create impactful, transformative learning opportunities. In addition, ILP faculty identify, implement, and assess a variety of pedagogical approaches and high impact practices as appropriate to the instructional setting and learning outcomes. In order to do this, the ILP faculty proactively establishes and maintains strong relationships with faculty and administration.

    The library is both physically and symbolically where students go to continue the research process beyond the classroom. It is often their first foray into independent research and where they go to process and contextualize the classroom or in-the-field experience. The library must be a place that facilitates and fosters knowledge creation and helps students navigate through the inherently transformative experience of higher education.

    With this in mind, ILP is guided by the following to achieve the aforementioned aims:

    • Students’ abilities to find and use the research/professional literature cannot develop without an understanding of the scholarly research process, their role in the process, and the influence this process has on the world around the world around them. 
    • As active members of a scholarly community, students are critical evaluators, users, and creators of knowledge. 

    • The academic experience can serve as a model to illustrate how to be an engaged and contributing member of one’s local, regional, and global community.


    Assessment Principles

    Over a series of conversations in Fall 2014, the ILP faculty and staff sought to identify a path to establish an approach to sustainable, programmatic-level assessment. While the ILP is not a credit-bearing program with full-time equivalent students (FTES), the group agreed that there are indeed learning outcomes for students who interact with the ILP. Assessing these common learning outcomes could allow ILP to plan, make decisions, and communicate within and beyond the Library organization about how ILP contributes to student learning at CSUSM. It will allow us to change and/or update our instruction to be as effective as possible.

    The group agreed that assessment efforts in ILP will be iterative, defined in scope, and manageable in size. We commit to assessment efforts that:

    • focus on and flow from clear and important goals, especially those to improve curriculum and pedagogy but also regarding planning, budgeting, and accountability;
    • are supported with appropriate resources, including time, expertise, guidance, financial resources, support and feedback;
    • seek to involve the active participation of appropriate stakeholders in decisions stemming from the results;
    • are communicated widely and transparently.

    These principles were considered by ILP faculty during Fall 2014 and adopted in December 2014. These are based heavily on Suskie’s Principles of Assessment.

    Learning Outcomes

    Drafting learning outcomes that are applicable to all aspects of ILP is especially challenging since the curriculum exists out of the common boundaries of credit-bearing, degree granting programs. However, ILP’s focus on developing the student-scholar as both an information consumer and knowledge producer indicates that the primary focus is not merely the development of research skills or information literacy. Instead, research skills and information literacy are the manifestation of the habits of mind, dispositions, and approaches of a student-scholar. With this in mind, ILP’s learning outcomes are divided into two categories: the development of the student scholar (and beyond the academy, a lifelong learner) and the skills and abilities needed to use and create information.


    Becoming a student scholar/engaged community member

    As a result of the learning experiences from ILP faculty, CSUSM graduates will have the dispositions and habits of mind of engaged members of their regional and global community. Students will:

    • demonstrate engagement in the scholarly process;
    • display characteristics of a student-scholar identity;
    • describe actions of lifelong learners.


    ​Tentative assessment rubric


    Above Standard 

    Meets Standard 

    Approaching Standard 


    Engagement in the scholarly process

    Pursues scholarly inquiry as an engaged actor in the scholarly process

    Participates in the scholarly inquiry process

    Articulates the variations of the scholarly inquiry process

    Describes common steps in scholarly inquiry

    Student-scholar identity

    Values role as participant in knowledge creation as student-scholar

    Participates in knowledge creation as student scholar

    Articulates the characteristics of student-scholar.

    May demonstrate characteristics of knowledge creator (e.g. provides a conclusion different from other scholars).

    Awareness of student-scholar as user and creator of knowledge

    Dispositions and habits of mind as student scholar

    Consistently approaches inquiry as a student scholar.

    Critical user of information as well as knowledge creator

    Inconsistently demonstrates a variety of characteristics of student-scholars

    Describes a variety of dispositions and habits of student-scholars

    May demonstrate some characteristics of knowledge creator

    Awareness of disposition and habits of student-scholars


    (e.g. research does not happen in one sitting)


    Information use and creation  

    As a result of the learning experiences from ILP faculty, CSUSM graduates will:

    • Identify: Identify issues, perspectives, or problems clearly and in multiple contexts;
    • Evaluate: Distinguish between relevant/credible sources, ideas, and information;
    • Analyze: Consider multiple points of view, perspectives, or solutions with a comparative approach;
    • Synthesize: Formulate clear and well-stated plans, solutions, or outcomes;
    • Conclude: Provide logical conclusions that reflect full range of information from multiple and suitable perspectives;
    • Act ethically: Use information in an ethical manner.
























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    A team of staff and highly trained student assistants provide basic reference and library assistance with librarians available to provide in-depth personalized research help in person, via email or online chat, and by phone.

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