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  • Home / News / Ursuline faculty, librarian honored with national information literacy award | Ursuline College - Liberal Arts Education in Ohio

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    Ursuline faculty, librarian honored with national information literacy award

    December 15, 2021

    Two Ursuline College faculty members and a librarian will share a national award for their creative approach to promoting academic research.

    The Modern Language Association of America (MLA) announced it is awarding its first annual MLA-EBSCO Collaboration for Information Literacy Prize to Ursuline’s Katharine G. Trostel, assistant professor of English; Mara Shatat, reference and instruction librarian; and Rhonda Filipan, adjunct instructor in English. The three are being honored for “coursework developed in collaboration between department faculty members and academic librarians in literature, language, or related disciplines.”

    The Ursuline team developed a semester-long research course that integrates five library sessions and has been shown to improve students’ skills and confidence.

    Trostel explained Ursuline’s EN 124: College Research is the second of a two-semester course designed to refine reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills, and to introduce students to the principles and methods of college-level academic writing and research.

    “Our English composition course included a one-shot library session for students before they began their research paper. That model proved inadequate,” Trostel said. “To address this problem, we embedded five library sessions. What we developed serves as a model for how to work with scarcity and to make productive connections outside of our academic silos. Our most effective tool for assessment was a pre- and post-library session knowledge survey measuring the student’s previous library experience, research skills, and confidence levels.”

    Survey results showed increased confidence in research skills.

    According to the selection committee, comprising academics from across the country, the Ursuline course “demonstrates a thoughtful and rigorous commitment to information literacy at the first-year college level. The committee was particularly impressed by the team’s ability to include the librarian as an active, collaborative instructor throughout the course as well as by the team’s commitment to meaningful assessment of the impact of this instruction for student success.”

    This MLA-EBSCO award is the latest national validation of Trostel’s efforts since she joined the Ursuline faculty in 2017. In 2018, she secured an MLA grant to develop an English course based on the spirit, literature, and activities of Cleveland’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. In 2019, she helped secure a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to support the development of humanities courses focused on social solutions to rustbelt problems of poverty, discrimination, neglect, and population decline. And in 2020, Trostel became faculty lead for Ursuline's participation in the Council of Independent Colleges' Legacies of American Slavery project.

    MLA established the MLA-EBSCO Collaboration for Information Literacy Prize thanks to a generous grant from EBSCO, a leading provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, e-books and discovery service to libraries. The prize will be presented on January 8, 2022, at the association’s annual convention in Washington, DC. A professor and librarian from University of Colorado will also be honored with this award.