Assistant Professor Nicole A. Cooke and Merinda Kaye Hensley (MS ’06) were awarded a best paper award at the Eighth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science (CoLIS 8) held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August 2013. Their paper was titled, “The Critical and Continuing Role of the LIS Curriculum in the Teacher Training of Future Librarians.” The award, given by the International Information Literacies Research Network, was elected by the audience.
“It's a huge honor to be recognized and vetted by such distinguished (and international) colleagues, especially for work that is theoretical yet firmly rooted in the practical. I'm proud that this paper attempts to bridge the gap between theory and practice in the information literacy literature,” said Cooke.
Librarians are often called upon to teach and provide instruction and to better equip students for this work, Cooke and Hensley argue that LIS programs need to include advanced coursework that gives students practical teaching experience. Cooke, a former instruction librarian, and Hensley, instructional services librarian at the University of Illinois Library, contend that students benefit greatly by bringing an LIS faculty member and a practicing librarian together in the classroom.
“This area of my research is directly related to my teaching. I am currently teaching LIS 458, Instruction and Assistance Systems, and I am actively working towards expanding this part of the curriculum. It's really important that our students learn how to be teachers and effective speakers and presenters,” said Cooke.
“In my role as an instructional services librarian, GSLIS students frequently approach me for advice on how to gain and practice teaching skills,” said Hensley. “They know from the current job ads that teaching is an essential part of being an academic librarian. For the past two years I have been teaching an 8-week class that builds upon the pedagogy that students learn in the introductory course (LIS 458) and serves as a platform for students to practice the basics of teaching well including implementing learning outcomes, classroom management, and assessment strategies. The most rewarding part of this course is the peer review where the students not only learn from each other, they engage in critical reflection, a skill that they can carry with them throughout their careers. I think this paper speaks to everyone who has been thrust into the classroom with little teaching experience.”
Cooke presented a second paper at the conference with colleagues from Rutgers University titled, “Conceptualizing Collaboration and Community in Virtual Reference and Social Question and Answer Services.”