First-year student Rae Soldier found the three-credit Library Science 0500 course to be an entertaining learning experience during the Fall 2006 Semester.
“I have learned how to find my way around the Library and how to do research. It’s fun,” says Soldier. “I wanted to get up in the morning to come to this class because Andrea made it really fun to be here.”
The welcoming classroom atmosphere is not just a happy accident. Librarian Andrea Glover developed the course with the two-fold goal of reducing students’ information anxiety while increasing their information literacy.
Glover’s interactive teaching style and sense of humour are even evident on the course outline, which describes Library Science 0500 as a “14-week journey to the wonderful and sometimes weird world of library research.”
Library Science 0500 is a required course for Soldier and the other 34 students in the 2006-2007 First Nations’ Transition (FNT) Program cohort.
The Library tours and applied learning opportunities that make Library Science 0500 interesting have a serious aim. “The course objectives are to teach research skills and a companion set of study skills and computer skills that together will help students adjust to the University environment and enhance their opportunities for academic success,” says Glover.
The U of L introduced the one-year FNT Program in 2004-2005 to assist Aboriginal students with the transition to university. FNT Program Case Advisor, Faculty of Arts & Science, Ritchie Brown Chief Calf says the pilot project proved to be a great success.
“Of the 24 students in the first cohort, 19 successfully completed the program. Of the successful program graduates, 16 are still at the U of L and three are studying at other institutions,” says Brown Chief Calf. “Our retention rate for first-year Aboriginal students is much higher than the national average.”
Brown Chief Calf says faculty in the FNT Program’s required and elective courses have contributed to the student retention rate. “I’m in constant contact with the teachers, and I really commend them for their work,” says Brown Chief Calf.
The FNT Program has a strong cultural component, and elders speak in many of the courses. Glover says an elder’s talk about how information is dispersed in Aboriginal culture was a highlight of Library Science 0500.
Students in the FNT Program also receive personalized support with everything from study skills and academic planning to financial planning and housing.
“The FNT Program is an awakening for students who don’t know their culture. We try to make them proud to be who they are at the same time as we teach them how to utilize the services that the University has to offer,” says Brown Chief Calf.
For more information on the FNT Program, e-mail Brown Chief Calf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the University Library’s home page at www.uleth.ca/lib.
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