This essay describes one method of measuring and improving a key measure of academic institutions - student completion. By focusing on the milestones, the theory is that students will gain momentum towards their (and the institution's) ultimate goal of graduation. Now, this idea of having student completion as a measure of quality has its supporters and detractors. But, let's assume that it should be at least considered as an important component of student success.
As a way to demonstrate the library's value to the institution's goals, library administrators and librarians have been interested in participating in the conversation of improving student continuations and completions. So, based on this essay, I've wondered how, specifically, librarians and their libraries could be useful in these efforts. Here are some ideas I had on ways librarians could help improve students' abilities to reach the following key milestones:
- Completion of developmental coursework - involvement with the instructors of these courses to ensure that resources are available and instruction is provided to the students.
- Timely declaration of a major - libraries should provide extensive occupational information to help students make the best decision for themselves. Nothing can hurt the chances of completion, let alone timely completion than changing your major.
- Completion of sufficient credit hours in a timely manner - this requires students to take a greater density of courses. Libraries should focus their attention on efficiency of finding and using information and resources. This may mean implementing a Discovery service that enables students to find appropriate resources through one interface. It can be very time-consuming to search databases, review and select the more optimal articles or books, download or checkout the items, and import into a reference citation database (or even worse, manually manage your citations). Resources should be developed or selected based in no small part on the ability to increase this research efficiency.