Asking undergrads what they think, take two

You may recall from an earlier post that AUL for Collections and User Services Bob Byrd paved the way for three new student advisory groups last summer. We worked quickly to form and populate these groups, and by early October, the Undergraduate Advisory Board, the First Year Advisory Board and the Graduate Student Advisory Board had each met at least once.

Bob asked me to take the lead on the Undergraduate Advisory Board (UAB), and I think our first year went well in spite of the fact that we were figuring things out as we went. As Amber and Diane have indicated in their recent posts about developing shared learning outcomes and breathing new life into instruction, the (relatively) slower pace of summer affords the opportunity to reflect on the previous academic year and make way for improvements in the coming term, and we’ve extended our practice of reflection and re-envisioning to the UAB.

With the help of current UAB members, we have made some changes that I think will make the Board even more engaging and productive than it was during its inaugural year. While discussion at UAB meetings was often quite rich, attendance was at times pretty dismal. We’re going to counteract that this year by appointing a total of ten core members (seven new members, as three will be returning) and then asking that core members find replacements from their class if they can’t attend a meeting. So, while we won’t have the same ten members at any one meeting, we should end up with the diversity we’re striving for — three or four students from each class (we don’t have first-year students on our board since Lilly runs the First Year Advisory Board) representing a range of majors and student interests. And this will also give us the opportunity to engage with many more students than just our core ten — there should be no shortage of innovative ideas!

We’ve also decided to appoint a Chair and Vice-Chair to take notes, communicate meeting updates to members through the UAB listserv, compile a short semester-end report and serve as the eyes and ears of their undergraduate peers, proposing discussion items based on the needs and interests of the student body. We’re fortunate to have two very invested current UAB members who have agreed to play these roles, and I’m excited about the leadership and prior experience they’ll bring to the group.

Finally, we’ve opted to change our meeting schedule — in order to wrap up our work earlier in the term (and give our hard working students more valuable time to study…or take a break from studying), we’re going to try meeting every week (instead of every other week) between late September and mid-November. We’ll wrap up before Thanksgiving and then start again in the spring, and we hope to cap off the year with a student panel for all library staff so our colleagues can benefit from the interesting perspectives that we UAB coordinators hear all year.

Interested in learning more? Thinking about applying for consideration or nominating a student to the UAB? We’re accepting applications through September 11. And if you’re a Duke University Libraries staff member and have a service, resource, workflow or new idea you’d like to run by our Undergraduate Advisors, I’d love to hear from you.

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