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Cynthia Mari Orozco
Cynthia Mari Orozco, Librarian for Equitable Services, East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park and South Gate, California, USA

Cynthia Mari Orozco joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. She is Librarian for Equitable Services, East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park and South Gate, California, USA. Cynthia talked with us about promoting information literacy through faculty collaboration and about the importance of recognizing the efforts of our colleagues. 

Question: Please tell us what you are working on these days.

We have a small instruction team that oversees a lot of information literacy instruction (ILI) at a relatively large campus, so we're actively seeking strategies to institutionalize information literacy across the campus but also to provide more targeted, intentional ILI. One project we are working on is creating embeddable information literacy content for classroom faculty in Canvas, our campus LMS, to provide faculty with easy-to-adopt resources. We also want to build professional development for classroom faculty in teaching information literacy in a Train the Trainer model, in which faculty learn about information literacy and work with a librarian to embed information literacy in their courses, ideally scaffolded throughout the semester.

Q: Do you teach? How has your approach to teaching changed since you started?

I've been an instruction librarian since I graduated library school in various contexts, including private university, state university, and now community college. Since coming to community college, I have also had the opportunity to teach both in-person and online semester-long information literacy classes. My instruction has changed so much since I started teaching. My first one-shots definitely felt like a train wreck: I tried to teach everything and anything about the library in a very small time frame and without consideration of learning outcomes or assessment. Since then, I've developed my lesson plans to include these, which has also helped me reign in my teaching. My motivating factor has stayed true throughout, however: teach students how to navigate the library's resources and services so that they never have to be as clueless as I was as an undergraduate!

Q: How has your library approached the Framework?

Our library is still grappling with how to approach the Framework in our practice. However, this is a main point of discussion in instruction assessment meetings as the semester winds down!

Q: What role do non-library, classroom faculty at your institution have in promoting information literacy of students?

We have information literacy champions all over campus in very different ways! We have the faculty who consistently bring their courses in for ILI each semester, usually as one library orientation or sometimes two. We've also had several faculty members who have used library orientations to learn information literacy from librarians in action, and then gone on to facilitate their own library instruction without our direct help in subsequent semesters.

Q: In 2017 you were named as a Mover and Shaker and profiled in Library Journal. What impact did that experience have on you and on your advocacy

It was really great being nominated and recognized by my peers! (Shout out to my nominator Annie Pho!) I think that it's helped me sustain my energy in doing the work that I do. Sometimes it can feel as our work isn't as valued or valuable as we want it to be, so it can be really affirming to receive formal recognition. This experience has also encouraged me to actively nominate others for formal recognition and awards, as well as remember to recognize my colleagues for their efforts.

Q: Why did you join the TATIL Advisory Board?

Being a part of the TATIL Advisory Board allows me to think critically about information literacy assessment with an amazing group of colleagues. I'm also very proud to represent community college librarians in this role.

Thank you, Cynthia!

Photo of Nancy Jones
Nancy Jones, Retired Administrator of Support Services at Encinitas Union School District in Encinitas, California, USA


Dr. Nancy Jones is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy. In this interview, conducted by email, she tells us about her work as a school district administrator in Southern California with a focus on working with teachers to make the most of assessment data. 

Nancy has been on the TATIL Advisory Board since the beginning. Her experience with schools and assessment has been invaluable.


Question: Please tell us a bit about your work with the Encinitas Union School District.

Nancy: During my 40+ years with the Encinitas Union School District I served in the positions of teacher, principal, and administrator/director of support services. My work at the district office level focused on data & assessment, state and federal special programs and resource development. I assisted teachers in transitioning to the new California digital assessments; trained them on utilizing data to inform their goal setting, instruction, and progress analysis; and provided instruction on assessment development. California adopted the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, which includes computer adaptive summative assessments, practice tests and interim assessments requiring teacher training for successful implementation. My role also involved assisting teachers to understand the power of using assessment data to address group and individual student growth and adapt their instruction to increase student progress. As data-driven decision-making has become a critical component to teacher effectiveness, I focused additional teacher training on assessment development using a high quality item bank selected by the district.  Assessment data were also used to establish need in the grant proposals I wrote for the district.

Q: What are you currently working on?

Nancy: As a retired educator, I have found that my education and experiences have been very useful in my new focus on community involvement. I am currently a member of the Community Advisory Board for the Altman Clinical and Transitional Research Institute (ACTRI) at the University of California, San Diego. The ACTRI is part of a national consortium created to accelerate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients. Responsibilities of the Board include advocating on behalf of the general public on issues related to clinical research; recommending changes to clinical trials research strategies; and assisting with access to specific communities that are not adequately represented in outreach, UCSD research, or other CTRI resources. To increase my value to the Board I have volunteered with senior organizations and school enrichment programs. In addition, I am participating in higher education workshops and presentations to remain current on policy, research and national/global issues.

Q: What are your thoughts about the role and effectiveness of schools in preparing students for college? ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Nancy Jones"

Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University
Cynthia Kane, Emporia State University, Kansas, USA

Cynthia Kane joined the Advisory Board of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy in 2017. Here she answers questions about her work and her passion for assessment.

Question: Please tell us about your current job. 

Cynthia: I am currently the Director of Assessment at the Emporia State University Libraries and Archives. I oversee all aspects of assessment initiatives in our program, including information literacy assessments. I also represent the Libraries and Archives on two university-wide committees:  the Student Learning Assessment Council and the Higher Learning Commission Leadership Team. I really enjoy these last two opportunities because it’s given me a wider audience to highlight the impact of the academic library in student learning and success throughout their undergraduate and graduate careers.

Q: Do you teach? How has your approach to teaching changed since you started?

Cynthia: I have taught library instruction sessions in undergraduate and graduate courses for over 25 years. In addition, I served for years as an adjunct faculty member for ESU’s School of Library and Information Management. I presently coordinate the scheduling and teach sections of UL100, Research Skills, Information and Technology. This course counts for the “Information Technology” General Education requirement at ESU. My approach to teaching hasn’t really changed over the years – mainly, just being aware that technology tools will change, but the need to know how to find and use information effectively will never change!

Q: How has your library approached the Framework?

Cynthia: We’re working through that right now!  Our UL100 course will be 3 credit hours in Fall 2018 and we are reworking our course curriculum not only to accommodate ...continue reading "Meet the TATIL Advisory Board: Cynthia Kane"

Suppose that you think students should be knowledgeable about the rights and responsibilities of information creation. Furthermore, they should be able to recognize social, legal, and economic factors affecting access to information. These two statements form the basis of the Module 4 – The Value of Information – of the Threshold Achievement Test for Information Literacy (TATIL). In this post, I will describe the development of TATIL test knowledge questions. How do we go from a concept to a set of fully formed, sound test questions?

It begins with outcomes and performance indicators written by members of the TATIL advisory board and inspired by the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy. An iterative process of review and revision guided by the TATIL project leader Dr. April Cunningham results in the foundation for writing test questions.

...continue reading "Genesis of a Test Question"

Sometime around 1996 I attended a conference on communication studies. I was working on a master’s degree in Comm Studies and this was my first conference in an area outside of librarianship. I was happy to discover a presentation on research related to libraries, specifically nonverbal behaviors of reference librarians. As the researcher described her findings and quoted from student statements about their interactions with librarians, I experienced a range emotions. Interest and pride soon gave way to embarrassment and frustration. The way I remember it now, there were a host of examples of poor interactions. “The librarian looked at me like I was from Mars,” that sort of thing. Most memorable to me was one of the comment/questions from an audience member. “Librarians need to fix this. What are they going to do about it?,” as though this study had uncovered a heretofore invisible problem that we should urgently address. (Did I mention feeling defensive, too?) I didn’t dispute the findings. What I struggled with was the sense that the people in the room thought that we librarians didn’t already know about the importance of effective communication and that we weren’t working on it. Was there room for improvement? For sure! But it wasn’t news to us.

I thought about that presentation again recently after viewing a webinar by Lisa Hinchliffe about her research project, Predictable Misunderstandings in Information Literacy: Anticipating Student Misconceptions To Improve Instruction. Using data from a survey of librarians who provide information literacy instruction to first year students, Lisa and her team provisionally identified nine misconceptions that lead to errors in information literacy practice. For example, first year students “believe ...continue reading "We’re Working On It: Taking Pride in Continuous Instructional Improvement"