By Lisa Feng –
On December 2, the University of Alberta – Augustana Campus Library named Dr. Roger Epp, U of A Augustana Dean and Professor of Political Studies, the recipient of the 2010 Teaching Faculty Award for Information Literacy. This award, whose nominations are drawn from students, staff, administrators and faculty, is given to professors whose initiatives have contributed consistently and notably to the promotion of information literacy at U of A Augustana. Information literacy is an increasingly important skill in the 21st century: it is the ability to recognize the need for information in a given context, and to know how to access, think critically about, and use this information effectively.
Nancy Goebel, Head Librarian at U of A Augustana Campus and Chair of the Award Committee, praised Dr. Epp. “Roger has really supported the teaching culture in the Augustana Library and enabled librarians to take a lead on information literacy initiatives both in and outside the classroom,” she says. “He encourages and recognizes innovation on the part of the librarians.”
The award recognizes Dr. Epp’s advocacy for library staffing needs, as well as for the new U of A Augustana Library, which opened in 2010 and includes spaces for teaching. As his award nomination noted, “The new library enables students to learn and study with the appropriate library and writing centre staff available.”
When asked why he was chosen to receive the award, Dr. Epp instead focused on the wider Augustana community: “I would interpret it as recognition that goes beyond me personally,” he said. “[It is] a recognition of the support that the campus as a whole has given over the years to the information literacy initiative.”
Dr. Epp is pointing to the U of A Augustana Library’s impressive track record in the emerging field of information literacy. In the past decade, it has proven itself as a North American leader in the provision and promotion of information literacy among students and faculty.
In addition to the Teaching Faculty Award, the Information Literacy Program at U of A Augustana consists of 21 discipline-specific information literacy credit courses, the augustana human library, information literacy open source assessment software WASSAIL (winner of the 2010 Association of College and Research Libraries’ Instruction Section Innovation Award), the Student Award for Library Research, professional presentations, and a DVD. As well, each year U of A Augustana hosts a tremendously successful Information Literacy in Academic Libraries Workshop which is attended by participants from across North America.
In recognition of the need to access information of all sorts, information literacy has become a key skill within the liberal arts and science education that is offered at U of A Augustana. “Information literacy is embedded in our curriculum,” said Dr. Epp. “This is a skill that we have identified as important for students to have at this time in history, when digital information is everywhere and the skill of navigating it is something that needs to be developed. There has been some great pioneering work done in our library, and now in association with staff across North America and beyond.”
In giving Dr. Epp this award, the U of A Augustana Library recognizes the Dean for his efforts in helping them with the ground-breaking work on information literacy they have already done, and will continue to do in the future.