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Revolution or evolution? Lessons learned from a business syllabus study.
Lowry, Linda Darlene
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Although the business school student population at Brock University was growing, requests for traditional in-class information literacy instruction (ILI) sessions were declining as faculty made room in the curriculum for ‘service learning’. I conducted a comprehensive syllabus study of the undergraduate business curriculum in order to better understand this evolving instructional environment. My primary objective was to investigate the research, data, and library use expectations of business school faculty for their undergraduate students, to gain deeper insight into the extent and nature of research-intensive assignments, including those with a service learning component. My secondary objective was to identify new instructional opportunities in order to be strategic in my outreach efforts. A total of 257 syllabi from 86 courses (representing 91% of all course offerings) were rated according to a 5-point scale of prescribed research, data, or library use. Initial analysis identified 38 different courses with significant research expectations, including 13 courses with a service learning component. A comparison of the 38 research-intensive courses against my own ILI statistics identified 26 courses (including 10 service learning courses) for follow up contact. I hope to devise a plan to provide more relevant and responsive ILI support for these research-intensive courses. As a result of this syllabus study, I now have a much better understanding of the undergraduate business curriculum, and where I might add value, in order to revolutionize my ILI practice.