Supporting the student experience has always been core to the mission of UCL Library Services so it is no surprise that the Student Experience features as one of the key performance areas for our new strategy. During a period when UCL.s student community will continue to grow and diversify, so will the expectation that we deliver a world-class Library Service. We will continue to welcome students from across the globe, with increasing numbers opting to study part-time or at a distance. Giving the Student Experience prominence as one of the 5 Key Performance Areas within the new Strategy allows us focus our efforts on creating and delivering excellent, student-centric service that is driven by student need.
Working alongside those delivering the strategic aims identified within the Space and Research Support KPAs, the Student Experience Working Group drew together colleagues from all areas of Library Services involved in the delivery of services to support students during their time at UCL. The group identified 4 main areas where we felt that the Library could make significant developments further enhance the student experience. These are:
- Support for teaching
- Skills development
Under each of these headings we set ourselves, and our colleagues across the Library, up to 5 actions that commit us to delivering either new or much improved services. Examples of these include: increasing the proportion of core course texts that we deliver electronically, improving services by extending self-issue to more of the UCL libraries, implementing a new online reading list system, and increasing our offerings of information skills training. With one of the KPA group taking the lead on liaising with the colleagues responsible for delivering each of these action in each of the 4 areas we will be able to regularly monitor progress and make sure we are on track.
By early summer 2011 the foundations to ensure that we achieve a number of our goals work has already begun, including the establishment of a working group to oversee our new information skills programme and the implementation of new software to power our new online reading list service: ReadingLists@UCL
Looking forward to the coming year we will continue to press on with implementing our new reading list system, increasing access to core materials and services to support students on taught courses and to review our information skills programme. The outcome of the UCL Masterplan consultation so central to the Space KPA will of course have a significant impact on our plans to increase services, although plans to introduce self-issue to at least 2 more library sites are underway.
I look after a number of departments in the Art, Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences that all use reading lists heavily in their teaching. One of my priorities is to ensure that students have easy access to all this material. I have been working with my departments to encourage them to use the new online reading list system for a number of reasons. Most importantly, in my opinion, is the way it will enhance the student's experience of using the Library. They will be able to find their readings quickly whether they are books, e-journal articles, scans of chapters or web-based reports, etc.
In order to convince staff that the effort it takes to initially create the on-line reading list is very worthwhile I have now added several lists myself. This has had the advantage of making me feel more confident about promoting the benefits of the new system as well as being able to assist academic staff in its use. The response so far has been very positive - especially when they realise there is the option to save new references, add new readings and edit their lists at any point during the year.
Another benefit is that I will be able to see all of the course lists that academic colleagues are using and thus make sure that the Library does have everything students need, particularly as I am only here one day a week. I'll be able to monitor new material that is being added and make sure we have sufficient copies available so that students never have the frustration of not being able to find something that they have to read for a seminar.