Friday, September 4, 2009

My Freshman Year wrap up

The last chapter in Nathan's book is called "Lessons from my year as a freshman". She includes a piece on what she discovered about the students' relationship with the college library. She finds out some statistics about the use of interlibrary loan and learns that only about 3%-4% of the undergraduate student body used the service in the previous year. She said the librarian she spoke with thought that better advertising of this free service might have more students using it. Nathan, the student, however, has another thought on why this service is so underused. "For most papers that an undergraduate will complete, the window of time that the student typically creates to write a paper is a few day, at most a week, and more likley one evening. If a source is not available within this window, it is unlikely that it will be used." She goes on to suggest that online sources are probably where libraries should devote their resources. She is probably right.

Another thing I wanted to mention about Nathan's book, that thrilled me, was that she used the word "women" when writing about her female classmates. I am still surprised that my women colleagues do not use the term "women" when talking about the students in their classes. When I was an undergraduate we fought for this label. "Girls" is not an appropriate term to describe adults, which virtually all of our students are. I always refer to my students as men and women. In hope that the idea that they are grown ups will rub off on them!

And finally...
I don't think I can sum it up any better than Nathan does when she says "[m]ost professors and administrators overestimate the role that academics plays in student culture..."

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