Fall 2018 Semester started early for Gleeson Library | Geschke Learning Resource Center as we prepared to meet an amazing cohort of incoming freshmen from the Muscat Scholars Program once again this year.
The Muscat Scholars Program (MSP) is an academic program at USF named in memory of School of Management Professor and Associate Dean Eugene Muscat, and is directed by Charlene Lobo Soriano, Associate Dean, Retention and Persistence Programs. The program begins the two weeks before the Fall semester starts.
MSP, according to its mission statement, “helps incoming first generation college freshmen achieve their goals by introducing them to academic expectations at USF and helping them design their own unique path to success. The program also aims to prepare students to thrive in the University of San Francisco’s multicultural environment and to become leaders in the USF community.” Eugene Muscat was, himself, a first generation college student at USF.
Gleeson Library | Geschke Learning Resource Center has participated in the MSP program for several years. This year, librarians taught four sections of the program’s Information Literacy course, which is comprised of four 1-hour and 45-minute class periods. Teaching in the Muscat Scholars Program gives Gleeson librarians the opportunity to expand their information literacy lesson plans — which are typically geared towards delivering stand-alone 1-2 hour library sessions during the school year. Librarians who teach in the Muscat Scholars program also welcome the chance to get know students more so than they are able to in one-time workshops.
In this year’s program, students and librarians discussed topics such as asking good research questions, recognizing the information lifecycle, evaluating information, viewing scholarship as a conversation, and understanding the importance of academic integrity.
A couple of the Muscat Information Literacy sections also spent some time making zines about themselves – their identities, experiences, and cultures – at the Gleeson Zine Library. While collaging, drawing, and writing, they discussed how authority is constructed, the biases of information creation and dissemination, and how zines and zine culture can provide a platform for the expression of underrepresented voices.
Muscat Scholars explored many of the library’s physical and online collections and resources, through activities such as a self-guided library scavenger hunt and discussion board posts about the library’s databases and digital collections.
For the culminating project of the Information Literacy course, MSP students designed infographics about library resources and services. Teams of students from each Information Literacy section interviewed Gleeson staff about areas of the library such as Research and Reference Services, Archives, Games and Activities, and Electronic Resources. The teams were then tasked with drafting a visually engaging infographic highlighting the area of the library that they visited.
The entire Muscat Scholars cohort convened in Gleeson during the last class period of Information Literacy to display their infographics and comment upon each other’s work. Library Dean Tyrone Cannon circulated around the room, taking photos of the impressive posters and talking to students about their projects. The college lives of these posters, like the academic careers of the students who created them, are off to a stellar start: the library is looking for ways to use some of the library infographics to help introduce other USF students to the library and all that it has to offer.