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University of Arizona Libraries' Instruction Program

Your Librarian

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Nicole Pagowsky
Main Library
SLE Department

Overview of UAL's Foundations Program

Although the University of Arizona does not have a Foundational Experience program (could also be referred to as First Year Experience program, though it goes beyond only the first year), UAL has designed an instruction program to provide a foundation in information literacy to the 8,000+ students who enter the University of Arizona each year. The UAL’s Foundations program exists in collaboration with campus partners to develop information literacy instruction and activities for instructors to integrate into their courses and curriculum. Some of these Foundations-related groups include the University of Arizona Writing Program, Athletics, Honors, the College of Letters Arts and Sciences (also housing undecided majors), the New Start Program, LGBTQ Affairs, ThinkTank tutoring center, University of Arizona Online, and the University of Arizona Dean of Students Office. The Foundations program serves as the grounding point for the University of Arizona’s instruction program, and through this, our liaisons are then better able to scaffold instruction in the disciplines.


We collaborate with faculty, program coordinators, and staff in Foundations-related areas to establish shared learning outcomes. After determining best positioning for information literacy instruction within the course or program, librarians create class activities, assignments, and assessments. From there, librarians then provide train-the-trainer sessions for instructors who will be enacting the instruction within their course sections, offering greater support on how to teach information literacy. During and at the completion of the semester, instructors and librarians assess, reflect, and revise.

Through incorporating learning outcomes via big questions, pedagogy through this model centers on the bigger picture. Rather than database demos or ensuring everyone finds x number of articles, we strive to engage students in considering their role in the research process, how research is like a conversation, and that research is iterative and takes persistence. For first-year students especially, we emphasize the why of citation rather than the how, looking at how giving credit improves the conversation of research rather than simply ensuring one won't get caught plagiarizing. We address library anxiety through our approach to content, and additionally use mobile scavenger hunts to get students comfortable interacting with the library as place.