Teresa Schultz: Improving the University’s library spaces for first-generation students

Teresa Schultz

Title

Improving the University’s library spaces for first-generation students

Mentor

Teresa Schultz

Department

Libraries

Biosketch

Our team of researchers includes library staff with a variety of life and college experiences who work with all students on a regular basis, including first-generation students. We're also all members for the Libraries Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, and we're all dedicated to ensuring that the Libraries are a welcoming space for all our patrons and that we're doing everything we can to make underrepresented students included.

Project overview

The Libraries EDI Committee is seeking a student researcher to assist in a multi-part project that seeks to understand how first-generation students use and feel in the Libraries, including the Knowledge Center and DeLaMare. Specifically, we want to know if first-generation students feel welcomed in various spaces within the Libraries, if they feel they belong in those spaces, if they have experienced or witnessed uncomfortable or harassing events in those spaces, and if they know how to report such events and are comfortable doing so. To help answer these questions, we plan on first conducting a survey of first-generation students that will be launched at the start of the Spring 2021 Semester. We will also use this survey to identify students willing to take part in qualitative interviews that will happen during the rest of the Spring Semester. Although we are still formulating the exact methodology for these interviews, we are interested in using emotional maps that would allow students to highlight specific areas of the Libraries that are positive or negative to them and to provide them images of the Libraries to discuss their thoughts and experiences.The student research assistant will help analyze the data from the survey, assist the lead researchers during the student interviews, transcribe the interviews and then help code the interviews to reveal themes among what the students discussed. The student will also need to go through Institutional Review Board training to work with the data.