Information Competency: Challenges and Strategies for Development

Curriculum Committee

In 1996, the California Community College Board of Governors (BOG) issued a policy statement identifying information competency as a priority. Recognizing information competency as an academic and professional matter, in May 1999 the Chancellor delegated the issue of information competency as a graduation requirement to the Academic Senate for its recommendations.


Recommendations to Local Senates

The experiences of these six pioneering efforts, and the cumulative experiences of local senates, compels the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges to propose that local senates, in crafting a curricular response to Title 5, give full and rich consideration to the following factors:

  1. Faculty should foster wide spread collaboration among faculty across the curriculum, including academic and vocational instructors, and their deans, librarians and counselors.
  2. Local senates should encourage broad-based, on-going faculty development to support faculty's use of technologies and pedagogies as well as to revise courses and curriculum to include these new student competencies.
  3. Local senates should ensure that adjunct faculty are aware of changes made in existing courses or requirements and prepared to incorporate such changes into their teaching.
  4. Faculty, through their local senates and curricular procedures, should initiate a process to determine how best to match the intent of the Title 5 requirement with local curricular needs. To do so, faculty will consider:

Plan the Processes

  • Identify key participants, including students, to engage in this college-wide discussion.
  • Create a campus culture supportive of information competency as an educational goal and intellectual behavior.
  • Familiarize themselves with any proposed requirements of Title 5 relating to information competency.
  • Determine a local definition of "information competency" consistent with any new Title 5 Regulations and in response to the larger global contexts of work and academics into which our students will enter.
  • Initiate discussions about inclusion of information competency within vocational programs and occupational certificates, in anticipation of additional related Title 5 changes currently in discussion.

Identify Resources

  • Determine availability of librarians within their geographical area, if additional librarians will be needed.
  • Inventory available print, non-print, and technology resources to meet the demand raised by this new requirement.
  • Enumerate the costs and resources associated with constant updating of online resources, assignments, handbooks, and other instructional modes.
  • Ensure the quality of library hardback and software materials, databases, references, etc., particularly in times of economic hardship and dwindling resources.
  • Determine whether staff and library faculty have sufficient and current training and the requisite pedagogical skills.
  • Assess level of administrative support for staff development, staff resources, scheduling, and institutional research..

Support Faculty and Staff

  • Insist upon adequate, on-going faculty development opportunities.
  • Consult with the faculty bargaining unit on issues of load, working conditions, job performance evaluations, and job responsibilities, especially when collaborative efforts are initiated.
  • Ensure ongoing training for library faculty and staff.
  • Provide on-going, inviting, faculty professional development and training in
    • use of evolving technology
    • use of online data bases
    • resources available to minimize plagiarism and offer citation instruction.
  • Undertake training necessary for faculty who wish to revise or create curriculum in support of this new mandate.
  • Provide orientations and training for new and adjunct faculty to acquaint them with the nature of information competency, its relationship to the curriculum they teach, and the mechanisms whereby they can measure their students' competencies.

Focus On Students

  • Consider strategies to avoid undue pressures on high unit programs (e.g., nursing, pre-engineering) and students enrolled in them.
  • Determine a challenge process for students to demonstrate existing competencies.
  • Ensure adequacy of computer facilities for students and accessibility to all groups of students throughout the day, evening, and weekends (if applicable).
  • Consider whether students seeking multiple certificates must demonstrate competencies in each instance.
  • Consider the nature of proficiency exams, “performance-based” demonstrations of competencies, or assessment instruments, collaborating intersegmentally where appropriate.
  • Work with counseling faculty to provide accurate assessment and academic information about the information competency requirement.

Create On-going Implementation and Development

  • Engage local curricular processes to ensure that local requirements match the Title 5 Requirement in spirit and in implied rigor.
  • Work with college staff, including web designers and accessibility specialists to ensure academically acceptable, useful, and universally accessible websites.

Engage in Continuous Evaluation and Review

  • Provide clear direction to the institution so that research supports teaching and learning rather than instruction being driven by others’ research agendas.
  • Assess the impact of implementation of this new requirement upon all constituents of the campus community.