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Release: May 20, 1999

New learning project will enhance students’ science, technology research skills

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa Libraries will develop a new program called the Science and Information Literacy Initiative, which is designed to help UI undergraduates majoring in the sciences develop comprehensive knowledge and skills in locating and analyzing scientific information.

The Science Information Literacy project has been made possible by a $269,512 grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust.

Barbara I. Dewey, director, information and research services at the UI Libraries, prepared the grant proposal. Dewey says the science literacy project is needed because students who are preparing for professional and academic careers in the sciences need to be adept at locating, organizing, analyzing, and applying scientific information.

"This new project focuses on effective information seeking skills at a time when recent national focus has been geared to recruiting students into the sciences and heightening the public’s understanding of scientific issues," Dewey says.

The Science Information Literacy Initiative has real-world applications. For example, a UI graduate hired as a petroleum market analyst at a brokerage firm will know how to locate the latest research on new oil sites using geological literature and Web resources. A neuropsychology graduate will be able to locate an array of relevant bioscience and psychological research for a dissertation project.

The two-year grant will support the salaries of two new, full-time staff and two graduate assistants. The new staff and the science librarians will work with faculty in the sciences to customize curriculum components that meet UI faculty members’ teaching objectives.

Faculty from the departments of biological sciences, chemistry, engineering, geology, mathematical sciences, physics, and psychology, where appropriate, will implement the key student learning objectives related to science information.

The Science Information Literacy Initiative will make it possible for librarians to work with the faculty to design, implement, and evaluate a robust program to help undergraduates acquire the requisite knowledge and apply it in a highly complex and global environment," says Shelia Creth, university librarian.

"Beyond the considerable benefit to the UI community, we know that this initiative will have a real value for libraries in Iowa and nationally," Creth says.