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The role of faculty autonomy in a course-integrated information literacy program

Anne Jumonville (Library, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 10 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore the significance of faculty autonomy in sustaining a successful information literacy program.


Faculty members were given the opportunity to create courses that integrated and assessed information literacy as part of a course grant program associated with an institutional assessment mandate. This case study analyzes course grant proposals, course assessment methods and results. It also presents results of a follow-up survey of faculty participants to see if they continued to integrate information literacy in other courses. Results are situated in the context of self-determination theory to better understand the role of autonomy in faculty motivation and participation in an assessment program.


Defining and integrating information literacy themselves allowed faculty to align information literacy with their own course goals. Supporting faculty in choosing their own assessment methods for these integrations also provided program administrators with new information about faculty members’ teaching and learning practices and values. Results of a follow-up study confirmed that faculty continued to integrate information literacy in their courses of their own accord, underscoring the importance of an autonomy-supportive program structure.


This paper provides evidence for information literacy advocates that faculty autonomy can be a strength, not an obstacle. It demonstrates ways to incorporate and allow for autonomy within program constraints and introduces librarians to self-determination theory, a way of thinking about motivation that can help librarians pursue more effective collaborations with faculty.



© Anne Jumonville, 2014

Thanks to Benjamin R. Harris and Alexandra Gallin-Parisi for their feedback and support during the research and writing process.


Jumonville, A. (2014), "The role of faculty autonomy in a course-integrated information literacy program", Reference Services Review, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 536-551.



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Copyright © 2014, Authors

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