Welcome to UWW and Andersen Library! I hope you’re excited to be here. After four college degrees (at four separate schools) and over 20 years at UWW, I still greet each new academic year with excitement and anticipation. My colleagues at Harold Andersen Library (HAL) and I may get to meet a number of you this year, and we’re looking forward to it. Why should you want to meet us?
Andersen Library is here to facilitate UWW students’ learning and research. That’s our priority. To that end we provide resources (books, online articles, course reserves, laptops, scanners, etc.), work spaces (carrels, tables, study rooms, soft seating), and user assistance & education services (reference, interlibrary loan, online guides, circulation, etc.).
First off, research skills really matter. This may not be clear during your first semester, but research skills are useful, beyond the writing of a research paper and the completion of a degree. Plopping some words into a Google search and taking what you get is not skillful research. By the time you leave UWW, you should know the difference, and I am not saying that Google is bad. I use it daily, but there also are other places to look, as well as more skillful ways to use Google. You should become familiar with the resources most relevant for your major.
Secondly, YOU are responsible for what you get out of your UWW experience. That’s right, you can choose to be intellectually stimulated by your courses and other opportunities here. Southern Methodist University’s web site says this about making a successful transition from high school to college: ” Take control of your own education: think of yourself as a scholar.” You are ultimately in control: of how you budget your time, what classes you take, how much effort you put into classes, etc. And the best attitude to have is that you are a scholar during your time here. You aren’t just on a conveyor belt heading to your first job. You aren’t just checking off assignments and tests to finish each class. Invest in yourself! Take advantage of every opportunity to learn, not just what’s assigned.
- Take courses that are outside your comfort zone!
- Meet faculty and engage them in conversation.
- Listen to speakers on campus and attend other events.
- Consider joining a student organization.
- Encourage your intellectual curiosity.
Use the Library to learn more. Peruse the Great Minds collection and the New Arrivals Island. Research papers are especially good opportunities for learning more about something, of course. But any interesting topic that comes up in class, or in a speech, or at an organization’s meeting could be researched in the Library’s resources without a paper assignment. You are preparing to be an asset to your future employer (or your future business), not just a mindless cog who does the minimum required!
Finally, don’t take my word for it. Her Campus, a blog by college journalists, included a research class on a list of “The 7 most important classes to take in college.” Why is it so important to learn research skills? The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) has defined “Essential Learning Outcomes,” based on survey data collected from employers and recent graduates that shows what’s important for new college graduates. Seventy percent of employers surveyed thought more emphasis needed to be placed on “The ability to locate, organize, and evaluate information from multiple sources.”
That same survey found that “Fifty-six percent of business executives think that our nation’s colleges and universities should focus on providing all students a balance of both a well-rounded education with broad knowledge and skills that apply to a variety of fields and knowledge and skills in a specific field; 11% favor a focus primarily on providing a well-rounded education. Just 22% of employers endorse a narrow focus on providing skills and knowledge in a specific field.
So don’t groan about those required courses and research papers! They are relevant to your future!
The staff at Andersen Library are here to help you get started with your research, whether it’s for class or for your own curiosity. Ask a Librarian!