My academic background is rooted in both the study of human behavior and of library science—two areas that are vitally and inseparably linked—and my scholarship focuses on the role academic libraries play in education, with particular respect to emerging technologies. As institutions and the culture of higher education evolve, we must ensure that we are providing valuable services and resources to our students, faculty, and staff. Continual assessment is an important part of making sure our library leadership, resources, and services remain relevant within the changing domain of higher education; maintaining relevance will also help prove our value and worthiness of continued funding—not an insignificant issue, as indicated by ACRL in the 2010 Value of Academic Libraries report.
Emerging technologies afford us not only opportunities for expanding our services and tools to meet the evolving needs of our communities, but also provide an opportunity to facilitate assessment of our services and tools as well as foster a culture of innovation backed by research. Additionally, I’m frankly excited by the promise of new technologies to level the academic playing field for a diverse population of students. I want to be at the forefront of testing and evaluating new tools and services, and I want to bring a range of valuable new technologies to the students who will benefit most. These basic questions serve as the underlying heart of my research:
- How can academic libraries best prepare students for success in higher education?
- As higher education undergoes rapid change—particularly technological—how can academic libraries best support learning, teaching, and research?
- How can we develop new tools and services to meet the evolving needs of researchers within the academic community, including students, faculty, staff, and even other librarians across a range of institutions?
- As we adopt new technologies for academic libraries, how can we evaluate their effectiveness to ensure that they lead to better outcomes for students (e.g., academic success, retention) and more productive scholarly lives for faculty members?
I’m trained in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and I believe the nature of the question should determine the appropriate method for any research project. My past and present work has centered around these four questions, and although they have occasionally led me into wildly different areas of scholarship and research, they provide a grounded focus for all of my research endeavors.
My future research/scholarly agenda will build upon my past and present focus on emerging technologies. One area of investigation in which I plan to further pursue falls broadly under the “democratization of access” umbrella—essentially, I want to safeguard success for all students by providing the best possible services and tools for online learners, in-person researchers, and the increasingly common hybrid of the two. This area of concern is at once timely and directly applicable to the ever-shifting nature of research in higher education.