The University Library offers multiple resources that go unused during a student’s college career.
“There is a lot we have to offer and we try to talk to students when they get here, but they are hit with a lot of information,” said Ken Burhanna, assistant dean for Engagement and Outreach, about the University Library system. “We know a lot of students probably aren’t aware of everything they can do here or the services and resources we can provide.”
These services include the Plagiarism School, the Writing Commons, Meet with a Librarian and the Circulation Desk.
Mike Hawkins, subject librarian for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and librarian for the Plagiarism School, said the Plagiarism School is there to help students who commit a form of plagiarism.
“The point of Plagiarism School is so (students) can have some form of remediation,” Hawkins said. “So, instead of getting a straight zero for the paper, they can come to Plagiarism School and because they attended Plagiarism School, they can redo the assignment to get half credit.”
Most professors are pretty lenient and recognize that most cases are accidental, he said. Therefore, professors send their students to the school to learn about their mistake so it won’t happen again. About 80 percent of the cases are completely unintentional, Hawkins said.
The session usually lasts about 45 minutes and includes an assignment, as well as instruction about plagiarism and the different types, Hawkins said. The students are also informed about the university’s policies regarding plagiarism.
“There is no record that says, ‘you were reprimanded for plagiarism after attending Plagiarism School,’” Hawkins said. “Which is another positive the program has.”
After completion of the program a report is sent to the professor, then it is up to the student’s professor regarding the class and assignment.
The Writing Commons
The Writing Commons offers face-to-face assistance to any writer in any stage of the writing process, said Jeanne Smith, director of the Writing Commons.
“If it’s a piece of writing and you’re a student, and you want some help with it,” Smith said, “you come here.”
Smith said the Writing Commons has about 30 people on staff to help with everything regarding writing. This includes brainstorming, general grammar questions, organization of writing, understanding the assignment and much more.
The tutors come from all over campus and a variety of majors.
“The only thing they (the tutors) have in common, no matter where they come from across the university is that they are very good interpersonally and good writers, and they can talk about writing in a very articulate way,” Smith said.
Students can choose their tutor by specialty when scheduling an appointment. This allows for a more tailored tutor to each student’s needs, Smith said. All types of people come here — first year students to doctoral candidates to professors, Smith said.
“It is very common for professors to send (students) or suggest that they come,” Smith said.
And there are some professors, in all areas, who require their students to visit, but Smith recommends that more students in general should take advantage of this resource
Meet with a Librarian
Another resource that students don’t take full advantage of is “Meet with a Librarian,” said Kara Robinson, head of Reference Services at the University Library.
“It’s kind of like research tutoring,” Robinson said when describing the service.
She said this is a service that is here for students to assist them with research and help them navigate the library and all the resources it has to offer.
Students who need help in areas such as accounting, chemistry, economics, history, and even undeclared majors, have a Subject Librarian tailored to their needs. Students can set up a one-on-one appointment in person or video conference with a librarian, Robinson said. The session will take place in the library, and each session covers research strategies, the parts of research and helps students get familiar with search terms.
“People who came in early in their career, who come back because they were very happy with the help they got first time around,” Robinson said. “I would certainly encourage any student to contact us. We would be happy to work with them. We like challenging questions.”
Adam Steele, assistant professor at the University Library and one of the managers at the Circulation Desk, said there are many different materials students can check out at the desk that they are not aware of.
These materials include Chromebooks, video cameras, lapel microphones, calculators, headphones, extension cords and much more.
The Circulation Desk offers students an opportunity to rent textbooks for their core classes. Steele said they look at the classes with high enrollment, buy a few copies of those textbooks and let students work with them for a few hours in the library. This service is available to anyone.
“We are willing to add stuff,” Steele said. “If enough people suggest something, we will probably buy a few and see how it works out and add it to our collection.”
The staff at the Circulation Desk encourages students to check out what they have to offer and help add to the collection.
Contact Nick Boone at [email protected]