Monday, April 27, 2009

Part #13: Performance Goals - Eugene

Hi everyone... I was having trouble with UBlearns over the weekend, so I'm posting my part on the blog (but I'll try to send it again via UBlearns). I'm afraid, though, it's not pasting like it is in Word...oh well. At least Dan will have the Word copy...
Performance Goals


Building from our service goals of enhancing student learning and providing academic skill assistance, the Library Learning Center (LLC) will provide continual service for the outlined academic areas during normal hours of operation, likely to be established as 9am to 9pm. This will be one of the LLC’s primary goals.

Students will be able to obtain assistance for most general coursework in a liberal arts curriculum, including math, science, and literature. Since Buffalo State College places particular value on writing as evidenced through its “Writing Across the Curriculum” commitment (, writing will be considered a key academic service area as well. At least one academic tutor/helper for each identified area of academic service will be available during normal hours of operation. Also, each department will develop a packet of key tutorial and information resources to facilitate students’ abilities to learn independently.

Peak usage times will be calculated by tallying: 1) the number of students in a given hour (a simple “stick count” or stroke count), 2) the academic area/department/coursework (e.g. math; writing; etc.), and 3) the estimated length of time for one unit of service. This will enable monitoring of the total number of service units provided, which can be factored into budgetary and staffing analyses. Naturally, times of expected peak usage (or documented peak usage) will result in increased staffing levels.

The Library Learning Center will minimize duplication of services offered in other parts of the college institution. For example, a student brings their resume to the LLC for review. A writing tutor could help the student proofread the document for errors, but a student with more extensive needs, such as needing help with resume writing and/or career planning, would generate a referral to the Career Development Center. Another example would be a student who needs to get information resources to write a paper but does not know how or where to obtain those resources. A LLC helper would refer the student to a librarian at the Reference Desk for specialized assistance with developing information literacy skills and bibliographic instruction. Referrals will be tallied and monitored so as to document the frequency and nature of referrals. High numbers of referrals may be indicative of unclear service marketing strategies (i.e. students not knowing the “correct” place to go for help), which, in turn, could lead to a revision of promotional outreach to clarify services offered at the LLC and on other parts of the campus. Also, high numbers of referrals to a specific support program may indicate a need to collaborate with that program to pinpoint strategies for service differentiation.

User satisfaction will be monitored through brief student exit surveys after each service unit. These surveys will collect two kinds of information. First will be the service received; students will check a box (√) which will specify the academic area/discipline/coursework. Second will be an overall measure of satisfaction. Tentatively, the overall measure of satisfaction will be a basic 4-point Likert-type scale, such as “4 - Strongly Agree,” “3 - Agree,” “2 - Disagree,” and “1 - Strongly Disagree.” Average scores for each academic area will be compiled quarterly and yearly. Any service satisfaction scores averaging a score of 2 or less likely will facilitate further data gathering and service review. For example, conducting a nominal group of users might be able to clarify service delivery issues. Another example would be to conduct a more extensive survey, perhaps focusing on issues related to staffing (e.g. friendliness, knowledge), accessibility (e.g. convenient hours, prompt service delivery), and tutorial resources (e.g. copies of APA citation style guides, example of an annotated bibliography).

Operationalization of Performance Measurement Goals

Students will obtain academic assistance at times convenient to their schedules.
The Library Learning Center will be open from 9am to 9pm throughout the academic semester.

Students can obtain academic assistance for a variety of liberal arts coursework and academic skills.
At least one academic tutor/helper for each service area will be on staff during normal business hours.
Copies of key resources, predetermined by staff in each service area, will be up-to-date and on hand at all times.

Students are entitled to prompt, efficient service.
Peak usage times will be analyzed over a 1-year period of time, and staffing levels will be adjusted to meet higher traffic time periods.
All academic helpers will maintain a tally sheet documenting the number of students served in each hour of operation, their service area, and an estimate (in minutes) of the length of the unit of service provided.
More than 5 students receiving a specific service in any given hour of operation will be defined as a “peak usage time” for that specific service (not for the entire Library Learning Center).
Walk-in service requests are welcome, and appointments with academic helpers for lengthier service needs are encouraged.

Students will be referred to other campus services when their service request cannot be accommodated and/or if a different campus program can better meet that need. This will minimize duplication of service.
The academic helper will provide the contact information and/or on-campus location of the referred service/program.
The academic helper will document the time of the referral, a brief (one-sentence) description of the student’s need, and the program to which the student was referred.

Students will feel satisfied after visiting the Library Learning Center for a service need.
Students will be asked by the LLC receptionist and/or academic helper to complete voluntarily a very brief satisfaction survey (outlined in the narrative portion).
Survey data will be compiled, and services receiving an average score of 2 or lower in a given quarter or academic year will be reviewed, likely resulting in additional, more extensive user satisfaction data collection.

Submitted April 26, 2009

Eugene J. Harvey

Friday, April 24, 2009

Group evaluation

Laura and I drafted this narrative--if there is a mistake, I apologize. Please let me know and I will correct it. I wrote in the details according to the Excel spreadsheet. --Amy

In approaching this project, the first step our group took was to share our strengths and past experiences with one another to ensure that we were able to produce the highest quality of work possible. Each member of the group identified an area of the project they were interested in working on and we volunteered for sections of the market plan.

We chose Eugene to be our group leader as he immediately displayed the skills needed to effectively run group meetings and organize tasks. He sent out weekly emails after our Tuesday meetings with notes to update everyone on decisions and inform those who were absent of group progress.

Dan and Laura did preliminary market research (#1) on other universities that have similar learning centers to the one we are proposing for Buffalo State College. They also researched the current services at Buffalo State to determine possible improvements.

Jennifer and Khalil created the opportunity identification and selection (#2 & 3) which received feedback from all group members before being finalized.

Amy reviewed the college’s mission statement (#4) and discussed the ways in which the new learning resource center would achieve Buffalo State’s goals in addition to running the opportunity through a futures lens.

Janet researched the college community to determine the target market (#5) while Laura identified the general service goals of the proposed learning center (#6).

The detailed service description and plan of action (#7) was drafted by Jennifer and Khalil and then reviewed by all group members.

User costs (#8) were examined by John A. with collaboration from John M.

Aindrea identified potential competitors (#9) by identifying other tutoring services in the area.

The promotional plan (#10) was created by Janet and Caitlin.

Nick drafted the service positioning (#11) while John M. created the budget (#12) which was reviewed by John A.

Eugene created the quantifiable goals section (#13).

Although each member of the group was responsible for a section, all members reviewed each others’ drafts and offered feedback to the author.

Dan was responsible for compiling the components and editing the final draft of the plan. Amy and Laura worked collaboratively to develop this narrative.

Service Positioning

Here's a rough draft of what I have so far. I'll work on it some more this weekend before sending it on to Dan Saturday night. Comment if you notice anything glaring I left out.

Through our reading of the mission and goals of Buffalo State College and our realization that the E. H. Butler Library could become the intellectual center of the College community, we have decided to centralize the services of three previously separate help centers, namely, the Academic Skills Center, the Writing Center and the Writing Help Desk. By consolidating these services into a single Library Learning Center, we will be able to achieve a level of service which was previously unattained.

The services offered at the Library Learning Center will be freely available to all students of Buffalo State College. Students will be able to either walk in at any time during operating hours. It will also be possible for students to make appointments with staff members. Appointments will be preferred for students who need extensive help. It will also be advisable to have an appointment during peak periods, such as at the end of the semester, to ensure that the individual does not have to wait a long time for help. For those without an appointment services will be offered on a first-come first-served basis. The services offered and the hours of operation will be advertised to the student body through the promotional methods previously described.

As the Library Learning Center will be a private resource for students of Buffalo State College it will have an advantage over other tutoring services in its marketplace. Students, having paid tuition and comprehensive fees, will be able to visit the Center as often as they need to, without being charged additional fees, over the course of their studies at the College. The fact that this service is free to use, means that it will have a distinct advantage over other tutoring services which can be quite expensive. In addition, having graduate students, exceptional undergraduate students and even professors working at the Center will ensure that the students who make use of the services offered receive high quality instruction. This level of instruction will not be matched by many competitors.

Due to the centralization and consolidation of the services offered by the Academic Skills Center, the Writing Center and the Writing Help Desk into the Library Learning Center, the E.H. Butler Library will be able to offer high quality service to the student body of Buffalo State College. By offering free services only to students the Library Learning Center will ensure that students consider the Center the first and only stop for their tutoring needs. Also, the high quality of instruction will keep students engaged and will prove beneficial to the point that students will not need to rely on other paid services in addition to the Center.


Sorry this is posted so late, but if any of you have some time to look over it in the next few days and offer some feedback, I'd appreciate it. Let me know if there is something the should be included and I've missed or something you think if off track from what we want to accomplish. Thanks. Laura

The goal of our proposed plan is to bring awareness of the various help services available to students and increase student usage. With the three support services spread out throughout the campus, they are underutilized, as many students may not be aware they are available. The library is where students go when writing a paper or completing an assignment. If the academic help center and the writing center are made visible in one centralized location within the library, students will become aware of their presence and the ways they can help them develop their thoughts and improve the quality of work. Furthermore, having these services available in the same location as the students are doing their research and writing makes it easy and convenient to utilize the services.

Secondly, we aim to increase the number of students reached by eliminating the referral policy currently in place at the Academic Skills Center. We believe students should be able to receive tutoring assistance whenever they need it. By eliminating this referral policy, students will be able to receive immediate assistance on assignments without having to go through their instructors.

Thirdly, we aim to create an understanding amongst students of the importance of writing skills to their larger academic and career success. By receiving the assistance of the Learning Center, the quality of student work will improve and students will have more success in their classes. In this way, they will begin to see that the skills developed by visiting the Learning Center will benefit them as they progress through their academic careers.

All of these together will help us achieve our over-arching goal of enhancing student learning. Providing assistance in the writing process will increase student confidence in abilities as they see their skills begin to improve.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Will the Service Cost the User?

Here is the final revision of my part in narrative form:

What Will the Service Cost the User?

Although users of the Learning Center stand to gain much from this new and improved service, in order for students to benefit from the services offered by the Learning Center, they will incur certain costs. Monetary loss, time consumption, effort and a learning curve are several of the costs users of the Learning Center will be faced with. To what degree each user will incur these costs, however, is contingent upon the circumstances surrounding each student. For most of these costs, the preexisting skill set each user comes to the Learning Center with along with how quickly one is able to learn new concepts and skills will determine how much the use of this service will cost each user.

As mentioned above, there is a financial cost that students will incur as a result of utilizing the services offered by the Learning Center. However, this will be the case for every student at Buffalo State regardless of whether or not they use these services. Since the Learning Center will be funded by a portion of the tuition fees paid by each student at Buffalo State, every student will be paying for this service. Nevertheless, if a student chooses to use the Learning Center, they could potentially face additional monetary costs. For instance, those who choose to get extra help at the Learning Center might be forced to take time off of work, thus causing them to lose income. Users of this service will also have to deal with the expenses associated with getting themselves to the Learning Center, such as paying for gasoline for their car. In the end, it is clear that users of this service will incur an additional monetary cost relative to those who choose not to use the Learning Center.

Besides a financial cost, using the services offered by the Learning Center will cost students time and effort. First of all, there will be a general time and effort cost associated with simply making the time and getting one’s self to the Learning Center to use its services. Additional time and effort costs will be incurred by students who seek to benefit from the Learning Center’s one-on-one services. The degree to which each student is willing to commit time and effort both inside and outside of the Learning Center toward learning the skills and concepts they are getting assistance with will impact how much of this time and effort cost they will incur.

Along with the time and effort costs associated with getting one-on-one assistance with particular concepts and skills, students who choose to use the computer in the Learning Center to get assistance with their grammar will have to put forth time and effort toward learning and using this service. How computer savvy a student is will definitely impact how much of a time and effort cost they will incur in this regard. For those who receive tutoring help in a group setting, an additional time and effort cost is likely. Tutoring assistance in a group setting will generally be more time consuming for each student. Moreover, working in a group tends to require more of an effort in order succeed relative to just simply working with tutor on a one-on-one basis. Once again, a student’s preexisting skill set and the pace in which one can learn unfamiliar concepts and skills will impact these time and effort costs.

Another cost that users of the Learning Center will have to contend with is a learning curve. Like time and effort costs, how much of a learning curve cost each student is faced with when getting help is contingent upon how quickly one can learn unfamiliar concepts and skills. The skill set each user brings with them to the Learning Center will also affect their learning curve cost. Furthermore, one’s learning curve cost will be impacted by the student’s ability to adapt to working with a tutor either on a one-on-one basis or in a small group. A learning curve cost can also be anticipated for those who utilize the Learning Center computer for grammar help.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

updated mission statement

Buffalo State College’s purpose “is to inspire a lifelong passion for learning, and to empower a diverse population of students to succeed as citizens of a challenging world...the college is dedicated to excellence in teaching and scholarship...and service.” In realization of this goal, the Library Learning Center at the E.H. Butler Library is dedicated to providing one-on-one and small-group tutoring to students of any discipline. Whether students need help understanding class concepts, writing academic assignments, or improving research skills, the Library Learning Center guides students towards excellence in their coursework. The Center works in collaboration with the E.H. Butler Library, which is “dedicated to supporting the scholarship, research, and creativity” of the Buffalo State College student population.


The Library Learning Center provides one-on-one or small group instruction to students during walk-in hours or scheduled appointments. It is staffed by Buffalo State professors, librarians, work-study students, and local volunteers who have demonstrated excellence and experience in academic instruction and writing. Tutoring is provided in any discipline. Writing instruction is offered on topics such as annotation styles; grammar, syntax and punctuation; thesis creation; and critical thinking and research skills. Collaborative writing projects are also welcome. By fostering students’ confidence, the Library Learning Center promotes “the intellectual, personal, and professional growth” of Buffalo State College students and seeks “to inspire a lifelong passion for learning.”


This opportunity is sustainable due to 2005 requirement that all incoming freshmen and transfer students complete Foundations of Inquiry (BSC 101). Course objectives for this class include critical thinking and research skills that utilize library resources and the internet. The Library Learning Center seeks to assist students in developing skills necessary to ensure academic success and the acquisition of a broad basis of knowledge.  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Proposed Service

Check your e-mail for the attachment! If any of you have Caitlin's e-mail could you forward it to her? I've already e-mailed it to Khalil.

I've streamlined much of what was written so, although the document appears shorter, all of the updates are there. We should all be able to move forward with this piece as I believe what remains is all in word choice. That can be tweaked, but the basis of the idea is there. Speaking of which, I wouldn't mind getting started on the marketing aspect