Our interviews are complete!

Today, April 16, 2020, Ally and I completed our 24th and final interview of this data collection phase. We chatted with a great College of Nursing student and celebrated with a virtual high-five.

Ilana and Abbi high-fiving, via GIPHY

It’s a huge accomplishment for us and this research project; our interviews began in October and we’ve diligently emailed hundreds of students, seeking the 24 we interviewed. What we now have is a rich and robust data set of student stories, exploring their various student engagement journeys and perceptions of these experiences on their Penn State career. Especially in reflecting on what’s happening right now with remote learning, this data set also captures a pre-pandemic student engagement landscape. The final four interviews we completed virtually begin to show the impacts of not being in-person for part of a semester. Any student engagement journeys we gather after this will be influenced by the pandemic, and I know I’m curious to see how students navigate this new landscape.

With 24 interviews, we have some immediate next steps. Coding will continue, in earnest, and we will also be able to run a report to gain some demographic information on the 24 students we interviewed. I’m curious to see if our stratified random sample is somewhat representative of the Penn State University Park undergraduate student population. These demographics will help us frame our results, which will be important as we think about publications for libraries and higher education, along with internal reports and recommendations for the Penn State Libraries and the Student Engagement Network. The next few weeks will really be about bringing these stories together and beginning to find the larger patterns among these 24 students. I’m really excited to dig into this part of the research project.

In other good news, I did receive additional funding to continue this research. Starting July 1, I’ll be stepping into the Student Engagement Network Faculty Scholar position. This is a two-year position, focused on advancing the scholarship of student engagement. I always knew this research would be a multi-year project, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to move this research forward in 2021 and 2022. More on what’s next in the upcoming months.

Finally, in a full-circle sort of moment, I realized that a year ago, on April 16, 2019, I joined a Zoom call with the 2019 IRDL cohort. It was the first time we met Kris and Marie, our other cohort members, and learned about what IRDL would look like in June. I was so excited about that meeting and it only feels fitting that a year later, I’m completing my final interview for this phase of the project.

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Head of Education & Outreach Services at Northern Kentucky University. When she's not in the library, Hailley is an avid oatmeal connoisseur, baseball scorekeeper, bike rider, embroidery queen, and reader of memoirs. Check her out on Twitter @hailthefargoats.

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