When the Rubber Meets the Road

Monday morning we had an all staff meeting to hear about a lot of really great things that are happening with the UIC Libraries and get a few ideas of what’s coming in the next few months. While they were changing speakers, checking mics, etc, I started a quick list of emails that I needed to send and things I hoped to accomplish on Monday. After the meeting I got back to my cube and popped open my email to make a quick attack on what had come in over the weekend. About 11 hours after I arrived at work, I staggered out, that same to do list (nothing crossed off) shoved in my bag with a wish and a promise for tomorrow. It’s now late Tuesday and the only time I got to my email before 5 p.m. was while I was giving students in my afternoon class fifteen minutes to work on the handout that I’d handed them.  I made a dent during my office hours at the College of Dentistry but after I get done with laundry tonight (oh for in-building laundry) I’m going to have to come back to that list. It includes a chapter proposal I really want to get in before the deadline, a conference proposal that it was suggested I write, some spreadsheet clean up that needs to happen for LITA-PPC….

Welcome to the beginning of my first fall semester, I’ve said to myself about twenty times in the past couple of weeks.  Because I’m on a medical campus, most of our students are here year round, but there is definitely a change and ramp up in the fall. Students are now the next year higher, have different expectations, are tackling new classes and research projects.  And the teaching….

I blogged separately about the M2 PubMed classes but the major focus for me this fall is an Evidence Based Dentistry course that I’m co-teaching. Over the summer I was approached to assist with the EBD course and it’s evolved into quite a challenge. A good challenge–don’t get me wrong–but definitely still a lot of work.  The class meets on Friday mornings for three hours. Because we have a class of 68 and they have a lot of other things that need to happen, the students are split into two groups and the professors do each class twice–thankfully not the same day. So each group of students will have 5 classes over the course of the semester, but it’s ten weeks that are blocked on my calendar. 

The class is intended to be progressive, much like the other learning that they are doing with a brand new curriculum that focuses on small group learning. 

  • Week 1 was all me*, talking about advanced searching (we’d done a super fast zoom through PubMed at orientation). I did Group 1 last week, I see Group 2 for the same class this Friday. We’re taking a step back and talking about Boolean Search and how that works in PubMed, going a little deeper into Limits, introducing PubMed Clinical Queries.  It’s nice to be able to say “and this is something Dr. X will talk about in more detail”–knowing that he is going to be covering it!  
  • Week 2 will be the professor who has traditionally taught the EBD course going into Clinical Questions and PICO — I’m in the room to assist but I’m not the lead. 
  • Week 3 is a lecture from a top public health focused faculty at the College of Dentistry–I’ll be sitting in at least one of these lectures so I know what’s covered though I’m not expected to actively participate.
  • Week 4 is back to the EBD Prof and what he’s covering escapes me right at the moment, but I’ll be there. 
  • Week 5 is back to me–we’ll be finding community data**.  Before Week 5 happens, I have at least one or two meetings happening with the public health dentistry faculty so I have a better idea what outcomes they’d like the students to have. 

What I like about doing this (so far!) is that I’m involved throughout the entire first semester for these students.  I’ve already seen them at orientation but this is a chance for them to see me again, slow down and go through things in more detail, and reinforce that I’m here to help.  Already the first year students are more confident in approaching me at office hours (no matter how much I introduce myself).  I really must describe the Boolean exercise in more detail. Maybe after I get through it on Friday.

Fall has meant New Faculty Orientation. I missed it last year because I started in December but at these events I’m tracking down West Campus faculty (West Campus is the Medical Campus where the Health Sciences Library is) and handing out my card and offering any help I can–letting them know I’m new too but I’ve been around for a couple of months.  Two professors have already emailed and we’ve talked about opportunities to get one of the librarians (maybe me, maybe their actual liaison) into the classroom, helping their students, etc.  It’s also nice to get out and meet some new people who aren’t necessarily in my specific liaison duties or within the library. New lunch buddies!

And along with teaching, meetings, committees, a search committee (we’re hiring!), LITA PPC stuff, and everything else, I’m supposed to squeeze research in! Oh right… tenure track, need to be producing articles in journals, figuring out how to get invited to give lectures on papers I haven’t written yet.  Many ideas but so little time…

This weekend I have to go to the grocery so I stop subsisting on Dunkin Donuts coffee and Clif Bars and after the end of next week, teaching will relax a smidge for me.  But definitely never a dull day!

*I say all me–I do have another librarian in the room. I’ve asked her to go over PubMed again with them about halfway through class, she’s on hand when we do exercises to answer questions (34:2 vs. 34:1), it introduces them to another librarian on staff, and it gives them someone different to hear from. 

**I see another stand up and move around classroom exercise in my future. What makes up a community? Divide up room by languages spoken, if they wear glasses/contacts, if they own a laptop, if they regularly take a multi-vitamin, if they regularly drink coffee, etc etc to try and give them an idea of how there are different communities within the “You are all dental students” community.