This phenomenological inquiry explored the experiences of library leaders and discipline faculty members engaging in a collaborative instructional change initiative focused on a process-based learning pedagogy and led by an academic library. The investigation’s purpose was providing insight and understanding concerning the: (a) library’s role in instructional leadership; (b) experience of librarians leading instructional change; (c) experience of faculty members as they design assignments and modify courses to include process-based learning; and (d) prospect of process-based learning as a learning centered curricular tool. Four research questions guided the inquiry: (1) What is the context of this library’s instructional change initiative? (2) What are the library leaders’ experiences of their roles as initiative leaders? (3) What are the faculty members’ experiences of their roles as initiative participants? (4) How do library leaders influence instructional change? The study focused on a university library that designed and implemented an undergraduate research-based learning initiative. Interviews with library leaders and faculty participants captured the essence and meaning of leading an initiative and transforming coursework within this context.
Phenomenological reduction revealed unique themes and meaning. The experience of library leadership of an instructional change initiative means: (a) leading invisibly and visibly, (b) creating a culture of collaboration, (c) advocating for teaching and learning, (d) transforming culture, (e) preparing for the future, and (f) persisting in personal learning and discovery. The experience as a faculty participant collaborating with a library to integrate resource-based learning assignments into courses means: (a) developing a teaching and learning community, (b) preparing students as scholars and citizens, (c) applying personal effort, (d) sustaining the model, (e) collaborating with librarians, (f) expressing creativity, and (g) accounting for cultural implications. From these experiences emerged questions for libraries to consider if engaging instructional change. Questions focus on the themes of: (a) focusing on student learning, (b) capitalizing on the academic library’s strengths and unique gifts, (c) creating a teaching and learning community, (c) collaborating for long-term impact and added value, (d) designing for culture, context, and faculty needs, and (e) leading with a clear vision. Additional suggestions for libraries seeking to influence instruction are offered.
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