Oscar Wilde stated that “a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
The use of “big data” by institutions of higher education – and academic libraries – to address the complex problems faced by postsecondary education is still truly in its infancy. Dreamers by moonlight are seeking new methods of funding, assessment, and strategic planning. Among the issues that face institutions of higher education, retention is one hot-button element with wide-ranging implications. Where does the academic library fit in with increasing calls for accountability, stretched budgets, and imperatives for student success? How can our evolving libraries demonstrate value in this dynamic new context for higher education?
This session presents the findings of two studies into the correlations between 1) the alignment of library services/resources with high-impact practices for student engagement/retention and 2) between library use and student retention. Beyond these findings, however, this session is a call to action for academic librarians to “see the dawn” and embrace user analytics in order to refine services and resources and to demonstrate value to university administrators.