Northwest librarian chosen to participate in Dartmouth Institute

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SENATOBIA, MS (08/29/2017) Northwest Mississippi Community College Instructional Librarian Courtney Hicks was one of 15 librarians nationwide who were selected to participate in Dartmouth College's Librarians Active Learning Institute (LALI). Hicks attended the institute Aug. 9-11 in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The purpose of the institute was to help librarians become better teachers, according to Hicks. "Many people don't realize that librarians also teach and we are trying to get better at it. The whole point of the institute was to help me become a better teacher through active learning. It was a different way of thinking about teaching and library instruction and how we can do it better," Hicks said.

"Courtney is a wonderful instructor who creates innovative and interactive classroom lessons. She is always looking for new methods and tools to make learning fun and informative. When I saw the brochure for the Librarians Active Learning Institute, which provided instruction on creating and developing class sessions, assessing students' research and information literacy skills, and using tools to support active learning, I thought that it would be perfect for her. Admission to the program was very competitive and we were very excited and proud that she was chosen. Courtney was so invested in attending the Institute that she used her own resources to do so," said Dr. Melissa Wright, director of Learning Resources.

In her position at Northwest, Hicks not only teaches students one on one in her capacity as a reference librarian, but is also responsible for teaching classes who come in to the library for information literacy instruction. "It can be anything from research, source types or simply what we have here to help them with research. It goes farther than orientation and just touring them through the library. It is much deeper than that," Hicks said.

According to the Dartmouth website, LALI "helps librarians and archivists develop and refine their skills as learner-centered teachers, instructional designers, and collaborators through three simple principles of student-centered learning: meet students where they are; engage students actively in the process of teaching and learning and encourage students to reflect upon and to articulate their learning process."

Hicks said the institute used these principles in the hands-on approach to teach the participants. "It was a wonderful experience overall. It was truly a rewarding experience for me," she said.

Hicks is a native of Piedmont, Alabama. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Jacksonville State University and her Master's in library and information science from the University of Alabama.

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