Readying the Future

Knowledge is power, and in schools nationwide — at nearly every level — students are being asked to process a wave of new information in real time.

It’s a challenging task, and according to Janet Clarke, PhD ’96, associate dean for research and user engagement at Stony Brook University, it can be quite problematic.

“We live in a time when we are all being overwhelmed with information,” says Clarke. “It is more important than ever to know and understand how to evaluate information for reliability, appropriate usage and bias.”

Nationwide, less than one-third of recent college graduates believe their education has prepared them to formulate their own questions.

Clarke and her team of faculty librarians at Stony Brook University are now leading a critical effort to help students in underserved high schools improve their research and information literacy skills.

The Ready for Success Project, made possible by a gift from the Pritchard Charitable Trust, is designed to help students and teachers use school librarians as a resource more often, preparing more students for success in college and their careers.

Clarke and her team developed a pilot program at Brentwood High School in Suffolk County to align high school literacy skills with college-level expectations and, ultimately, to create a scalable system that can be replicated in high schools across the country.

The goal, according to Clarke, is to instill confidence in students as they embark on their next chapter,

whatever that may be.

Research and information literacy skills are transferable whether you are entering college or entering the workforce.

As Clarke and her team continue to evaluate the project’s success, she is struck by the level of collaboration it has inspired — not just among teachers and librarians, but across the curriculum in general.

“We’ve witnessed teachers from various disciplines brainstorm ideas and discuss how to reinforce learning from different aspects of the program in their individual subjects,” she says. “It’s fantastic to see how they scaffold learning in that way — we couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.”

Janet Clarke, PhD ’96

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