If publishing within the institution’s IR is recognized as one of the rewards of being a student and doing great research, couldn’t the IR be a recruiting tool in addition to a powerful retention tool? Scott Walter, University Librarian at DePaul, thinks so and together with the campus’s Division of Enrollment Management & Marketing (EM&M) they are using the publishing capabilities of Digital Commons to support the EM&M Center for Access and Attainment’s work of student recruitment.
According to DePaul, the Center for Access and Attainment “serves as a focal point for dialogue, strategy and action concerning the university’s mission-based commitment to higher education opportunity.” The Center has a number of outreach efforts to potential students including a program for International Baccalaureate students in Chicago Public Schools. Select high school students (first generation immigrant students) are brought to campus for college-prep coursework, part of which is conducting oral history interviews with their community.
The oral histories produced in this program will now be showcased in DePaul’s IR, Via Sapientiae, providing a new type of library support for Enrollment Management & Marketing. This innovative collaboration underpins the DePaul University Library’s outreach strategy. Scott is creating partnerships above and beyond traditional ones in order to demonstrate how the library is contributing to the larger strategic goals of the institution.
In addition to the Center for Access and Attainment above, the library has been forging partnerships with Research Institutes, the Advancement Office, and strong ties with the Public Relations and Communications Office, as well as the Office of Mission and Values. For example, the Office of Mission and Values supports DePaul’s goal to become a world research center for Vincentian scholarship, and the increased global discoverability of the Vincentian Heritage Materials in the IR serves a number of important strategic initiatives on campus.
Largely thanks to the library’s targeted work with the Public Relations and Communications Department, interest in the library is growing. Scott has succeeded in raising the profile of the library and its suite of IR services across campus, touching offices and institutes previously outside the scope of the library. As Scott points out, “The IR allows people to see the breadth and depth of research at DePaul by bringing it all together, rather than having access to it fragmented as it has been in the past.”