From Vision to Reality: Part I

Three years of planning culminated in 2016 with a vision for a library-based “Knowledge Commons” that would strengthen existing services and resources at Hampshire and help guarantee a significant and sustainable future for a reimagined library that meets the needs of 21st century learners.

As we move out of that phase of the project, I’m proud to introduce a detailed Knowledge Commons Project Plan that will help us translate that vision into reality. The core of the plan is a set of desired outcomes that describes what we want to be able to say we’ve accomplished at the end of the project. Each desired outcome implies a set of concrete activities that we can undertake and a set of assessment questions that will help us measure success.

In this post, I’m proud to introduce the three core desired outcomes of the project and a sampling of the activities our project team will undertake as we move towards these goals.

1. Students will demonstrate increased awareness of campus support services & resources and will take greater advantage of those services.


  • Improve and expand cooperative marketing efforts, including creating and maintaining shared social media and web presence
  • Coordinate targeted outreach to groups of students most likely to benefit from academic support (e.g., first-year students through First Year Tutorials and new student orientation; DIV III students through DIV III orientations, receptions, and through promotion to faculty advisors)
  • Provide consultations, workshops, and other services in a central space in the library
  • Establish baseline usage numbers for existing peer learning services

2. Students will experience streamlined, seamless, and convenient access to disparate academic resources and services.


  • Implement shared scheduling and calendaring system
  • Build and maintain shared web and social media presence
  • Standardize peer consultant/mentorship models so that students know what to expect when they take advantage of services
  • Ensure cross-training of peer consultants/mentors
  • Provide consultations, workshops, and other services in a central space
  • Offer consistent and coordinated drop-in hours
  • Provide consistent and comprehensive referrals to other services/resources
  • Extend availability of services/resources by providing after-hours help when professional staff are not in the library
  • Improve navigability of library building

3. Students demonstrate improved learning outcomes and retention and an increased sense of belonging.


  • Build coordinated and standardized assessment tools to track and analyze students’ experiences with peer consulting/mentoring services
  • Work with Hampshire Learning Project and other groups on campus to gather and correlate qualitative and quantitative data about student satisfaction and retention
  • Build mechanisms and opportunities for knowledge-sharing and collaboration between Knowledge Commons Partner Programs to improve pedagogy and practice
  • Coordinate targeted outreach to first-year students

Stay tuned for my next post, which will offer more details about how the project team will organize its activities to achieve these desired outcomes.