You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2014 / May / First-Year Students Gain New Opportunity to Connect with University Libraries, Practice Research Skills

First-Year Students Gain New Opportunity to Connect with University Libraries, Practice Research Skills

A new project in Management 301: Introduction to Management is providing first-year students with some extra incentive to fully utilize business resources available through Penn State University Libraries—a connection that will benefit students throughout their college careers and beyond.
May 27, 2014

A new project in Management 301: Introduction to Management is providing first-year students with some extra incentive to fully utilize business resources available through Penn State University Libraries—a connection that will benefit students throughout their college careers and beyond.

“In business, there is an expectation that students can deal with authoritative business information.”

Led by Ron Johnson, instructor in management and organization, the new project requires students to complete a two-page company and industry research analysis and is designed to provide students an opportunity to explore library databases like Hoover’s, Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantage, ABI/Inform, and Business Source Premier.

In past experience teaching upper-level courses, Johnson noticed that students were not engaged enough with the library. When he began teaching Introduction to Management, a required course for all Smeal students taken in the first year of study, he saw an opportunity to change that.

“In business, there is an expectation that students can deal with authoritative business information,” Johnson said. “Because this course touches every first-year Smeal student, in four years all our business students will have been connected to the library.”

According to Diane Zabel, head of the Schreyer Business Library and the Louis and Virginia Benzak Business Librarian, a familiarity with library resources is a great benefit to business students.

“Students have the perception that everything is on Google, but the databases provide information that cannot be found for free,” she said. “Penn State students have access to a wealth of information. We are among the top 10 research libraries in North America.”

To add to the assignment and reinforce students’ understanding of how to use library resources, Johnson added an extra-credit component: to meet with a librarian—or, Research Consultant—to discuss how to access and search the business databases.

“Students can use the skills they learn on this project and apply them to future coursework, case competition preparation, and research for internships and jobs.”

“Students have an old stereotype of librarians as someone focused on books, but today’s librarians are so much more than that,” explained Johnson. “They are focused on online databases of information, helping students quickly find authoritative information, and teaching them how to use our more than 600 databases—for both college and on the job. So, for this project, Diane and her team of Business Librarians have changed their names to ‘Research Consultants.’”

For several years, the Schreyer Business Library has made research consultants—librarians from University Libraries—available in the Business Building Atrium several days a week. According to Zabel, the research consultants were mostly utilized by MBAs or other graduate students and faculty.

The assignment in Johnson’s class—including the extra credit component to meet with a Research Consultant—introduces students to the basics of researching companies and industries using library resources, and does so in the students’ first year at Penn State.

“Research skills are essential in business and industry,” said Zabel. “Students can use the skills they learn on this project and apply them to future coursework, case competition preparation, and research for internships and jobs.”

A major feature of this project is its scale. According to Johnson, the assignment in his class has connected the Research Consultants with more individual student appointments than the rest of the librarians combined.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done anything to this large of a scale,” said Zabel. “We’ve been delighted to work with Professor Johnson on this project. It’s really invigorating to work with students.”

About Undergraduate Education at Smeal
The Smeal College of Business offers undergraduate majors and minors that span the business spectrum, preparing students for a business world that is complex, global, and diverse. Smeal undergraduate students have access to dozens of student organizations and involvement opportunities, study abroad partnerships around the world, and personalized career planning and academic advising services to help them thrive at Smeal and in their careers. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/uge.

Recent News
Poster session highlights latest evolution in GE-funded natural gas initiative 26 Jan

A group of GE executives from around the country converged on campus recently to meet with representatives from the Smeal College of Business and three other Penn State colleges as part of the continuing evolution of the Center for Collaborative Research on Intelligent Natural Gas Supply Systems (CCRINGSS).

Loss aversion drives consumers to purchase high-priced extended warranties 23 Jan

Pranav Jindal, assistant professor of marketing at the Penn State Smeal College of Business, has published a research paper that examines why consumers purchase extended warranties.

Smeal using assessment to influence student leadership training 23 Jan

With ample evidence that employers seek students with effective leadership skills, the Office of Career and Corporate Connections at the Penn State Smeal College of Business is steadily expanding the use of the Korn/Ferry ProSpective Leadership Assessment to influence programming and increase undergraduate student marketability.

Executive Insights: PwC Vice Chairman Mitch Cohen to Speak at Smeal Leadership Lecture Series 20 Jan Executive Insights: PwC Vice Chairman Mitch Cohen to Speak at Smeal Leadership Lecture Series

Mitch Cohen ’81 ACCTG, vice chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), will share his perspectives on business, leadership, and a book he recently co-authored, with the Penn State Smeal College of Business on Friday, Feb. 13.

Smeal names Mooney director of eLDIG 09 Jan Smeal names Mooney director of eLDIG

The Penn State Smeal College of Business has named Matthew E. Mooney director of the college’s new eLearning Design and Innovation Group (eLDIG).

More Recent News... More Recent News...