Innovation & Research Practice

Paper: Program Description Abstract

Elevating Engagement with Health Sciences Faculty: The Implementation of Research Sprints at the University of Minnesota

Tuesday, May 7
5:05 PM - 5:20 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom B (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Background : The University of Minnesota Libraries adopted Research Sprints as an innovative faculty engagement approach. The primary goal was to offer faculty the opportunity to partner with a team of expert librarians on a specific research or pedagogical project during an intensive 4-day period, and differed from traditional consultations in timing and depth of interaction. A secondary goal was to solidify the status of librarians as valuable collaborators. The Libraries hosted two iterations of Research Sprints in May of 2017 and 2018 and evaluated both using surveys and reflection.
Description : A call for Sprint proposals was announced to faculty in January. A core planning committee utilized a rubric to assess proposals for feasibility, impact, and fit with the Libraries’ goals. Seven proposals were selected in 2017 and six in 2018. The planning committee assembled teams of library staff possessing skills and knowledge aligned with each proposal. Of the 30 applications received, five were from the health sciences, one of which was selected for participation in the Sprints. This project led to the creation of a website [] that houses freely-available resources for eight public health topics and numerous professional development tutorials. Faculty not selected were contacted for collaboration on their proposal outside of the Sprint setting. These proposals (Public Health, Medicine, and Nursing) led to face-to-face consults and comprehensive literature reviews, and continue to be ongoing collaborations.
Conclusion : Assessment of the 2017 Sprints led to changes for 2018: a formalized charter, streamlined rubric and templates, an orientation session for library staff, and additional pre-Sprint meetings. Library (92%) and faculty (94%) participants reported that the Sprints met or exceeded expectations. The potential impact of Sprints is exemplified in the curricular integration of the public health website at Hanoi Medical University, but even proposals not selected benefited from submitting an application. Research Sprints proved to be an effective engagement tool with faculty from any discipline, but perhaps offer health sciences faculty the upper hand they need in their demanding fields.

Shanda Hunt

Public Health Librarian & Data Curation Specialist
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Shanda Hunt received her Master's of Public Health from the University of Minnesota (UMN) in 2010. She was a Research Coordinator at the same institution for the next six years. As she grew weary of holding a grant-funded position, the perfect job appeared: UMN Public Health Library Liaison & Data Curation Specialist. In this new career, Shanda thrives on the opportunities for outreach within the School of Public Health, educating others on research best practices, and continuously learning new technologies.


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Sarah Jane Brown

Medical School Liaison
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN


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Jenny McBurney

Research Services Coordinator for Social Sciences and Professional Programs
University of Minnesota Libraries
Minneapolis, Minnesota


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Elevating Engagement with Health Sciences Faculty: The Implementation of Research Sprints at the University of Minnesota

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