Background: The library has been involved in the Physician Associate Program research curriculum for more than a decade. Historically, the library taught three 90-minute lectures that started with introductory search skills and scaled to systematic searching. Librarians then held individual meetings with 40+ students about their thesis topics. After a wave of retirements and organizational restructuring, this model was no longer sustainable and overdue for an overhaul.
Description: Working closely with faculty, the librarian transitioned the in-class time from lecture to team-based learning. The activities introduced were modeled directly after skills the students needed to complete a successful thesis project: defining research questions, executing scoping and systematic searches across various databases, critical appraisal, and recordkeeping for reproducibility. Instead of individual meetings, the librarian now holds two mandatory, small-group workshops: one for scoping searches and topic refinement for the thesis proposal, and one for creating systematic search strategies for the final project. The new educational initiative is being evaluated immediately through post-class and post-workshop surveys.
Conclusion: The new model allows students to take advantage of their peers' subject expertise, learn highly relevant skills in an interactive way, and uses librarian time/resources more efficiently than the previous model. After the first year, the faculty partner anecdotally reported higher citation counts, and more theses were awarded the honors designation than the years before.